A little while ago, a famous running magazine posted an article about all the stars who had graced its covers over the years.
Oprah was one of them.
I remember her cover well. It was in 1988, right after she’d lost 67 pounds following a liquid diet.
I was very proud of Oprah before she’d lost weight. But seeing her on that stage rolling out 67 pounds of fat THEN seeing her on the cover of that running magazine did something to me.
It opened up a whole new world of hope, maybe even a whole new world of eat disorders.
Prior to Oprah, I hadn’t seen a woman on tv who looked like me. She was brown, round, eloquent, and fierce. She also dealt with scrutiny over her inability to lose weight and keep it off. She touched over 40 million viewers because we could relate. We WERE all Oprah.
So after that running magazine posted that throwback article with her on the front completing her first marathon and a guy replied, “Oprah is not a runner. She isn’t disciplined enough,” I was steamed. He was talking about ME. I AM OPRAH, dammit.
So I replied, “Oprah dealt with eating disorders. However she was on tv at 19, she was the first woman to own her own network, she had 40 million people watching her, and she’s a self-made billionaire. She’s more disciplined than most.”
I wanted to say more. I wanted to mention how she’d been raped as a child, how she bore a child who died, how she decided to mold herself into the inspirational self-made woman she is today, and how even after all of that she STILL hears bs from people who haven’t accomplished a fraction of what she’s accomplished. I wanted to say, “WHO WOULDN’T HAVE AND EATING DISORDER AFTER ALL THAT? Damn! Leave all of us, I mean her, alone.”
But I didn’t.
A few years after she gained the weight back, Oprah stated that even with all her accomplishments she still felt like a failure because she couldn’t control this one thing…her weight.
That’s what everyone sees…her weight. That’s what she saw. That’s what many A-type, ambitious, go-getter, accomplished fat women see when they look in the mirror…their weight. They don’t notice their beauty or all the shit they had to overcome to get to where they are. They simply notice their weight.
That freakin sucks.