Unbearable Lightness

Hey, guys! Remember when Mia sent me that care package? I finally got around to finishing one of the books she sent me last week on the train. The title is Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi.

For those of you who are not familiar with her, she’s an Australian actress best known for her marriage with Ellen DeGeneres. The book documents Portia’s personal struggle with her career, weight loss, and being gay. It ultimately leads to a constant battle with anorexia and bulimia. I think it’s beautifully written because the experiences told are so honest and raw. While reading through it, I often found myself thinking: “I’ve felt that way before!”

I don’t want to give away too much, since I do want others to read it, but I am a firm believer that insecurity born out of being weight-conscious is a very destructive force. Passages in the book summarize and resonate the difficult journey that my own self-esteem has gone through over the past nine or ten years. I just wish people would understand that their worth shouldn’t be determined by a number on a scale. All the same, being beautiful is more than what size your wear.

The book is truly a story of loss and gain, and not just in the literal sense. Eating disorders not only affect the afflicted individual, but also the people closest to them. When Portia started writing about the reactions from her mother and brother when they saw how thin she was for the first time at 99 lbs, I almost started tearing up. Anorexia and bulimia are serious issues that can’t just be ignored, because they’re more common than we think.

Reading through websites where people anonymously post their own experiences with an eating disorder (particularly this one) make me incredibly sad. It breaks my heart to realize that an overwhelming majority DO NOT want to get better. If you suspect that a friend or relative shows symptoms of having an eating disorder, the best thing you can do is reach out and help them begin to recover.

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6 responses to “Unbearable Lightness

  1. improperintegirl

    What I don’t understand is how these girls are willing to tolerate all of the horrible side effects of eating disorders. Being anorexic will make your hair fall out… I suppose they can’t connect beauty to hair.
    We can say the media is partially at fault, but I also blame the existence of cosmetics to a degree. I’ve noticed that the few times I do put makeup on I’m focusing on things that I think are wrong with my face that I never focused on before. I’m not saying everyone’s like that, but I have to think other girls think the same and take it to a further extent.

    • I agree. Anorexia also makes you feel weak and have no energy all day. And at some point in the weight loss process, it will start to hurt to sit because you don’t have enough fat to cushion you. :'( When I first started to wear makeup regularly, I noticed that I started disliking the way my face looks normally. Girls need to understand that cosmetics are there to enhance your beauty, not cover your entire face up to the point of no recognition.

  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. <3

  3. There’s only one problem with that pic…. 50% of teenage girls ARE fat these days! In fact when I went to college, the majority of teenagers were over weight.
    It’s relative

    • Perhaps we’ve both experienced different kinds of people. Most of the teenage girls I know who complain about their weight are all at a healthy BMI. I do agree that there is an obesity problem amongst young people this generation, though.

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