As I begin my insane stretch of seventeen-days-in-a-row-working, I find myself pondering a lot of stuff: keeping my apartment in one piece while I'm working, actually buying groceries and doing laundry, how the heck I'm going to get any sleep, how much wine I am going to try and consume unwinding--all the important stuff, of course
But lately, more and more, what's been on my mind is an intertwining of issues that I just can't seem to let go. And they are: weight/body image/self image/self esteem. In that vein, they also intertwine with my previous whiney-esque post about wanting to have a partner.
Here's the thing: so many people I know lately have been mentioning weight. And I'm of two minds about the whole thing. On the one hand (or mind, as it were), I find myself understanding where people are coming frmo when they say things like "I need to watch my weight" or "Don't let me eat another one of those chocolate covered confections" or mention holiday weight or say that they're trying to lose a few pounds- I've been there, I think we've all been there, and I'd be lying if I said that 100% of the time I feel 100% confident in my body image. And parts of me have wondered if maybe that's why I've had a hard time finding someone- because I'm not some thin attractive little thing (this is not altogether a frequent thought, but it has popped up annoyingly from time to time in the back of my mind--like I said, not 100% confident all the time).
THEN I go blind with rage at some of the things people say, and my anger isn't targeted at them, it's targeted at...the universe? Society? Whatever unknown entity it is that makes us, particularly women but everyone, base their self-worth on how we look and how much we weigh? I rage at all of that, because I hear value-laden judgement statements about how someone is "being good" by bringing just a salad for lunch, because I know my friends think they are lesser than they used to be because they've put on a few pounds, because it actually even crosses my mind at any one point ever that the reason I'm single is because I'm a larger woman. I get so frustrated and angry at it because we live in a society where we raise our kids to believe that the perfect model on the magazine cover is real, even when she's airbrushed to shit; because we live in a culture where the media rules, and the media gives us such enlightening television as The Biggest Loser and Bulging Brides and a Rachel Ray narrative that tracks the weight loss of a teen because she is too big to go to prom. How can we possibly think this is okay? You know what? My anger is at society overall, but it's one we all participate in. When we watch a television show like TLC's Say Yes to the Dress: Big Bliss, a show about fat women trying to find wedding dresses, or The Biggest Loser or any other show that takes larger people and turns them into a spectacle, into some kind of freak show that we should all witness and then take as a warning so we don't turn into them- we participate. When we stay away from sweets because we're trying to be 'good' as though our behaviour with food weren't disordered, as if we were meant to judge our eating habits with some kind of value, usually negative, because our self-esteem is innately now tied to that which we require to live: we are participating.
I'm not suggesting that stopping is easy- in fact, I stopped in the middle of this post to eat the Domino's I had delivered and then felt guilty about having eaten that much (as a sidenote, to someone who knows who they are-- yes, I do still feel guilty sometimes. Guess my food-shame isn't all the way off, is it?). I think what I'm trying to get at is that I want people to think about their unhealthy relationship with food and with their weight and make changes to be healthy, not to be "good", and if you eat something that isn't the healthiest, you don't have to feel like you're bad or that you failed. This is just insanity...and I'm tired of being sucked in.
It's liberating to love yourself for who you are and what you look like, but it's a freaking bitch on occasion to get others to do the same. Isn't it time we all took a step back and said WTF?