Weight loss vs self-esteem

17 Oct

This is a book that every teenage girl must read. I bought this book after reading an interview about how Janet discusses her struggles with weight in it. I bought it because I wanted to read about weight loss. What I got was a much needed lesson on self-esteem.

I believe things in life come to you for a reason. I was a fan of Janet Jackson when I was a teenager but didn’t see past the songs I liked to dance to. I have been thinking about her ever since seeing her comforting her niece and nephews at her brother’s funeral. A month ago I attended my brother’s dance performance. The first song was Rhythm Nation and I could barely contain my excitement as I danced in my chair to the captivating, inspiring and funky sounding song that I had forgotten. And then this book came to me through the interview and I devoured it in one afternoon. I only wish I could afford tickets to see her in concert.

Janet Jackson has always seemed to me to be a strong, powerful, talented, beautiful and blessed woman. I have admired her music and her movies all my life. After reading the book I now know that she is all these things, but she is also a normal woman who struggled with exposing her talent, becoming a woman, striking out on her own and loving herself – curves and all. Her most unhealthy times when she dieted and over-exercised are the times of her greatest successes. When we see celebrities at their peak they seem confident, effortless, self-confident and everything else that we are not. It is both comforting to know that she is just like you and me and disconcerting that someone with so much still suffers. Isn’t success the cure for these things? Obviously not.

In a previous life when I was a radio announcer I was lucky enough to interview several celebrities and the vast majority of them were insecure and seem desperate for their most recent album/movie/book to do well. Despite any past successes they had they were constantly trying for future success. They could never stop, rest, say they’d done enough. It make me happy to be in my little life where small successes are so elating and failures are cured with a cuddle and a Mint Slice biscuit.

I have given this book to my sister to read and then I plan to read it again. I will give it to my daughter, my niece and my god-daughter as soon as they are old enough to read it and I will say the words to them that Janet needed to hear as a teenager. I will tell them that they are perfect just the way they are. I will tell them that true beauty comes from inside. I will remind them that health is more important than thinness. I will tell them there are loved, blessed and capable of anything. And as a thirty-five year old woman with a nasty, critical teenage girl taunting me in my mind, I will read it over and over again and keep it forever. I wish it were longer and I hope she writes another one. Thank you Janet. Thank you, on behalf of womankind.

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi


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