For the first time in my life, I’m struggling with a weight problem. Not a bad one, but it’s enough.
I don’t mean to get all mushy on you; trust me, there’s a writing lesson here.
First of all, I’m sorry I missed a blog post last week. I suffered an Internet outage, and then life got crazy. Which leads me back to this whole weight thing. I was prepping for the big day this past Tuesday:
My first Weight Watchers meeting.
I’m going to take a risk and open up–just a little. I can trust you, right? Here’s the thing about me: I was always “that skinny girl.” I grew up dancing 15 hours a week: ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, modern. I taught dance through college and ate whatever I wanted. And I never wore jeans larger than a size 4.
That lasted until about age 25. I then found myself wearing a size 6. And last year a size 8. I’m not one of those tall, model-like girls either. I’m 5’3.
My point is, I always saw the world one way. I had a six-pack at age 5 (I kid you not. I have photos for proof), and ever since, I could wear cute clothes. I could model bikinis. And if I wanted, I could have picked on the girls struggling with their weight. I didn’t, I’m not like that.
But I also never considered their world. Until now.
I attended a Weight Watchers meeting on Tuesday, excited to change my life. With about five women and one man. All were supportive, all wanted to lose weight.
And all were empathetic to my plight.
Although I never judged women for struggling with weight before, I never considered how walking in their shoes affected so much. Your self-esteem. Your clothing selection. Your energy. Your avoidance of little things like photos or reunions. But also the magic that happens when other women, friends and family rally around you.
And as a writer, how could I EVER have written a story about a girl struggling with weight?
Because I never pushed myself to see things from another perspective, I limited my creativity as a writer. I never avoided seeing things through these other eyes on purpose. Rather, it just never occurred to me.
I Challenge You …
Stop and think for a moment. I mean, really think.
What perspective have you either refused to consider, or accidentally overlooked? What pair of shoes have you never walked in? And how can you force yourself to understand that outlook?
Here are some aspects to consider:
- A recovering drug addict
- A woman in an abusive marriage (who refuses to leave)
- An undocumented immigrant
- A blind man or woman
- A corporate lawyer
- A trust fund baby
- A high school or college dropout
Should you interview those living that life? Should you spend a week with them? How can you push yourself past your comfort zone?
Maybe it’s time to try Weight Watchers for your writing. And set yourself free.
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