A very long story short… I have lived some years with a certain degree of anger and resentment surrounding my health and my body image. Who, exactly, gets to define what healthy means and what a body should look like, anyways? Why does the world make us believe that we have to be a certain size, weigh a certain amount, and look a certain way to be beautiful and happy?
I have a very average body. I am average in height, average in weight, and average in my measurements. Even my feet are a size 7 – the most common shoe size! I have fluctuated in weight a little bit over the years as I have followed fad diets or binged and gorged in varying degrees. Never anything too extreme. If you know me, I don’t do much of anything extreme. Did I mention that I’m just average? I’ve always thought of myself as being a jack of all trades. I have a ton of interests and hobbies. I have always done okay at games and sports and school. There have been few things in my life at which I have stood out in, except maybe in my dedication as a wife, mother, friend, and servant of the Lord. Well, that, and I’m a Disneyland fanatic. I excel at that! But that’s another story. I’m pretty happy with myself. I think I am well rounded. So why have I let myself feel so much anger?
I have been feeling a strong drive to get to the bottom of this madness! I want to scream to the world a message of happiness and self acceptance! I absolutely do believe that we need to live healthy lives, by which I mean eating right and moving our bodies. There’s no getting around that. But what IS healthy? And do I need to hate myself when I over-indulge or sabotage my healthy self ? I’ve done an enormous amount of reading, and listened to an embarrassing number of podcasts on the topic of health and body image. I have a journal – a FULL journal – dedicated to the subject. And I think I have come to a general understanding in my mind.
I think that if we love ourselves, we will want to take care of ourselves. And when we take care of ourselves, we will love our selves. It’s a pattern. It comes full circle! And circles don’t stop. If we mess up now and then, or once a DAY, we are still in that circle – and we can just pick up where we left off. No harm, no fowl! The question is, how can we learn to love ourselves – like, NOW! Not when we are 20 lbs lighter! But NOW! It’s a good question, isn’t it?
I have a good friend with whom I have spent time talking about my issues and my anger. After a long discussion one day, she sent me a text message that said, “I agree with you. I’m angry too. I’m angry that women are so objectified in our society. I’m angry that our inherent virtues are ignored, and flawless figures are the only thing that matters. I’m angry that my little girl thinks that skinny is pretty. We are here at this time, in this world for a reason. I guess we can be angry or we can make a difference.”
Whoa! What?! I CAN BE ANGRY OR I CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE? Suddenly I’m flipping out here and doing cartwheels in my head! I can be angry……. or I can make a difference.
Maybe that’s what I need to try to do.