A guest essay from Anastasia Selby.
I am overwhelmed by this piece. Thank you for sharing with us.
I was up last night crying because my mother made some “suggestions” over lunch about cosmetic things I should think about “fixing”. I’m 36, she’s 73. I have a young daughter now and I’m horrified by this cycle and desperate to break it.
“I get to be inside of myself looking out at the world,” is something I will repeat to my daughter endlessly. Thank you so, so much for these words 🙏🏾
I’m so grateful for your openness. Although your story is different than mine, it’s so similar. Fragile mothers and their children. My mother was 54, also a suicide that seemed to go on for a decade. From 9 to 19 I watched. What I want came to say is 51 is so terribly young. So is 54. When I was in my 20,’s I thought I’d be an old woman with a long gray braid at 35. Lol. I’m 70 and I have all those eating disorders behind me but am dealing with the harm it did. Im ok, really but you’ll make it to 51 and still be younger than your sad mom. You’ll keep going and hopefully the distance will bring always deeper peace and understanding. Thanks so much.
Absolutely beautiful. Tattoo these lines on my soul, "that I get to be inside of myself looking out at the world, instead of looking at myself from the outside, through the eyes of the beauty and diet industries."
Beautiful essay, thank you so much for sharing. I live with spina bifida and scoliosis and have always felt ashamed of my body and wanted to escape it for a "normal" one. Now in my mid-30s I am trying to enjoy all that has given me and continues to give me everyday. This essay was a reminder of that.
This is so beautiful. Thank you for your deepest thoughts and beautiful writing.
My mother was also gorgeous and made it a top priority in the exact same ways! It was her currency (along with intelligence and humor), but as an alcoholic, it all spiraled out of control. She tried to kill herself a few times when I was a kid. Watching all these dynamics in play was very hard to process (still is). When she insisted I start modeling at 14, I hated it (but kept it up for quite awhile). It was a world that constantly told me I was too much. The last thing I wanted my daughter to do was believe her looks had anything to do with her value (I succeeded!)
Thank you so much for being open and sharing your story. It resonates with me. The part at the end when you talk about being comfortable in your body looking out rather than outside looking in (apologies for the poor paraphrasing!) but just WOW! That really strikes a chord. Felt that right in my gut. Thank you!!
I am glad I didn't read this on my phone and saved it for my laptop. This was nothing like I thought the headline indicated it would be. I mean your writing is amazing, honest, and engaging. I found myself smiling and mentally punching the air at the end - to see you overcome all of this (and so so much) and find peace with yourself. It's essays like this that I want to see more of for those of us who are parenting young girls now (I have an eight year old) in the middle of all this aesthetic chaos. Adding to my saved posts. Thank you Anastasia (gorgeous name too!).
If I was walking when I read this, it would have stopped me in my tracks. I'm glad for the author to be doing well in spite of so much pain. What a well written essay, you have a great well of talent!
Just today, I made a group of women laugh when we were reflecting how Seventeen magazine and its models affected our self images. In the 1960s. I recalled that when Time Magazine covered the Twiggy phenomenon I grabbed my mother’s sewing tape measure to compare with Twiggy. I was in the sixth grade and was horrified at the number I read--and thought, “oh no! there goes my modeling career”--although the number was wrong because I had twisted the tape going around my back. I was eleven. It was many years before my bust measured 48 inches, after I bounced from Rubenesque (in the words of a next door neighbor) to plump to anorexic to “normal” to pregnant to divorced and anorexic again and all the way up to overweight on the BMI scale. Now in my late 60s writing like this is really helping me come into alignment with my physical embodiment. Thank you, Anastasia.
I feel so odd. I was so drawn in by this piece, it was potent writing and feelings I have felt myself and then I was shocked to come to the final photo and see what my brain perceives as a thin person. It's not a problem or anything, I just wasn't expecting it. I think one of the things diet culture and beauty culture do is create an eternal unattainable of thinness. It doesn't matter how thin you are, you should always be thinner. Like, thin unto death. I FEEL WEIRD and I loved this article and thank you for making me think my thoughts.
Wow .. I’m in awe of your strength and self awareness.
thank you for introducing me to anastasia and assembling remnants! I was studying linguistics at SU from 2018 to 2020 so we just missed crossing paths there :)
Thank you, Anastasia, for your courage, your truth, your generosity, your LIFE. In reading LaoTzu this morning (Witter Bynner translation), these lines from #23 resonated with me and, after reading your story, I recognized a Way follower.
". . .
That whoever follows the way of life feels alive,
That whoever uses it properly feels well used,
Whereas he who loses the way of life feels lost,
That whoever keeps to the way of life
Feels at home,
Whoever uses it properly
Feels welcome . . ."
Felt this one in my bones
This essay resonated so much with me. Beautifully written and such a mirror of the culture I grew up in. Thank you for this.