I have been steadily gaining weight the past few months. As a feminist and lover of all body types, it shouldn’t matter to me. But I am a human living in THIS world. The one where it seems like EVERYONE is always talking about bodies…their bodies, a celebrity’s body, working out, eating right, looking a certain way…it gets in your head, no matter how actively you try not to care.
I don’t have a problem with the way I look. There is nothing wrong with my body right now. It’s just different than it was a few months ago, so I am adjusting. Emily and I always say that if we just had clothes that FIT, or if we had money to go buy a whole new wardrobe to adjust to our weight gain, we would not care. It’s just hard trying to feel good in clothes that don’t fit you. It’s that simple.
But I don’t have money to buy a bunch of new clothes so it feels like a THING all the time. Oh, I can’t really wear any of my skirts any more because my butt is for reeeals right now. Which is AWESOME. But it’s not awesome that I can’t wear any of the like, six skirts that I love in my closet.
Anyway, my point is, you may have felt the same way. And I am certainly not trying to say that I’m struggling or something. It’s just a thing that’s on my mind way too much, considering that I like how I look right now for the most part. I also feel good, because I’m being active every day lately, which is unusual for me. So why does it matter?
What inspired me to write this post was first a conversation I had with Emily where we vented about how annoying it was to have to think about our bodies so much when we generally are very confident. We don’t want to feel like it matters at all when we go up two pant sizes – who cares? But then why are we close to tears after trying to just find something to wear? It can get very confusing. And it helps so much to talk to someone who gets that you love your body even while you complain about adjusting to having more weight. We can joke and we won’t take it too seriously, and it’s not a compliment-fishing expedition. But it also helps to talk to someone who tells you you are beautiful all the time.
The next thing that inspired me to rant about this is a conversation I had with my friend a few weeks later. She is a personal trainer, so she knows all about the health crazes and fitness nuts, and I love her because she is so healthy and good at her job – but balanced at the same time. She doesn’t make me feel weird for never working out, but she’s also a great resource if I have any fitness or health questions.
So she texts me the other day saying that people keep commenting on the fact that she had gained a little weight. Which makes me upset to begin with. Then she said that one woman asked her if she gained weight, and she said “A little.” The woman responded: “A LOT!” With her eyes bulging as she said it.
What. The. #%&$()@^#???
My friend wanted me to note that she kept getting comments from people a few months back saying that she looked super fit when she lost some weight. But she was not eating properly and was super stressed out at the time. Further confirming that weight is not a sign of health.
So I obviously freaked out. I can’t imagine how that would make me feel, when my weight is on my mind a lot already. It makes me mad enough that I can’t stop thinking about what I’m eating or if I’m working out sometimes – it feels involuntary, like I just feel like I have to think these things but I don’t ACTUALLY care. But if other people were commenting on it too??
Who does that? Who thinks it is their right to “weigh in” (har har) on someone else’s body?
I don’t think that we should never talk about our bodies, or health, or whatever. Our bodies are an important part of our lives so we’re going to talk about them and we should be comfortable doing so. But this policing that people do! It’s so preposterous.
I had a boss who would go to the gym at lunch every day, which is great. The thing is, he would come back and joke around with the younger girls in my office about what they ate that day and asked them if they worked out that day yet. Seriously.
This monitoring that people do with each other is totally inappropriate. It is not okay to pressure someone else to have the same health or fitness routine that you do. I have encountered this so much and it is so blatantly rude.
I realized that I actually feed into this every time I criticize my body out loud or think out loud about if I should really have a burger and not a salad. Even if I’m not being rude and talking about someone else’s habits, I still am putting that negativity out there. Whenever someone says they hate their legs or what have you, I look at my legs. “Wow, her legs are great… if she hates her legs, should I hate mine?” Obviously the process at my age is a little less middle school and more subconscious. But it’s something I have tried to work on lately to battle this environment of body policing.
What if we lived in a world where we saw people of all shapes in the media? Where we didn’t feel pressured to look a certain way? What if feeling good and having our personality define us was the whole point?
A while back Anthony and I watched some documentary where this guy talked about how much his image mattered to him. He was highlighted as a “metrosexual” or whatever. Basically he was remarkable because he was not the male norm. Anthony talked to me after and said, “It made me think- like can you imagine if how you felt about yourself depended that much on your appearance? ” I replied, “Ya, welcome to being a woman.” And he said, “I know, that’s what I’m saying! That must be so hard.”
We went on to talk about how fragile your physical appearance is, and how relying on that as a source of self-worth is just not sustainable. It’s a part of life that your body will deteriorate. Imagine if we placed more of our worth on our other, non-physical attributes from the start, as a society?
Because you can’t escape the messages that are constantly meandering their way into your head. I don’t have cable, don’t read magazines, and barely watch movies. I watch a lot of TV, but I also read feminist blogs and have feminist friends who all actively try and combat pressures like these. Regardless, I still hear it in my head…
If only my stomach was just a little flatter…If I bike this much every week, how long until I will see results?…God, my pants just look BIG, am I that big?…Look at that picture of me last year – I used to be so skinny!…
I love getting dressed up, and taking pictures of my outfits, and obsessing over a new hairstyle or makeup trick. I am not against a little vanity. Just like I said in my selfie post, I think we should embrace images of ourselves as beautiful and more valuable than the fake images we see on the regular. I just wish we could take all of the pressure and anxiety out of it.
I’m trying my best to wake up every day and remind myself that I don’t look like everyone else. I have a unique body that no one else has, and I want to appreciate the things about my body that are solely mine. I want to love my body as I age, and notice the beautiful things about it in different stages in my life. I want to drop the voices in my head and just buy new clothes, already.
Here’s to loving our bodies now, just the way they are.