Locker Room Diaries


Image from lesliegoldmanwrites.com

It has never been a secret that I’ve battled with being overweight and mildly obese since elementary school. I mean, how COULD it be a secret? I’m fat. People can clearly see this. But what people fail to see, is even though I’ve always felt large in a physical sense, emotionally self-esteem issues with my body made me feel really small socially. To this day, I sometimes feel worthless, as if because of my huge ass, I have nothing worthy to contribute to society. Because I wear a double digit size jeans, I am not important to the world. I was always aware of how I felt, and how other bigger women and girls felt. What I didn’t know is, skinny people feel this way, too.

That is exactly what this book is about.

Leslie Goldman, an avid gym-go-er, couldn’t help but overhear proclamations of unhappiness all over her gym locker room. What shocked her was that these comments weren’t uttered from the lips of women who everyone ASSUMES should be unhappy with their bodies (a venomous poison inflicted by society). Gorgeous women with lithe, taut bodies were complaining about their butt, their thighs, and anything else they felt “plagued” them.

Curiosity got the better of Goldman, and she set out on a 5-year project, chronicling the most intimate inner workings of the female mind. For five years, she interviewed countless women, and eventually the leopard print notebook in which she took all her notes became Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth about Women, Body Image, and Re-imagining the “Perfect” Body

I picked up this book purely because of it’s title. Battling with my own weight loss issues, I’ve always been one to read and educate myself about how to feel better, and maybe even get better. I don’t regret it one bit. If memory serves me right, I read this book cover to cover in 2 days. With chapter one, I was hooked.

The book takes you on a virtual tour of the female mind. Fat, thin, old, young, white, black and everything in between, she gets us all. From boobs to eating disorders; flab to cellulite; beauty rituals to birth, Goldman leaves no stone unturned. You learn about how other women not only view their own bodies, but your body as well. You see that what is coveted is different in every single person. But what really sucks you into this book? One thing: it’s all true.

We all hate our bodies. In this book, Goldman shows us that, even when you are in a pit of self-pity and despair over your “short-comings”, you are not alone in that pit. And that is the best lesson in this book; you are not alone. While you may envy the girl on the elliptical next to you for her fabulous butt, she may want your killer abs. And the heavy girl three bikes down may think the thighs you hate are the sexiest thing in the world. That deep dark pit of self-loathing is never an empty one, even when it feels like it. It’s sad and disheartening, but while we wallow in that pit, we are teaching our daughters to climb on down the ladder and join us.

In the beginning of the book, there are three quotes Goldman included from her unconventional research. One of them made me cry.

Honey, let’s get you on the scale and see if you’ve lost anythingMother to young daughter, approximately ten years old, overheard in locker room

At just ten years old, that girl is learning that the scale is what tells her if she’s worthy of the world or not.

Nobody has the perfect body. No one. Not a single soul. Why? Because there is no such thing. So the moral of Goldman’s story is, be happy with what you got. I agree. It’s not easy to love yourself, and I can personally attest to that. But little by little, take baby steps, and learn. It’s good for your body, and for your soul.

I’d like to leave you with a quote from an amazing woman. Leslie Goldman recognized the power in this verse, and also included it in her book. Please, take the time to absorb what it’s saying.

It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

~ Maya Angelou


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April 2011
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