The Lady Bird star shares why she doesn’t want you to compliment her weight loss. These past couple of weeks have been the most i am a bird essay of my life.
And yet, with all of these insanely wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime experiences happening, I have been a little confused lately. You see, people seem to have a lot to say to me. It is the topic of conversation that is puzzling. Everyone keeps commenting on something that I haven’t thought about in years: my body.
I would never have known it was you! Now as I write this, I am trying not to get vegan chocolate chip cookie crumbs on the page, so it is safe to say that I did not see this coming. Also, I will say it is not a drastic change, maybe one or two dress sizes. Most importantly, losing weight is not something I was even trying to do. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I really struggled with my weight.
My family, doctors, and society at large were constantly telling me that I was too heavy, that I needed to exercise more, that I should be smaller. I despised trying to lose weight and I resented everyone that made me feel like I had to. As I approached the end of high school, I felt the expectations fall away. I stopped trying to eat and look the way everyone else wanted me to. It took time and it happened gradually, but by the time I started college I felt truly comfortable with my body. I was chubby, and it was chill!
During my college years at Wesleyan University, I studied Sociology. And now, looking back, I can see that my study of society has helped me frame this shift. I realized that once I stopped trying to get closer to what our society deems ideal, I felt free. I was so far from the norm that I felt no pressure to get anywhere close to it.
Honestly, my body image was something I barely ever thought about. My friends, all of whom are thin, would really feel plagued that their bodies didn’t fit the unattainable ideal our society has crafted, and I would sit back, genuinely comfortable with my unwavering chubbiness. After years of finally not feeling judged by myself or others, all of a sudden I felt so seen. As a result of this new attitude, over time people stopped saying anything about my body — because there was nothing to say! When your weight is changing, there is something for the outside world to track. But my chubbiness was constant and therefore predictable. I always looked the same.
And it was absolutely wonderful. Not only did I stop surveying and judging my body, but the rest of the world wasn’t interested in evaluating it either. And this blissful arrangement continued, well — until about a month ago. During that week, I felt like my body was the only topic of conversation.