An epiphany – Embrace

July 21, 2016

The greatest compliment for me was if someone said "you look slim"... I could feed on that for days

(Pictured above: Taryn Brumfitt during the making of her documentary, EMBRACE)

I’ve had an epiphany of sorts … it came after I attended the documentary EMBRACE and the Q&A with Taryn Brumfitt.

This doco is life changing. I wish I had seen it at high school or anytime in the last few decades.

Like many women in the audience, we all have a story to tell about our relationship with our bodies and food.

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”

From the day I was born, my mother dieted. I could count calories before I could count to 10. I had three tall siblings who ate what they wanted, while I was the shorty who put on weight watching them eat.

At 15, I started to put on weight and my mother told me that wasn’t acceptable. Then it began. I exercised like there was no tomorrow, seven days a week.

I weighed 44 kilograms in grade 12, which isn’t that low because I was little and not yet a woman. But even so, in my eyes, I had faults. Diet Coke was—and still is—a staple of my daily intake. I didn’t attend high school events that required putting on a swimsuit. Not only would I not show my body, but I was pale as well (by choice) which was ridiculed by the boys.

When Kate Moss said “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, I agreed. I related to that.

I love being thin. I can never be too thin … the greatest compliment for me was if someone said “you’ve lost weight or you look slim”. I could feed on that for days.

The power of this documentary

Embrace_A4posterEMBRACE was embracing. Wow. This should be compulsory viewing in all high schools for boys and girls.

The documentary was not about celebrating fat or saying obesity was acceptable. It was not about being totally natural and not colouring our hair nor shaving (as one heckler suggested). It was about acceptance in all its forms, but mainly in our own eyes.

It put perspective around the physical, mental and emotional aspects of the female body, and I for one was empowered by the message.

Click on demand – your choice

As an editor, there’s another side to this for me. I saw a story on one of the major sites before I came to the screening that invited readers to click through and see a celebrity’s post-baby body.  I didn’t click.

Because as editors, we want to repeat what is popular. We want to give the readers what they want in order to increase our hits and circulation, and viability. By clicking on that story, I’m asking for more of it.

I hoped to ask Taryn what support she had from the media/editors other than the wonderful Mia Freedman who appeared in the documentary, but I didn’t get a chance … she was swamped.

So I’m supporting Taryn and her message by not pushing cliche. I’m not saying I don’t want to see beautiful women … I do. Humans have long-loved beauty, from Hepburn to Monroe to Kardashian. But as an editor, I’m going to keep the images diverse and quirky – mix it up a bit.

What next?

I got up and ran this morning and I will continue to exercise six days a week; I love it, physically and mentally.

But there was a shift in my headspace this morning. I looked at me and thought, I’m pretty good! I gave thanks for being healthy and for having everything in good working order.

There’s a good start.


WIN an in-season pass to EMBRACE

Thanks to Transmission Films, She Brisbane has five in-season double passes to give away to the documentary EMBRACE. Post a comment below about your body experience that we can share and how you feel about embracing your shape, to be in the running.

View the trailer here. EMBRACE will be released nationally on 4 August 2016 by Transmission Films.

Competition closes midday on Sunday 31 July. Winners will be notified online/Facebook and confirmed by email. Prize is not transferable or redeemable for cash. Valid only during the season of the documentary. Conditions apply as printed on the ticket.

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Helen Goltz
After studying English Literature and Communications at universities in Queensland, Helen Goltz has worked as a journalist, producer and marketer in print, TV, radio and public relations. She was born in Toowoomba and has made her home in Brisbane. Helen is the author of eight books and is published by Clan Destine Press and Atlas Productions. She is the original founder of She Brisbane.