Recently I have been struggling. STRUGGLING. I wish I could find a font that captures the depth and gravity of what I mean when I say that word. I have been on a mission of body love, of self-love, for a little over a year. And I felt I was really, really doing well. Then a couple weeks ago I got the bright idea to stand on the scale *Just for fun*.
What I saw made me almost gasp. I was a pound heavier than the day I brought my daughter home from the hospital. And I was truly confused. I was truly in a state of shock. A state of “how the hell could I let this happen and not notice?”
This fall my husband and I applied for life insurance. We had to say our weights out loud and I made my husband cover his ears. An assistant in the room actually said “Wow! I never would have guessed that!” And it was like my world was crushed. It was like I failed. And now I had witnesses to my massive failure. Even worse was when our health insurance quote came back slightly higher than we expected. For me, we had applied for the very top level rate, the “perfect health” rate. We were offered one level below that. Our agent called in to find out why and was informed that for my personal quote it was due to my BMI. So there it is. I’m not perfect. Objectively, an insurance statistician has determined it to be so.
I have spent my whole life a size 0-2 and pretty damn unhappy with the way I looked. I am now a size 6 and although I am probably happier with my body than ever before I can’t help but feel I have failed. Some statistician in charge of insurance rates thinks my weight is no longer “ideal”. And now I am almost 6 pounds heavier than I was at that time.
I preach body love here and to my friends but I feel like I am a fraud sometimes because I still feel like such a failure for not being super thin. I keep thinking if I refuse to allow these negative thoughts in that maybe with time I will find that I 100% believe it.
And I just don’t know, you know? I just don’t know if I am really unhealthy now or if I’m just falling back into my perfectionist tendencies to want to be perfect in the eyes of authority. That knowing an insurance adjustor feels my weight is not “ideal” makes me question my whole worth as a person. I want that A+. I want that “perfect” insurance rate. I want someone to punch my life statistics into a machine and come up with “perfect” as the descriptor.
Here’s the realest of real deals guys: I am fucking tired. I’m tired of relying on others to tell me how I should feel about my body, about my worth. I’m tired of being desperate for some healthy body love role models. I’m tired that often times it feels like I’m surrounded by more of the same. I’m tired of listening to people complain about their bodies. I’m so fucking tired of hearing about the newest diet or exercise trend or whatever product to make you have a better body. I’m fucking sick of seeing celebrities endorse waist trainers. What the fuck.
I’m upset that I feel the most in love with my body that I ever have but that the number on the scale still makes me feel like a complete and utter failure. I don’t want to have one more conversation EVER IN MY LIFE about any woman’s post baby body. I am EXHAUSTED of hearing women talk about how fat they feel.
But I feel fat too. I also feel beautiful. I feel healthy. I feel disgusting. I feel unattractive. I feel sexy. I feel ashamed. I feel proud. I feel all these things about my body. Every damn one of them.
And I feel like a fraud sometimes for not being more transparent. I don’t want to talk about women’s bodies anymore in the casual way women do where there is really so much damn STUFF being said between the lines, so I try and avoid those conversation topics. Or try to convert people on the idea of self-love. But deep down I am usually screaming “ME TOO!”
I have been trying to change my words, change my thought patterns, in order to change my life and in turn change the potential trajectory of my daughter’s future relationship with her own body. I am happy to report it has really been working. It’s been a lot of damn work, but it is working.
But its not anywhere near perfect. I still hate the way I look in certain clothes. I still get self-conscious. I still can feel the slightly more penetrating glance of another woman sizing me up. And I hate all of it.
I feel resentful that I am working so hard to make things better for myself and all other women and sometimes it feels like nobody else cares to make a change. I feel like I am fighting this fight alone and everyone else is laying on lounge chairs reading magazines and sipping cocktails. Probably magazines about the newest celebrity who has had a total body makeover and sipping sugar free drinks carefully measured out to fit into their daily measured caloric intake. And I want to scream at the top of my damn lungs WHY ISN’T ANYBODY HELPING ME?? Why are you all just lying there passively and accepting this complete and utter bullshit of a lie that we are raised with?
And yet here I am again, worried about what will happen to my body if I have a second baby. Wondering if it would be possible to cut back just a little so I wouldn’t have to hear the self-congratulatory “Oh you gained 40 lbs? I only gained 8.” Like there is an award for who gains the least amount of weight but still has a healthy baby. I say that sarcastically, but we know there is a grain of truth there. There is a social award you win by maintaining thinness. By refusing to let your body expand even when it is supposed to.
I look at my body and say “yes – you look good.” But in the same breath I think, “but not a single pound more. One more pound could put you over the edge.”
A few days ago I caught myself saying to my best friends how for whenever my next baby comes, I will probably “watch it” a little more. “I don’t want to do 40 lbs again!” I laughed. But inside, even as these words were coming out I was thinking, I ate well during my pregnancy. I didn’t pig out by any stretch of the imagination, I didn’t ever say things like “well, I’m eating for two now!” So what would I do differently next time? Restrict myself? Would it even make a difference? Why in the hell do I think I need to announce this to my best friends? Do I think they would love me less or be ashamed of me or talk negatively about me if I gained 40 pounds again?
So friends, I just wanted to come clean. The last thing I want to be is preachy on this blog of mine. The last impression I want to give is that I am THE ONE who has it all figured out because I definitely don’t.
And then there was this. Can you please all stop and go read this piece by Glennon Doyle Melton? A little excerpt to end my confession, as her writing is what spurred me to share this in the first place:
“There is no point in which you stop working and just brush your long pretty hair and flit around, untouchable. Done. All better. There is no before and after. Most honest folks with food/body/God/shame/etc. issues will tell you that it’s just the same damn thing, over and over. That you just fall down seven times and get back up eight. That each time you earn a little more wisdom to help you up faster the next time you fall. […]I am reminding myself that life is not an exercise in maintaining control. It’s just not. Life is a feast and she who sits out the feast to follow the underneath rules of the world just misses the hell out.”
I’m falling down.
Struggling with the definitions of things like what is physically healthy and mentally healthy and what is best FOR ME.
But I will get up again.