So here’s something I don’t like admitting. And I don’t like admitting that I don’t like admitting it even. This is one of those complicated personal issue type things. I’m delaying getting to the admission because even though it’s pedestrian and as normal as crap weather during a British summer it’s something I struggle with on so many levels.
I’m actively trying to lose weight for the first time in my life. I’ve exercised before and I’m a fan of yoga and for a few weeks in the winter of 2002 I tried running out but I never actively counted calories and made significant changes to my diet until this last month and a half. And I still feel really conflicted about it.
Because I’m a feminist. I embrace and celebrate women of all shapes and sizes. I think it is okay to be fat or skinny or square or hourglass or whatever. I really do. If you’re my friend on Facebook you’ve seen the posts I’ve made about this. The awesome body positive stuff I’ve shared. Like that meme about how to get a bikini body, you know, put a bikini on your body, job done. And I still believe that. 100%.
But here’s the thing, I am also deeply uncomfortable in my own body. I struggled with this before having a baby, and I worked on it and worked on it. There are a lot of reasons for my discontent and my discomfort at even taking about this stuff. My arthritis that effects almost all the joints on the lower half of my body, my slowed down metabolism, my nose, the way I used to be skin and bones and the comments grown ups would make when I grabbed a 5th slice of pizza (That’ll catch up with you someday *smirk*), the way women I loved would beat themselves up over their weight, reading Nomi Lamm’s zine in the 11th grade, the way my friends have been leered at, the way I have been leered at, the way women’s bodies are treated like public property, how when I was 20 I made up a song called ‘I’m so fucking cute’ and I believed it, the way that being pregnant and having a baby has changed my body so tremendously, how my boobs get in the way now, how they used to be too small, how nothing is ever, ever good enough no matter how I try to work through it in my head.
So yeah. I’m changing my diet and I’m trying to exercise more, I’m admitting that. I’m also trying to be (and I hate this word, it’s a word that therapists use and it makes me roll my eyes) gentler with myself. If I eat an ice cream cone and go over my caloric limit. That’s okay. I’ll do better tomorrow. And if I’m in pain it’s okay to take the bus from the closer stop rather than walking to the stop across the park, and it’s important to acknowledge the things I like about myself and am proud of and not to downplay the things I am doing well.
My weight doesn’t define me. The crinkles and the stretch marks in my stomach don’t define me. The size of my thighs doesn’t define me. No one thing defines me. But there are millions of one things, some small and some huge, and they all affect me. So what I’m doing is I’m trying to work on all of the ones that are hurting me because I want to like myself for more reasons than I don’t like myself.
So we’ll see how this goes. Maybe it’ll work and help and maybe it won’t, but I feel like I need to try, just like I also need to read more books and write more stories and make my kid giggle more and go on more dates with my husband and talk to my friends more and generally be a happier person. I’ll get there. It’s not all about how I look but I need to accept that right now that’s part of it for me and I need to stop kicking myself over that.