I didn't have to hear to know what was going on. The first woman got her belly and her slumping shoulders circled. Big X's came next, making it clear how offensive this was. Then out came the woman, "fixed" with a few nice clothes and a big smile. The next woman got a box drawn around her middle, indicating her non-hourglass shape. And out she came, too, fixed and happy.
It seemed so...sad to me. I think because I couldn't hear the sound, I saw it for what it was: "You're not good enough as is. Let's fix you with spanks and a belt and some heels! And make sure to smile about it, because now you look better and somehow that means you are more valuable."
Yeah, I'm being dramatic. But it totally rubbed me the wrong way. How does any girl survive this mess? I mean, we are HORRIFIED when we see girls picking apart pictures of themselves, obsessing over a non-existent pooch, a "weird" nose, and yet here is a whole segment on a national morning show doing the exact. same. thing.
Now I'm not saying it's wrong to want to look nice. I like my heels very much. I've caved to the skinny jean (yes, I confess). But this attitude of "fixing" and "covering up" is what gets me. There is a huge difference between dressing well and feeling pretty, and dressing well to cover up your flaws. Our bodies aren't flawed—they are ours, and they are unique and beautiful.
Just like our stories.
I know, I'm totally lame for relating this to writing. But it really did get me thinking about my work, about editing in particular. Last year, in the pit of self-doubt and over-criticism, I didn't edit my work to make it shine, I edited it to cover up and fix all the things I saw wrong with it.
It's a subtle difference that makes a huge impact. One focuses on the positive, while the other is inherently negative. Focusing on how bad I was at writing made the process unnecessarily miserable. I fell into comparing, and self-loathing, and had a lot of hardcore pity parties. The more I tried to hide what a horrible writer I was, the more I hated what I wrote. The more I found wrong. The more I just wanted to give up entirely because I'd never, ever be good enough.
After a lot of soul-searching and all that good stuff, I was able to see what I was doing to my writing. I've been able to change my attitude about my books, to see them for the beautiful things they are. Editing isn't about hiding flaws anymore, it's about making my book shine. And that has made all the difference.