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.