Thursday, August 21, 2014

I am a hypocrite.

I've been thinking about posting this for a while, but I haven't because I'm embarrassed. I talk a lot about body acceptance, about ending fat talk, about valuing who you are over what you look like. But I haven't been practicing what I preach. 

I am a hypocrite.

While I do believe these things - that fat talk is destructive, that society's standards of beauty are outrageous and unattainable, that every body is beautiful - I believe them for everyone else, except myself. To my disappointment, I cannot internalize these beliefs. 

I started a crusade to stop fat talking mostly for myself, admittedly. I thought if I could actively prevent and/or ignore fat talk around other people, I'd ultimately change the way I thought about myself. And I do think it's helpful, for myself and for others, but I still haven't reached contentment. Being satisfied with what I look like is the biggest (privileged?) challenge I face every day. 

A few months ago, I threw away my scale because I had an unhealthy obsession with weighing myself. And for a while, I lived in ignorant bliss. But one quick trip to the doctor caused me to instantaneously revert back to old habits and negative thoughts. It's alarming how much of an effect that arbitrary number has on my brain.

Since then, I've been trying to balance my unnecessary need to be at my "goal weight" and my proclamation that weight doesn't matter. Why does it matter? Even the idea that your weight should be a goal, an achievement, is dismaying. And yet while I outwardly say that, I've internally subscribed to this norm. Upon leaving the doctor's office, I re-downloaded myfitnesspal; I browsed scales on Amazon; I made a meal plan for myself. I bought a fitness DVD. I don't even have a DVD player! Insanity.

Quite obviously, I have a very hard time living inside two extremes. I have always been all or nothing about everything, but especially food and diet. And neither extreme is pleasurable. I either feel indulgent and out-of-control, or stressed and disappointed. 

Social media is no help. With an incessant focus on pictures, and crossfit, and juice cleanses, and food shaming, it only exacerbates the problem. But it's clear I'm not the only one dealing with these issues considering the prevalence of the aforementioned fixations. We seem to all be dealing with body image issues - no matter our size or age or gender. That's partially comforting, but mostly sad. 
"It makes perfect sense that many of us obsess over our bodies. There is nothing more inescapable. Our bodies move us through our lives. They bring pleasure and pain. Sometimes our bodies serve us well, and other times our bodies become terribly inconvenient. There are times when our bodies betray us or our bodies are betrayed by others. I think about my body all the time -- how it looks, how it feels, how I can make it smaller, what I should put into it, what I am putting into it, what has been done to it, what I do to it, what I let others do to it. This bodily preoccupation is exhausting."   -Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist
If I could have one wish granted, it would be to live the rest of my life not thinking or worrying about what I look like. That would be my one and only wish. I realize how selfish that is, but on the bright side, if that wish came true, I would have plenty of time and energy to spend on other people. So actually, maybe I'd wish that for all people. 

Imagine all the things we could do if we weren't so preoccupied with our appearance. 

1 comment:

  1. I can completely agree and sympathize with this. I can read an article and be like, that woman is beautiful, why does she care?! And then go home and pinch the fat on my muffin top. I think it's generally because we're harder on ourselves and we view ourselves differently than other people do. We instinctively zero in and pinpoint our flaws, causing an obsession. I don't have any advice because I still deal with it daily myself and I'm pretty scared shitless about how my mental state is going to be after surveying the post-baby body damage after I give birth.

    On a lighter note, you will probably enjoy this - it made me laugh


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