Body Image Part 1

9 Feb


I want to be the girl who doesn’t obsess over her weight, and most of the time I am.

I’ve made it through my rocky teenage years and early 20s somewhat intact.  I’ve done the stupid diets.  I never will again.  I’ve given up fat talk.  I am a huge proponent of body acceptance and loving who you are.

And then, when it comes to myself–

Why is it hardest to love ourselves?  I can look my friends in the eye and tell them they are beautiful inside and out.  Tell them they should show off those boobs and wear that bikini and love themselves and life and I mean every single word.

And then, when it comes to myself–

I stepped on the scale this morning.  That is the root of the problem.  That is the root of all evil.

I generally stay away from my scale.  I’ve gone through dark periods before where I’ve checked the scale multiple times a day and it never worked, you know.  Weighing myself has never yet led to any sort of action.

In fact, since weighing myself this morning I have felt self pity, considered crying, and sent a dramatic text where I suggested I was staying in bed indefinitely.

How is it that the scale has all this power over my mood?

Why is it that if I had weighed 10 lbs less I would be skipping around, so pleased with myself?

I am a smart, trying-to-be kind girl with a lot of things going for me and a lot of things I want out of life, none of which are connected to those numbers.

And yet.

I’ve been reading Hillary Clinton’s book, Living History, lately.  In fact, last night I chose to continue reading it rather than watching two new episodes of my favorite television shows, so you know I’m invested.

There’s so much for me to say about Hillary, so much that makes me admire her as this incredibly gifted and complex human being, but I think her perplexion over people’s obsession with her looks is one of my favorite parts about her.  Hillary doesn’t have time to worry about that nonsense!  She’s thinking and doing and moving and shaking and changing.

I don’t have time to wallow over what the scale told me this morning!

I know this.  I’ve known this for years.

My happiness and self worth do not lie on that scale.

And yet.

This year I made a list of all the topics I wanted to write about.  Topics that scared me and scare me.  Topics that would make me a better writer.

One of those topics was body image.

I imagined a triumphant post where I chronicled everything from the freshman 15 to negative body talk to the terrible, faint-inducing detox in London.

I imagined talking about how the trick to me being healthy is just the trick to me being happy.  I’ve got to look after myself emotionally in order for my physical health to be OK.  How diets don’t work and vegetables do.

I also imagined writing this post 20 lbs less than I am now, so it would come from this place of “I’ve been there, I’m over it.”

That’s the thing, though, isn’t it?  We’re never over our bodies.  They are always here.  And we just do what we can.

This morning after weighing myself I had two conflicting and intense emotions:

1. I am laying in bed from now until eternity because nothing in my life will ever go right and would you look at this problem and would you look at that problem–

2. I am never eating again.

And I’ve been there.

Both places, really.  But the second one especially.

There’s this need, I think, when I see the scale isn’t what I’d like it to be to fix it RIGHT NOW.  I don’t have time for things like exercise and adding fruit and vegetables into my life.  I only have time to do something drastic and make it all OK, probably by the end of the month.

It will probably be OK by then.

If I just stop eating now.

And I know that that’s not the way forward.  That’s not the way to a happy life.  That’s not the way anywhere but a spiral of down.

I know this.  And it’s been so very long since I’ve felt the way I did today.  Years, maybe.

I thought I was over it.

But we’re never really over our bodies I suppose.

This morning I had a big bowl of oatmeal with bananas, raspberries, dates and pistachios.  I will get a green smoothie later today while I run errands.  I will go to a yoga class this week.  I will walk around my neighborhood a few times.

I will make healthy changes that I need to make.

I will finish that Hillary Clinton book.

I will hug my boyfriend.

I will continue to eat nachos.

And I will write that other blog post, that good blog post, another day.

For today, this is what I have to give.

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3 Responses to “Body Image Part 1”

  1. Linnea February 9, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    “Why is it that if I had weighed 10 lbs less I would be skipping around, so pleased with myself?” – but you wouldn’t – at least, not just based off of weighing 10 lbs less. That’s the hardest thing to really realize, I think. If you weighed 10 lbs less you’d still have all of the same other issues you have now. Happiness has to come from other sources, you know?

    This has been a hard issue with me, too – and now that I’m pregnant it’s also tough. I’m looking at pictures of myself from my baby shower last weekend going “man, my face has gotten so fat” and trying to remind myself at the same time that I am growing a human, it’s okay, and I am SUPPOSED to be gaining weight.

    But it’s hard.

    • jillianlorraine February 9, 2015 at 8:24 am #

      Yes, it’s a temporary skipping around. Until the rest of my issues catch up. It is hard.

  2. Erin February 10, 2015 at 8:59 am #

    “For today, this is what I have to give.” This touched me so much! Please, never stop writing. Your vulnerability is important and very much needed in a world filled with so many invisible barriers. It’s pieces like these that keep us in touch with our togetherness.

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