Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tedium, in 3 Parts

Part I- A short play
Part II- A treatise on body image
Part III- A contradiction to the treatise

Part I
Last night.
Timm and I.
10:30 pm, a late night for us.
In a darkened hallway, heading for bed.

Me: So, I really think you ate my fortune cookie.

Timm: No, I didn't. I threw it to you, then I ate my fortune cookie.

Me: Yeah, but I put it down. I think you found it, forgot you ate your fortune cookie, thought it was yours, and ate it.

Timm: I didn't forget that I ate my own fortune cookie.

Me: Yeah it's easy to do. I do it all the time. I'll reach for something to eat and then I look and it's not there, and I'm like, 'Oh, man! I already ate that? Dammit!'

Timm: I do not participate in mindless caveman-like eating.

Me: Whatever, people do that all the time. It's not just me. They do!!

Which leads me to another point:
I'm fat.

:: Girls, my girls, if you are reading this-years from now- don't you ever say that. ::

Part II
Now allow me to sidetrack into another, ranting vein:
I am very aware of the self-loathing that comes from being self-conscious of one's body. I had these issues all growing up, and still do as I think most women do to a degree. It's an effect of growing up in our body-conscious culture that prizes thinness above all else. It begins to seep into us as children, listening to our mothers and other  role models as they pinch their fat in the mirror and begin to catalog all of the reasons that they are imperfect and inferior in some way, and thus unhappy. It can be self-directed, or merely the undue emphasis on one's appearance, for good or for ill, when assessing or describing a person. Celebrities, friends, that person in front of us at church, someone passing on the street. We are too emphatic about appearance and shunning or ridiculing those we meet with displeasure, or elevating and praising those we approve of. Ourselves included. Thus I have always been adament about trying to avoid this with my girls as much as possible. They have never heard me complain about my body or my appearance in any way. I may give myself a through redressing in my mind, but these words are never uttered in their presence. I try not to comment on others' appearance unnecessarily or to identify one by the way they look, to categorize them or label them. I tell my girls they're beautiful, but I always make sure to tell them they're smart, funny, caring, and compassionate as well. I had a friend when I was young, and her father was constantly exclaiming over how beautiful she was. As a 12-year old I was simultaneously a bit envious of this praise or her beauty that inspired it, but also sad that this was the only attribute her father had praise for. It was so one-dimensional and shallow, and even as a child I could recognize that. So can our children, so this is my small part to try and balance the constant bullying our children, our girls, will receive from the world- that they do whatever necessary to conform to the ideal, or deservedly hate themselves when they do not. That all hinges and depends on their beauty or lack of it. At least they won't hear it from me.*

Wow. That went on a lot longer than I intended. I can't even remember why I started writing this to begin with. Oh, right.
I'm fat.

Part III 
I kind of tired even myself out writing all that, so it must be equally or more so tiring for a reader. Let it just be known that tomorrow marks exactly 4 months until my 30th birthday, and I would really like to be a little closer to my goal by then. And by closer I mean, not fatter. Less fat. Maybe even verging on thin. Despite everything I said up there, I still do want to lose weight, and not just for vanity's sake. I just don't feel good, and I don't feel like myself. That's the worst part. This is the hardest time I have ever had losing weight. By that I mean, the hardest time I have had keeping motivation to lose weight. I am fortunate that my metabolism and my body respond well when I eat right and exercise. They let me lose weight appropriately, but I have just not been able to do those things. I have wondered why it has been so hard for me this time, and I think it is because this is the longest I have ever been overweight. In the past, it was usually post -pregnancy, and I just lost the weight. This time, I gained the weight when I moved to Charlotte. 3 1/2 years ago. Ahem. I think because it has been so long, those habits are more ingrained and harder to break. I have gotten accustomed to being fat and eating poorly. Even if I hate it, it is the easy way. I need to find a way to keep my motivation in my sites and remember that I can do it, I have done it many times before, and it is worth it.

Oh, I am so tedious sometimes.

*It should be noted that I am exceptional at diagramming a problem, forming vehement opinions about it, advising others, and then living diametrically opposed to that opinion because of the difficulty I have in bridging the gap between what I believe and what is hard to do. Call Me Badger reserves the right to these opinions at the risk of sounding hypocritical or dumb.


Corinne said...

Growing up I was never told I was pretty. I was always praised and loved and adored, but physical appearance wasn't acknowledged, brains were what mattered. Primping brought on teasing, if I was seen looking in a mirror or checking myself out in a store window, cue the guffaws and sarcasm. My family wasn't intending harm nor did they realize it stung. There was no malice. I think I had older brothers and a dad with no experience with girls and that's just how it all went about. If they had known they would have changed things up really fast.

So now I have a daughter. And my husband is adamant we only tell her she is smart so she doesn't equate beauty with self worth. If I get her gussied up for church and say "Oh you look so pretty!" my husband always interjects "And smart!" We got in a tiff about it recently and I finally explained how I had always wished someone had made a big deal about my daughter will probably need therapy some day because we say both smart and pretty now and that will cause her some kind of angst we are unaware of.

This doesn't have anything to do with your 3 parts really, but part 2 made me think about it and once I got typing I just couldn't stop. :)

Miranda said...

I love this post for so many reasons but mainly because I can relate 100%. Eating things and forgetting that I did, not wanting my daughter to hear me tear myself down, and being sick to death of being overweight. Not feeling comfortable in my own skin but not having the motivation to do anything about it. Sigh. Thank you for putting words to my thoughts. If I were standing there with you I would offer you a high five.

michelle said...

I am so tedious sometimes as well! Your last remark made me laugh (ruefully) because I have that same kind of disconnect. When you come and visit, you will feel oh so thin!

The first section is so funny. I don't think I do that, but it reminded me of the SpongeBob episode where Patrick eats his candy bar and then accuses SpongeBob of eating it.

Diana said...

love you! you said no comment necessary but I just had to say that and to tell you i know you can reach your goal xoxo

Anonymous said...

Part 1- I have totally eaten something and looked down and wondered where it went. It's a shamefully gluttonous moment.

Part 2- I really hope you read the book Nurture Shock- it has a chapter in there all about how praising our kids for being "smart" actually stunts them. I wonder if the same can be said for speaking of beauty. Raising girls when thinking of the self image issue is something I never thought would need such mindfulness.

Part 3- I wish I knew how to light the fire under us both. I am hoping this PMDD has been the reason I keep falling off the wagon...instead of it being an excuse. Haha. I know you can do it. For real! Maybe we need to start our daily 5 reasons emails. Remember those?

Susan said...

Lfe is hard.
And then, you die.

So is dieting,hard that is.
And then, you die.

But I still need to diet.

And you were always the prettiest little girl ever. And you still are.

Denise said...

I just love your tiny-font disclaimer!

Jill said...

This was fun to read, though all too familiar as I share many of your issues.

I'm trying to think about any compliments I received as a child and I don't remember any one way or the other!

We try to compliment creativity, good school work and so on at our house, but we're not opposed to physical compliments either.

Molly Krauss Smith said...

I'm not even going to touch on II or III, because if I get into this being the largest I've ever been other than when I've been with child, I know you'll give me a hard time! (Like I did Linda when she joined Weight Watchers.)

#1 made me miss you guys the most. Give Timm a huge hug for us.

Stretch Marks said...

I am also very aware of the self-loathing that comes from being self-conscious of one's body. I also had these issues all growing up, and still do as I think most women do to a degree.

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