Let’s face it, none of what we have to say on body is BODY’S contribution to the discussion… it’s thought’s. And thought is a borrowed narrative by far. A storyline dutifully (and usually unwittingly) passed on from generation to generation, occasionally morphing and evolving over time.
So with that in mind, I’d like to scrawl these thoughts, for whatever they’re worth at this moment in time — these thoughts from someone who’s struggled with body image for literally as long as she can remember. From someone who no longer hurts to self-harm, but still thinks of body/food ten thousand times a day.
Not as self-help or self-degradation, not as advice or suggestions or goals… and not as some spin or whimsical candor on an age-old-tell-all-but-now-ending tale. These thoughts don’t come with such prized authority, they come exactly as they are. No titles, badges or certifications of authenticity. No fancy dresses or suits. No degree or trophy emblazoned in gold: “I Made It!! Follow me!”.
Just the thoughts. Just as they are. Not a pretty penny between them.
I come from a long line of dieters. But I only just recently realized this.
You see, I’ve a family of foodies. We’re not long and lean, we’re not well-reserved, we’re not going out for a beauty contest, and we damn sure aren’t super-disciplined. We’re of the rounder sort, spare a few, and genetics were not our strong suit. And it's because of this that our lot in life is to fight the proverbial ‘bulge’.
Our love and joyful traditions are the merriest, and they are always interwoven (okay strewn) with food. The thing is I no longer subscribe to the latest Dr. So-And-So theory that this is a problem and that love and food should be totally extracted from eachother. I see it as perfectly part of nature— like squirrels going crazy for nuts. Like birds chirping and fluttering with joy while congregating on a loot of seed.
This is what we do.
For the humans that don’t do it with food, they do it with booze, or sex, or sports (and try to pretend that it's different). But food is nearly the most essential part of our survival, so it is only too predictable that we would feel thrilled at its presence.
The fact is love and food are inextricably intertwined, love it or hate it, that’s the way it is.
If you think for one second cavemen and women didn’t jump for absolute joy at the sight of a Saber-Tooth steak, you’re totally kidding yourself. The school of thought that we are more evolved or are somehow non-animal or at the very least not-entirely-natural (as in nature), is pure and utter blasphemy.
We are squirrels going crazy over nuts.Just deal with it.
But the world (i.e. current thought storyline) expects something different of you, something better, something decidedly above all this… something with absolute control.
When you look like this ______ (*see: every magazine cover in america), it means you’re in control, it means you have discipline, it means you have power. Power over yourself and therefor others, and perhaps therefore, even over events! You take up less space, you obviously work super hard, you’re a real contribution to society!!
When you look like this ______ (*see: the vast majority of “imperfect” bodies), it means you’re not in control, it means you’re weak, undisciplined, it means you are powerless. You take up more space, you obviously don’t work that hard, you’re a real degradation to society. Like a tick on the underside of the worlds’ thin go-getters, derailing the global ecology one buttered bread slice at a time.
Love it, hate it, deny it all you want… this is the ‘undercurrent’ story line here.
Is it bullshit? Of COURSE it’s bullshit, but it doesn’t stop the storyline from being there. Do people really believe this? Do they really have the arrogance and self-aggrandization to assign more value to some lives over others with any kind of authority at all?? They don’t mean to. They don’t even want to.
It’s just the storyline.
I think that’s how it starts, if you’re thin and you love food, you’re cute. If you’re not thin and you love food, you have a problem.
And so, the picture is painted, that something is fundamentally wrong with you, you are wrong and you must right it. So now, shame and food are inextricably intertwined. So you try, try, try again… and you become: a long line of dieters.
Each diet making you (ultimately) fatter and fatter because every time you do you tell your still-neanderthal DNA that you are potentially starving so snuff-out the metabolic fire, and quick.
Low-carb, no-carb, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, primal, fruitarian, raw, cutting calories, slashing calories, eating only in the fresh food isles… every one an exercise in restriction, elimination… in power, in control.
“See, I’m not a drooling lazy slob, I’m a kick ass calorie counting machine, and you can tell by my shrinking pants size that I have really got my shit together!!” Every diet or 'way of eating as a lifestyle' (i.e. - diet), giving way to the next one, because eventually — ALWAYS — you go the way of love. *haha*
So the people, all around me, all around me in the world… I can find not one single exception… get bigger and smaller and bigger and smaller and bigger and smaller, like waves on the sea. Some of them more so, some of them less so, but all of them… waves on the sea. But the thing is, I no longer think it’s a problem. It’s not a puzzle to be solved.
It’s just the way it is. It’s nature, it swells and recedes.
Most people will say “I just wanted to feel better…” whether we do it for our health or our vanity, that end goal is always the same. And it’s true. But for me, I can’t seem to tell whether the “better” that I feel at any given diet or exercise regime is actually really physical or if it is largely self-congratulatory. The storyline that comes with doing said routine is that “you’re good”, you’re righting your inherently wrong self, and kudos to you because you’re doing it! You’re making changes, you’ve got real control and dedication. You’re “winning”.
The former variety being the opposite of “winning”, it’s plain to see why you wouldn’t feel “better” then. It surely feels better to be winning at this game, it surely feels better to be “right” and “good”. But I can’t separate how good that feels from the actual physicality of it, because the storyline can’t be extracted from the experience and set aside separately by itself to investigate uninfluenced. They come hand in hand.
But the good news is I really don’t need to anymore. This is just what happens.
Super motivated… not so motivated…. super motivated …. not so motivated. No one is immune.
We indulge, we get stricter, we indulge, we get stricter. It happens. Arguing this is like arguing whether the sky should be blue - oh yah - for sure people might argue that, people will argue anything, and they will say that things can and should be different - in the magical future (that no one has ever seen) - there is a time when this is all fixed for good, and to that I say: bring me your evidence.
We can stop all our tongue wagging and avoid a heated theoretical debate by you simply showing me someone who stayed EXACTLY the same size and eaten EXACTLY the same way from the time they reached sexual maturity to the day they died. You will need to provide logs with photos that are signed and dated of the person on the scale, with the numbers visible each day of their entire existence. And proof it wasn’t photoshopped. ;) Find me one living thing since the beginning of time that did not fluctuate in size to one degree or another and we can just drop this whole thing right now.
If you say it can and will and should be different… sure … but that is the same as saying The Flying Spaghetti Monster can and will and should exist. Neither are real right now. “it’s not real now, but just trust me, it’s coming!” Ummm, no. If you can’t show me The Flying Spaghetti Monster now, then let’s just call it what it is — a fairytale. A perfect time, with a perfect you, and a perfect civilization full of nothing but thin, self-discipled, always-eating-exactly-the-same-way-til-they-die people.
These thoughts aren’t a justification, they’re not arguing in favor of one way or the other, they’re just pointing out how it is here and now. No size of being or way of being is “better” or of more value than another. Sizes and ways of being are like pieces of the puzzle of life, they compliment and support one another, whether they know they do or not. 'The big picture' can’t and doesn’t exist without them ALL. Can one piece of a puzzle be “better” than another piece? The short answer is, it doesn’t fucking matter, because there’s no complete picture without it.
You can argue better and worse until the cows come home, but the fact is here and now is life’s complete picture, and you cannot and do not get to decide which pieces shouldn’t be here, simply because: HERE THEY ARE (regardless of the present opinion)
And yes, change is also part of the picture.
So if a non-serial-dieter-phase comes into humanity, well then halle-freakin-lujah. But I won’t be holding my breath. :)
In the meantime, it's good to remember how absolutely inconsequential something like "size" is to love.
Which is the thing that remains when all else is gone, the thing that is with us no matter how big, small, rich, poor, sick or well we may be. It's there if you're vegan or low-carb or junkfoodatarian. It's there, always there, just the same.
The heart can love in any condition... in any condition at all.
so boogie on baby, everything you are all out.♥