Self-worth — weapon of choice

The most dangerous thing a woman can possess is self-worth. Liking her own body, trusting her own instincts, valuing her own time and company, thinking she’s interesting and special, entering business and personal relationships based only on mutual benefit and respect. Sometimes this leads to advertisers having no idea how to corner us. If we don’t hate ourselves, how will we know what to buy? Sometimes self-worth leads to violence against us.

Sometimes, though, self-worth sets us free. —From the NY Times review of the Hulu show Shrill

Wow! I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to have a show like Shrill when I was growing up. Fat or not fat, for a woman to possess self-worth, like her body, trust her instincts, believe she’s interesting and special, value her own company, and have relationships based on mutual benefit and respect … that is a sextuple threat

Contrast that with my TV hero: Rhoda Morgenstern.

From People magazine in 1980 (the bold is mine):

... Valerie Harper spent much of her time on camera fretting over her chubby flanks and lean love life. “What am I?” Rhoda brooded … “I’m not married. I’m not engaged. I’m not even pinned. I bet Hallmark doesn’t even have a card for me!”

For Valerie, now 38, real life is no such lament. Having survived the demise of both her Rhoda TV series and her 14-year marriage to actor-writer Dick Schaal during 1978, she is today a new woman—secure, skinny and spoken for. Much of the credit goes to her fitness adviser turned lover, Tony Cacciotti. Moreover, while narrowing her hips, he’s also helped broaden her horizons.

Ahhhhh! That sold magazines, and that was written by a woman! The only good thing I can say about that is how far we’ve come.

I have a 21 year-old daughter and I am so glad she has positive, powerful, thoughts floating around for her to access.

When I was 20 my parents paid for me to go to a Beverly Hills doctor to lose weight. For 3.5 months I existed on 3 doses a day of a sweet syrupy liquid protein, measured in the same kind of plastic cup used for cough medicine or Nyquil—and that’s about what it tasted like. How desperate I was to lose weight. I knew if I lost the weight my life would be better—and surely Rhoda would agree, but I didn’t have the nerve to ask her when I ran into her on the elevator, on her way to the same doctor.

On my 21st birthday I weighed 110 lbs. 55 pounds less than the year before. I wore a bikini and size 4 jeans. I was so happy.

Except I wasn’t … I don’t remember exactly how long it took me to put all the weight back on, 1 year or 2? maybe it was 3, but it all came back and at times even more.

It wasn’t until I started dealing with my feelings that I got a handle on my eating. Imagine if, instead of liquid protein, I drank an ounce of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-love every-day for 3.5 months. Essentially that’s what I ended up doing, but it took more like 2 years for those concepts and feelings to take hold as the old thinking began to fade. Self-love is a life long journey and it needs to be tended to lest it slip away.

Body shaming is still alive and well—let’s not forget that Shrill is based on a memoir, Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman by Lindy West. But it’s progress that a show like Shrill has been made and is getting praise in the press.

Self worth can set you free … it’s worth the effort.

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