After posting my last blog entry I leaned back on the couch, munching on a delicious slice of pizza, and feeling exceptionally proud of myself. Truthfully, I would have been proud no matter how that entry had turned out, but I was excited to see my thought process shifting. To know it’s less the flowery words of longing from before but actual meaningful desires to accomplish something. As I mulled over my thoughts I looked over and noticed BF staring intently at his phone – he was reading my blog. Afterwards he looked over at me and the following conversation happened:
BF: What does it stand for?
BF: W. A. R.
Me: Nothing. It’s a quote from a movie I like (and I proceeded to rhyme off the quote).
BF: Oh. I thought it meant something. It should mean something.
Me: Like what?
BF: I thought maybe it was something like … Wrath. Acceptance. Revelation.
It is so fitting. It perfectly describes the feelings I went through yesterday as I was processing the event, and it definitely fuels my drive forward. I think it might be my base model for everything I want to tackle going forward – how it makes me feel, what I think about it, what I can do about it. And since I’m still pretty fired up I wanted to explore these ideas a bit more … sort of a base check-in as I start to make some radical changes and move forward into a new better reality.
Oh baby I am FIRED UP. Now credit where credit is due … a lot of people have gotten very rich off the ridiculousness that is the diet and beauty industries. They create an image of a person and claim it’s ideal (because remember! even models in the magazines are photoshopped to death. The models we idealize are not even good enough as they are to be considered worthy enough to be the ideal). And they tell us that everything we don’t like about ourselves is because we don’t look like the ideal. So if we buy into their diet/weight loss program/wellness books/make-up/face serums/creams/potions then they will work, we’ll look like we were always meant to look and we’ll finally be happy! And when these things fail (and trust, they will fail) we’re told it is a fault in us, not the product. We didn’t stick to the program, we didn’t use the product right, we weren’t disciplined enough to make it work. But the next time will work. The next time we will get it right.
And I’ll concede … that every once in awhile someone makes it work. Someone takes the weight loss plan and makes a permanent change to their eating habits and gets their body to the weight that industry sells as ideal. Except … it’s still not enough. There is still a small pouch to your stomach, your thighs touch, your arms jiggle, your skin is saggy from the weight loss, this weight is acceptable but you can stand to lose more … there is always something still wrong. But wait! We have just the product to fix it!
Rinse. Repeat. For the rest of your life.
I don’t want to completely stomp on anyone’s aspirations or lifestyle. I’m saying that buying into this is no longer for me. I want to eat a balanced overall diet because I know I feel more energized and alert when I’m stocking up on nutrients. I want to move my body more because I feel good about myself when I go – not because I’m exercising or trying to lose weight … but because completing my chosen workout leaves me feeling like a badass who can accomplish anything I set my mind to. And if I decide to change my wardrobe, or start wearing make-up, it’s because I want to wear things that make me feel empowered and attractive – not that I’m trying to attract anyone, but because I want to feel my best at times. I want confidence to seep from my pores, and sometimes that happens because of how I look. I’m okay with all of that.
I’m no longer okay with being told that I am taking up too much space, that my thoughts and opinions have no value because of my appearance. I’m not okay with being sold an ideal that I realistically can never ever obtain because of a whole host of reasons, most of which is out of my control. I am not okay with wasting brain energy on self-loathing when I have other things to worry about and better things to do.
These are the things I know to be true:
– Just because I want the industry to cease to exist does not mean it’s going to
– No matter how loud I scream it is unlikely that I will cause any significant change in the industry
– I fully believe that people are free to make their own informed choices
– I believe that people buy into these ideas because they want to believe it will help make them happy, and I can’t fault anyone for chasing personal happiness
– I cannot get back all those years I bought into all those lies
– I cannot take back the fact that I had an eating disorder, or that I still have a long way to go in my recovery
– I accept that my body has it’s own weight, a set point, and that when I feel balanced (mentally, physically, emotionally) my body will gravitate towards that weight, whatever it is, whether bigger or smaller than I am now
– Because this is a long road there might come a time where I want to believe a lie that pops up about this diet or this exercise routine. They are meant to sound appealing and play exactly into the things we hope we hear.
– I need to be patient with myself as I work through things and figure out what fuels me the most
I accept that there are some people who fully believe in what they are selling. I accept that some people think losing weight is an easy mathematically equation. I accept that these topics are very common place in our society and that getting away from them entirely is likely to be impossible. I accept that I have, at some points, played a role in keeping this narrative going.
I still have a lot to learn. I still want to think critically about what I’m hearing and really look into something in depth if I’m going to consider making it a part of my life. While my money is valuable my time is infinitely more so, I will make sure I spend both very wisely when it comes to any wellness-type products, whatever they may be.
I accept that while I may be ready to take these steps there are many people who are not, even some who are close to me. I will be understanding and supportive, because that is the person I have always tried to be.
Resolutions. Results. Reveals.
I’m still in the beginning stages of this war on the Shame Game and the Fake Ideals. I’m still in the Wrath stage and having delightful visions of burning it all down. But I need to remember to be kind to myself, and kind to others. We’re fighting a battle with our bodies that was sold to us. This wasn’t a fight we had until someone convinced us it was. It will take a lot more convincing to get myself out of it. I hate confrontations.
I have the formations of plans, but that’s not the first time I’ve said that. I have ideas on what I would like to do, and less ideas about how to do them. I know how I want to feel, but I don’t want to go chasing feelings because, again, those are sometimes sold to us too. I know that I want to spend more time understanding why I want the things I want. I need to take a bit more time to assure myself that my motivation is because I want it for me, not because I think I should want it or I’m pressuring myself to do it.
And I’m still having body feels. I think I’m a bit quicker to catch them, a bit quicker to shut it down. I had a great conversation today about a host of topics, including this one, and it felt good to help encourage a friend to step away from this, and get a bit of encouragement myself. It felt nice to connect with someone (though this friend and I have been on this topic for awhile), but I want to connect with more. I want to keep having these conversations, keep hearing from people who each have their own amazing stories to tell, and I want to learn from you all. I want to take in that which makes me stronger.
And lastly I have some big life goals coming up. Things that seem so far away right now, but still require mindful thought and some careful planning. I’ve started opening up to close friends and letting them know about where I want to be headed, and while I’m not ready to reveal all to the masses I know I need to invoke change in myself to help make these dreams realities. While I can reasonably expect to succeed should these plans happen sooner than later, ideally I give myself a bit more time to prepare myself in all ways possible (as much as anyone can, really).
I’m comfortable with my rage. I’m understanding that I can’t take back what has happened. But I can control how I move forward. That is the best I can do right now, and I’m okay with that.