I just started training for a new job recently. An awesome job. A job that has the potential to launch me into my desired career. For privacy reasons and because it is somewhat high profile, I won’t even go into the specifics. What I will say is that it is here, in LA, and my co-workers largely consist of young women. Now, this is LA, so it shouldn’t be surprise that all of the women are lovely, and not just from a feminist standpoint. They (I suppose I should say “we”) represent the media standard for attractiveness in females. I’ll put it this way, when we were fitted for our uniforms, a “medium” was a size 2-4. A “small” was a 0-2. Everyone is wearing a small. The only woman in a medium, not only bemoaned that fact (loudly), but it is only because she has a bigger bust. The rest of the dress will need dramatic alterations.
As a recovered anorexic who left the acting industry, I have not had much exposure to disordered eating for quite a while. Now I’m saturated. A few choice quotes from my co-workers over the last few days….
“I need to start walking to work. I freak out if I don’t work out every day, and I count walking.”
(In response to someone who had coffee for breakfast now having only a banana for lunch, and offering to share)
“I just have a meal before I work and eat fruit during the day before that.” (I’ve seen her “meals.” They’re salads)
“Am I really a medium? Am I bigger than I think I am? Is my 120 really 140? I have smaller measurements than the girls in Smalls!”
(When male co-worker showed up with donuts and a mocha for breakfast)
“I wish I was a guy so I could eat donuts and mochas.”
-“Why can’t you?”
“I’ll get fat.”
“No eating before work in these dresses.”
“It’s so unfair. Guys can throw on a suit and look great and they don’t have to worry about what they eat during the day.”
The list goes on. It’s hard for me, because part of me feels strange and outside of it. I show up with a bacon sandwich in my purse for lunch, and then I buy a cookie. I can’t tell if they’re looking at me like a traitor, or an idiot, or simply with envy. They call me “hardcore.” But part of me knows how easy it would be to fall in line. There is so much comfort in the fold of discipline and deprivation. It’s lonely in the corner with my bacon. But then on nights like tonight, I go home and make a plate of pasta. I look over it with gratitude, and I don’t even know to whom. To myself for overcoming that, to the universe for sparing me. And I don’t know whether to be angry or just sad.