Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Bunch of Disjointed Fragments of Thoughts

1) I was reading an article about body size and the "ideal" body women should aspire to, and it struck me as interesting that the "ideal" for women, right now, is to be a size zero.

Nothing.

Zip.

0.

Zilch.

Is that really what we want for ourselves, and for our daughters?  To aspire to be something that is synonymous with nothingness?  (Not to mention extremely unhealthy for 99.9% of women).

Can't we do better than that?  In our post-post-feminist world, can't we give our kids something better to aspire to than nothing?

I'll tell you what, I'd rather have daughters who are a healthy size 10 or 12 or 14 with happy, productive, fulfilling lives than a couple of coat hangers who spend every moment obsessed with not eating.  (And I say that as someone who is dieting, and therefore currently obsessed with not eating).

1.5) But the thing is, I'm dieting because my starting weight (SW) was unhealthy.  I don't give a rip what I look like, honestly.  As long as BJ can still stand to see me and be seen with me, I'm fine.  I'm looking forward to buying clothes that look better (because they're all designed to be worn by those size zeroes, right?), but not as much as I'm looking forward to being able to breathe at the top of a really long flight of stairs.  If someone could promise me that my SW wouldn't kill me, I would've stayed there.  I'd still smoke if someone could promise me that I wouldn't get cancer.  But just like smoking, being heavy will kill you eventually, so I want to be less heavy so that I can live to see my grandkids.

I think I had to get to the point where it was about health, and not looks, for all of this self-improvement to work, to be honest... which brings me to point #2.

2) Healing High School

Facebook is a seriously interesting cultural phenomenon for people my age.  Someone could write a book.

I've been out of high school for 15 years (where did that time go?) and I stayed in touch with very few people from that era.  It wasn't deliberate, people just drift apart.  But now people drift back together, through Facebook, and I find myself "friends" with people I'd left behind, and who had left me behind.

And you know what?  It's amazing.

It's amazing to have reached a place of maturity, where we can come together and one person can say, "Hey, I'm sorry I was an asshole," and the other person can say, "We were kids, it's all good," and we can let go of all those old hurts that we all carry around.  We all carry them because high school is brutal (and middle school is worse).  That's why movies like The Breakfast Club are so timeless and classic - because what we go through in school, those rights of passage, are universal.  They happened to all of us, whether we're "preps" or "jocks" or "geeks" or "nerds."

Even if it's never said aloud, a few cautious, friendly comments back and forth, and I no longer feel hurt over the girl who totally ditched me for a new set of friends when we left elementary school for middle school, because I'm too busy talking with her about her baby's fever, and which kind of sling she likes best, and a recipe for amazing butt paste.  (Not that I sat here and agonized every day over what happened when I was 11 - that makes me sound pathetic and I'm not, I really have a full, productive, busy life where I don't obsess about things that happened 22 years ago, I promise - but those sad, hurtful memories are being replaced.  My tape of that girl that used to play in my head every time I drove past her house in Grammaland or heard her fairly common name has been replaced by more current tunes - songs of us being adults, and moms, and it's better now because there's new data to replace the old.  I sure hope that makes sense.  That's why I called this "disjointed fragments of thoughts," because it may not...).

So now here we are, and we're all playing Mafia Wars and Farmville together.  We've all gotten older and wider (no, that's not a typo) and we've all become our parents.  And we're all ok.  That girl who hated the world, and me in particular?  Well, it turns out she had a lot of good reasons to - she had things going on at home that were horrendous.  I mean, really, really bad.  Now I can see everything she did through adult eyes, and through the lens of new knowledge.  Suddenly it all makes sense, and it's all ok.  The boy I always crushed on has finally said to me, "I didn't try to date you because I figured you were too smart for my bullshit!" and suddenly all the old feelings that screamed "I'm not good enough!" are gone.  I could give a dozen examples, but I'm sure you see my point.  In lots of small ways, all those little high school hurts are being healed.  All the scars I've carried (that we've all carried, if we're brave enough to admit it) are disappearing.

Which brings me to #3...

3)  Is it possible that in order to get healthy (finally) and to achieve meaningful weight loss (SW-20 with good batteries this time) for the first time in my life, I had to heal from high school?  Could it be possible that I finally believe I'm worth it - healthy food instead of fast food, nice clothes instead of jeans and t-shirts - because I'm healing all these tiny ancient wounds?

I strongly dislike it when Dr. Phil says, "You're fat because you're a psychological train wreck!"  I've always thought that's bullshit.  I've maintained for years (about 15, to be honest) that I'm not a size 10 (screw size 0 - I'm Scot/Irish, that will never happen for me) because I like to cook and I hate to exercise, and I'm sticking to that...  But I can't help but notice the correlation between all of these old hurts evaporating and my increased ability to stick with it this time.  I can't help but think that maybe, just maybe, Dr. Phil is a little bit right (even a broken clock is right twice a day, right?) and that Facebook, of all things, has helped me deal with all of the dysfunctional tapes in my head that used to say, "You're not good enough!"  Now they're starting to say things like, "You're really funny," and, "You really care about people," and, most importantly, "You're worth the effort that it takes to change."

Could Facebook be curing me of a lifetime of low self-esteem, which has led me to overeat and not make the effort to keep my body healthy?  What do you think?

Finally, 4) I thought your answers to the question I asked Monday were great!  If I could say it out loud, I would tell several people in my life, "The way you treat your family makes me absolutely sick.  You really need to grow up."

Maybe the folks I'd say that to really need Facebook!

Maybe these thoughts weren't so disjointed after all.

6 comments:

Heather said...

They must have changed the tags on all the clothes then, because my ideal size has always been a size 8.

And Marilyn Monroe was a size 12. Eat that, all you anorexia-marketing fashion goons.

Anonymous said...

BJ is right... you are completely dizzingly amazing!

Cate said...

What a great post! Reading your writings is almost as satisfying as writing something myself sometimes because you say it all (all = everything that needs to be said about something without leaving that one nagging thing out) so eloquently. These are things I haven't ever thought of in just this way, and it's nice to do so.

RobMonroe said...

Facebook is interesting as it relates to my high school life. I have had to unfriend people because the way they treated people then is exactly how they treat people now. For them, it was not just "kids being kids" that caused them to be jackasses.

But to catch up with others has been a great to look at where we are now. I don't know that we have focused so much on how things were then (those are my camp friends) but moreover it's how the boat that I am in is identical to the one they are in. It's fun.

And of course I get to know you better on Facebook - so it's the greatest invention ever. (And BJ, too, of course!)

mwiesjahn said...

That is exactly why I love the biggest loser. Jillian said that we have to get them to the point of physical exhaustion and that's when the emotional part of why they gained weight comes out. And it's true! There is always a reason. Get rid of the fears and insecurities and then you can make a change.

I'm so excited for you! Keep up the good work.

Liz said...

I thought this was an interesting post because I hate Facebook. A lot. I'm a few years younger than you are (I've been out of high school for 12 years) and I had a nice high school experience. And yet, I have no desire to be "friends" with my old friends again. Nor do I have any desire to be "friends" with my friends from college. My Facebook is supposed to be for keeping in touch with my family that lives to far away to visit, but somehow those old people from my past have started friending me. And it makes me really sad. There was something nice about leaving that part of my life where it was. I think that this is a really interesting way of looking at Facebook, although it doesn't change my views of it, but I think it's great that it has served this purpose for you.