Friday, November 8, 2013

Body Image

I'm currently reading about body image in my women's studies class and how the need for women to fit into a certain shape is a weapon of patriarchy. A way of keeping women from equality. And a bunch of other stuff. That I won't bore you with. But it's got me thinking.

Thinking, because being a woman myself, I have obviously been impacted by these images and expectations. My whole life I've walked this line between feeling attractive and my love of food. Of course there's more to it than that. But really, when it all boils down to it, food almost always wins.

So I walk, just slightly, on the outskirts of attractive. Of normal. And I love to espouse inner beauty and how beauty ideals in our society pale in comparison to the inside. On an intellectual level, I agree with this. As long as I'm relatively healthy, I'm okay with how I look. But, if I'm honest. And I mean really, deep down in my bones, exposing my very rawest thoughts... I hate being overweight. It makes me feel uncomfortable. It makes me feel inferior. It makes me feel ugly. 

And I know that if I just did certain things, I wouldn't be so overweight. 

If I just exercised regularly. Because there's not excuse, right? No reason not to get out there and do something. Surely everyone can afford a half hour a day. Hell, I'm sitting on my ass right now... why not just get up and walk? I have a treadmill. I have a forest a block from my house. Get off your lazy ass and exercise. But then life happens and that time means sacrificing something else. I finally decide to get back at it and I do great until the kids are home and my husband's away for 14 hours working a shift and my attempt at getting outside is thwarted by a Finleigh meltdown and a 1/2 hour on the treadmill means something is destroyed in the house because I'm not watching my daughter. A few days of inactivity leads to inertia - that damned physical law that seems to apply psychologically as well. And I suppose, if I just dug deeper, I could find the strength and the energy to do it. Get up and sweat. But it's hard to express how much of my emotional energy goes to just getting through a day... I don't often have any more to give to myself - or anyone else for that matter. 

And then, of course, there's the food. The sweet sugar, the chewy bread, the delicious wine. The things that I turn to for comfort far too often. How wonderful it feels just to eat that sinful thing that I know will contribute to my hips. In my frustration after a tantrum or a refusal to do anything, consequences go out the window. I don't care what will happen - Give. Me. Chocolate. I don't give a damn what my pant size is. I just want to eat. Comfort eating. My nemesis. My kryptonite. My biggest weakness. 

I hate that beauty and work ethic and morality are all tied up into weight. We make so many judgements about another person just by the size of their clothes. I'm not innocent in this, but I am also a victim. 

And so, one of my daily internal arguments (as I'm sure it is with many of us) is deciding what I want more... that image? Those clothes? Or that immediate comfort? That extra half hour to blog, or sleep, or clean, or get some homework done.  

Lately, the latter has been winning. I know this because I have gained 20 pounds since Finleigh was diagnosed with SMS. I was unhappy with my weight before. Unhappy, but accepting and mostly comfortable with myself. Now? Well, now my clothes are all tight. And I feel uncomfortable. I also feel completely ambivalent about it. And completely discouraged at the idea of attempting yet another weight loss regime (or getting healthy or getting in shape or however else you want to frame it). 

But here's the thing I want to make clear. Despite how big I am, I know I'm beautiful. I like myself. I like my mind. I like how I think. I like my personality (mostly). I like my relationships. I like my face. I like my hair. I like my style. I like who I am. I'm good with myself. Yes, I have my insecurities. Yes, I don't like being overweight. Yes, my life often feels way too overwhelming for words. Yes, there are things I certainly want to change about myself, both inside and out. But I am also okay with me - social beauty standards be damned. 


  1. Ah yes. The "weight" thing. I don't know a single woman who hasn't struggled with this at some time or in my case all of the time. I've been thin and I've been not so thin. I have family members who are seriously obese and some who are models. Yes, tall, skinny, look-great-in-clothes, professional models. So you can only imagine the mixed messages flying around at family get-togethers. Currently I am over-weight. It is mostly a result of illness and medication and my inability to exercise post-surgery. I REFUSE to invest in a new wardrobe yet I can only comfortably fit into a handful of my clothes. Hence my absence at Shiny T Tuesday. Some days I'm fine with the weight. Other days I am disgusted and blame myself. So there it is: the "weight" thing. In the world of "my life is so sparkly and perfect" blogs there is the Gorgeous Amanda Daybyday. I like your mind and I like your style and I'm glad you're out there calling it like it is. Good luck with Everything! Love, Connie


    1. Thank you Connie. You are such an encouragement.

  2. god its like a demon isn't it, seeking out women, this perfect image culture! We've been bombarded, and drip fed, and ravaged by perfection in the female form. I wonder how our attitudes as women would be different if 'real' women had always ruled! i am guilty of all, of judging, of dieting to anorexia, of binge eating, of gaining and loosing lost in yo yo living, of comfort eating....tilly kicks of and i find myself eating from the fridge...literally standing there shovelling food in! i have exercised till toned then fallen off that wagon to become a puddle of fat underneath the wagon's wheels! I have done it all, i know the full landscape and it friggin sucks!!!! now my aim is colour! I have taken weight out of the equation and focus here instead, its helped. At 44 i feel better about myself than at any other time.....but even so know i now need to face up to the weight loss i need to tackle. i am huge, sluggish, unfit, unsupple....this is not good! I want to feel next challenge doing this weight loss to health without again loosing my new found self-esteem! You are amazing! You make me rethink it all! You have a lot on .....i know.....i know the emotional drain behind your words, i live it as well....its tougher than a bastard tough thing up shit creek! i hope we can support each other in some way as we love ourselves and get to the point we want to be! Perfection be damned.....real is the new perfect! LOVE YOU!!!!! XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    1. Yes... its the kick offs that are the worst. And lets support each other. I like that. Even if it is across the ocean. Love you too!!!

  3. You're so pretty.
    Psalm 37:4
    Hang in there.
    Jen F