Behind my house is an amazing woodlands walk that takes about an hour round trip: perfect for thinking and dreaming and having weird conversations in my head. Today some random thoughts that have been tumbling around separately gelled up into a full blog post, as opposed to a Facebook fragment.
My whole life I have not been very nice to myself. It is in my nature/nurture to avoid confrontation or express anger, so my way to deal with growing up and the trials of that journey was to turn any "bad" feelings onto and into myself. Eventually this coalesced into a general hatred of my body and myself as a woman person, which expressed itself into believing I was fat, unlovable, weak. To battle these demons I dieted, starved, allowed myself to fall into unfortunate relationships, developed a wicked self deprecatory sense of humor.....blah blah blah. Let's just sum up and say I hated on myself, regardless of the loving people and friends around me who did not think badly of me. I had great loving parents who did not make me feel bad about myself, let's just get that out of the way: no blame game here. There were a confluence of details that added up to this but let's not go into a full psych report, it's the usual shite.
The usual shite that is not an uncommon ailment of the feminine psyche these days, unfortunately.
So now that I am officially middle aged (!!!!!), I am happy to report I am MUCH better than I was in my youth. BUT....the hater, she still there, ready to slam me, cut me, shame me. The feeling of not being good enough daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, artist, person, woman (add role here); of judging myself on my weight and appearance; of making fun of myself; bad habits that are a well worn groove in the ole noggin'.
And Lord/Lady, how bored I am with this recording. How tired I am. How sad I am that this has taken up so much airspace in my head for so long. What a waste, all that time and thought energy towards self loathing! What I could have DONE with that energy!
So all we can do, us flawed persons, is continue to start where we are. And start again. And start again. Hopefully every time coming back to a healthier starting place.
So here's my current starting place. Gained some weight over the past year. Not too uncommon. Time for a Cleanse! This is the current trend in "Healthy Land". It's still a diet hidden in a cleanse (clean food GOOD! Unsustainable strictitude.....no worky), which means deprivation. I wasn't depriving myself of necessary nutrients, but there was deprivation of pleasure. And any time I feel deprived, a stubborn part of myself completely sabotages. She stomps in and says, I DESERVE to eat what I want! Don't you tell me what I "should" do! Fuck you! munch munch munch (bag of salty or sweet crunchy things).
Ok. So. Time to get deeper on the analysis about things this time around. WHAT do I want to eat? WHEN do I want to eat? WHY do I want to eat? (WHERE do I want to eat? WHO do I want to eat? hahahhahahhahahah). So now what do I do with this data?
I'll tell you right now: willpower has not been effective.
So let's look at this a leetle differently. Why is any of this....bad?
*Weight gain = hate myself
*Unhealthy eating = bad health/low energy
*Unhealthy eating habits modeling to my daughter
So the only thing that really seems to be important in those three is the last two. Yes, weight gain is "bad" if it is excessive and if you do the whole gain/lose cycle which is hard on your system. But if it's like 10-20 lbs, maybe who gives a fart?
Now recently I’ve been reading some books. And you know what books do: they give you some IDEAS. Dangerous ideas. Ideas that go against the cultural norm kind of ideas.
Here’s what’s penetrated my thick skull:
“Fat” is a word that is associated with weakness, laziness, gluttony, lack of willpower, stupidity, and general worthlessness. It is just about the worst thing you can call a woman in Western Society.
However. This is what I know about the weight I carry: I work as hard (if not harder) when attempting to lose it. And.it.does.not.work. Maybe temporarily, but not for long. My body has set point, and godsdamnit, she is gonna stay there.
I am not weak, lazy, gluttoness, stupid, or worthless.
So. The word “fat”. Maybe I don’t give a shit. Maybe…it doesn’t even look that bad. As an artist, I see beauty EVERYWHERE, including other women of all shapes sizes and ages. There are women I know of who would be considered clinically obese who are absolutely completely heroines of mine, and they are stunning for who they are as a complete package, fat bodies and all. Why can’t I see myself that way?
‘Member how I said I’m super tired of wasting brain energy on how I look? Recently I read a radical essay by Kelly Diels, where she asked - why do I have to hate my body and….(get this!) why do I have to spend time LOVING my body as well? Radical, right?! Her point is, she doesn’t spend time “loving” her mind. She just uses it. Is thankful for it. So how about we take away any directive to do anything about our body that this current patriarchal culture TELLS US TO DO?
Do you need a moment to think about that? I did. Because not only did I swallow whole the message that I was worthless unless I was skinny, but conversely that I was damaged if I didn’t love my body!!! Damned if you do damned if you don’t, right? Sheesh it’s no wonder I am soooooo gooooood and putting myself down, because that sure is the message women are getting NON STOP. It’s RELENTLESS.
I think it’s time for a cultural cock block. I’m done you guys. I don’t want to diet. I don’t want to hate/love my body. You know what I want? A strong body. I want a body that can carry me through the journey of my life, as I raise my daughter, follow my dreams, work hard on my art, play with my friends. I want a healthy body that’s going to give me another 40 years of this glorious life I have. AND I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE THINKING because it crossed my brainwashed brain too: if you are overweight, you are unhealthy. Well I’m not going to go into it but there have been some great studies that “overweight” is not really “over” and that is actually healthier than being TOO skinny minny.
So how to eat like a Goddess. What would a Goddess eat? The best damned thing that she wanted. If she wants chocolate cake, she is going to eat the best fucking cake there is. Because she’s a Goddess. She’s going to eat the best fruits/veg/meats/grains/DESSERTS there are. Because she’s a Goddess. And then she’s going to stride around with her big strong Goddess Body and rule stuff, all benevolent and maybe sometimes with some wrath, I don’t know. So THAT’S what I’m modeling on. Not this weird twisted story of woman that we’re being force fed. I’m not eating that shit. A Goddess wouldn’t.
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