Text and photo by: Anastasia Karpushkina
Having read the book, I needed to pause before writing this text. I took this time to arrange my thoughts and leave them rest. However, at times I come to think that was not the true reason. The feeling after closing the back cover of the book was so lovely and mystical that I felt unwilling to share it at once.
Now I am sure that “Body, food, sex and anxiety” is mandatory for people who had ever felt insecure about their body and had troubles dealing with the other three concepts mentioned in the book’s title. Still, I would like to start by telling you about me.
It would be definitely untrue to say that I had never been slim before. On my childhood photos I can see a small girl, very tight, having a flat stomach and skinny legs who worked hard during her classes of ball and sport dancing and trained a double dose of that recommended for her age. I cannot remember the exact moment when my body started to change. By the time I passed to my secondary school, I had already got used to hide my body and avoid being photographed. It seems that my puberty was to blame. At that time pair dance went out of my life (not through my fault) to be substituted by variety dancing that I did not like at all. I was under a lot of stress due to my increasing weight and due to regular remarks from everyone about it and I found nothing better than eating even more to try to cope with the situation through stress eating. I remember that I used to leave home a bit earlier and, on my way, to dance classes I stepped into a shop to buy soda water, salted squid rings or other junk food. All these things ended up inside me within the 15 minute-walk to the gym. My recollections are a bit vague and it is hard to say how many times I acted this way but, for sure, it happened more than once.
I had to leave variety dancing a year later. Our art director decided to start charging me and some girls of my size for the classes. That was so humiliating, painful and hurting that I just quitted my classes. Thus, sport went out of my life. Forever.
The time passed, I was growing. A chubby teenage girl turned into a curvaceous young woman, and that is the way I look now: 1m 70cm tall and wearing XL size. Nature gave me wide hips, large breast (thanks to my great grand mom), still my waist is ok. Despite my “excessive weight” (who said it was excessive?) I have always had enough attention from men.
Can this fact serve to prove I am pretty? Yes, it can. Can I believe it? No, I cannot.
The book by Yuliya Lapina called “Body, food, sex and anxiety: today’s woman’s worries” had long since entered my wish list. Thanks to the cooperation between sexshopers.ru and Alpina non-fiction editorial this much-awaited edition came to my hands.
The book’s presentation
I obtained my first degree at the Polygraphic University – its former name. That is why I know enough about paper and publishing. I do not feel like using terms such as “cloudiness” and ‘’chalking”. I will just say this edition makes my eyes and hands happy.
First, the book’s decoration and layout are nice and calm. Eye rest is important, to my mind.
Second, the smell is good! Do not be surprised! Those booklovers, especially
“paint-sniffers”, would appreciate the scent of freshly printed book which still smells fresh after reading.
Third, the paper is very nice to touch. It is a pleasure to turn the pages, I cannot help appreciating this fact.
Fourth, the printing quality is excellent! I used to grab an edition with blurred ink and did not care much because I felt voracious to swallow some story. In this case, the edition is actually flawless. I feel infinitely happy about it.
The only think to trouble your eye is the name of Emily Nagoski. It is written incorrectly. For some reason, her surname here has got an extra letter. I realize this must be a typo but I felt rather disappointed. Emily is the author of some popular thematic books: “Come as you are” and “Burnout”, she is rather well-known in our community, so the typo is sure to be noticed by every second reader.
The book’s content
“Body, food, sex and anxiety” is one of those books we say about: “Just read it”. I do not feel like retelling the content. Instead, I will tell you of my impressions.
The way I felt
You can see a great number of bookmarks on the photo. Be sure, this is not the whole list of things I decided to point out. At times I felt like underlining every single line of the text. What the author wrote is neither a story nor a sketch, these are scientific studies put together. I liked the number of references, they are “around a million”.
I started reading and ten minutes later I felt pain in the neck, due to permanent nodding. I realized much more things than I used to. The book became a sort of therapy for me as it influenced my sense of self.
Let me illustrate it. Recently, I have gone shopping. You know, this process is hard labor for me because a plus-size young woman has troubles with finding adequate clothes, and if she comes across some good items, they are usually a rip-off. Why do I have to pay extra money for my breast size number 5? During another panic attack while shopping my eyes were caught by the book I was wearing in my bag. I saw my hands stretching towards to open it and I swallowed about 20 pages at once, right in the fitting room. That day, for the first time, I was able to conclude my failed shopping with serenity, bought a coffee and returned home.
The book’s impact
I realized there was nothing wrong with me. I realized that the companies made clothes for ideal people and our society was constantly introducing fashion for a perfect body and we are expected to correspond and look either like Cameron Díaz or Kim Kardashian. I realized one cannot please everyone. The only person whose whims I am supposed to please and cherish is me. The key thing is being healthy. If my body feels good being plus-size (from the society’s point of view), it is ok.
While typing these words, I felt my eyes fill with tears. Everyone who has a body different from a standard one is sure to understand me. No matter whether you are too fat or too thin to meet standards. Feeling awkward about surplus (or lack) of weight affects your life worse than you can imagine. And it is within our power to change it.
I feel like giving “Body, food, sex and anxiety” to my mom as a present as well as to my grandmother and my aunt, to my friends and contacts-to everyone who had ever thought “there was something wrong” with her. I feel like giving and making them read the book to put it clear: the thoughts within our heads do not come from our inner self. So, throw them away, just like rubbish!
You are beautiful the way you are. No matter what he society says or whispers. What matters is the way you feel.
We thank the Alpina non fiction editorial for the book.