(*this topic is impossibly large. I may have to move through all the letters of the English alphabet, and then move into some other alphabet. There's no telling where this may lead)
I love making resolutions. I don't mean the dumb kind like; I'm not eating peanut M&M's until I lose twenty pounds. I mean the "RESOLVE" kind of resolutions. The kind that involve an epiphany; a life-giving, liberating new way of living.
The kind of decision that would mean I could end the fight. Swim upstream into freedom and peace of mind.
Say "NO" to my repressive and demanding culture.
Refuse to provide residence to the screaming monster in my head. Give all my friends and enemies and random strangers permission to do the same. Start a quiet revolution in which we all see our beauty, embrace our power, stop wasting time. Life.
I love these resolutions. And they feel incredibly liberating.
For about an hour, or until I am standing in my skivvies in a fitting room with a flimsey curtain for a door, fluorescent lighting, and a three way mirror.
Then I rapidly transform into some sort of diet crazed, heavy footed, fat loathing feral creature once again. My resolve, my soaring spirit, so recently liberated from its harsh, judgmental dictator crashes down in giant, untamable, chunky bits of horror.
I stare at the ripples and layers of cellulite invading my flacid thighs and wonder how I ever have the nerve to leave the house.
I notice a new pathway of veins creeping down the inside of my ankle towards the underside of my foot. Like my own flesh and blood sneaking around, searching for an escape route.
It was much easier at that profound moment when I'd decided about being beautiful for the rest of my life.
I was pinning at the time. Not wide-eyed in a fitting room with a pair of jeans pulled up to a sudden screeching half near the tops of my thighs.
But I'm only a junior in my quest for a new way of living. In my desire for body acceptance. My thoughts often stubbornly refuse to align with what I believe: That we women are wasting our lives staring down and shaking our heads in disgust and discouragement. That we've bought into some sort of weird conspiracy to keep ourselves very very small and inconsequential. That by constantly focussing on what to change, we've totally missed the point on what needs to change. We're meanwhile giving our lives away. Throwing away our influence, our beauty, our power.
I'm learning that even though my brain torments me, it all comes down to choice. Will I choose to engage in fat bashing conversations? Will I choose to subject people to my insecurities, my ill-fitting craving to live in a smaller body? Will I be one of those voices who reinforces that its not okay for women to have back fat, belly fat, jiggly thighs, droopy boobs, and upper arms that wave back? Will I perpetuate the common belief that weight loss will just 'make me feel better"? Or will I be brave and suggest that feeling good about ourselves has to start right now wherever we are. Whatever we weigh. Will I be brave and remember that when I was skinny I had really sad days, insecure days, desperate days, and perfect days, just as I do now?
Will I go on the ten day soup diet; run when I want to sleep; scan the pharmacy aisles for appetite suppressants? Or will I respect myself more than that- sleep when I'm tired (or promise myself to go to bed early), feed my body delicious food when its hungry, choose not to shove brain and body numbing trash into myself? Will I eat treats when I need a treat, take the dog for a walk when I need fresh air, move my body in pleasurable ways, treat myself with honour?
I'm learning that my thoughts are extremely slow to change, but that each thought is not an end to itself- its more of a reminder of the choice that comes immediately thereafter. Will I choose to promote behavior and lifestyle that honors your and my life, our beautiful selves? Or will I respond out of the insecurity that feeds straight into a destructive culture of telling its women- our daughters, mothers, sisters, and friends... that they're just not quite enough.
It's not going to be easy to start a revolution when three quarters of my brain wants to sign up for every diet, surgical procedure, fitness program that I'm constantly bombarded with. But if that's how damaged my thinking has become after a lifetime of hearing that I'm not enough, I really don't want to join my voice to that choir.
I'd like to join my voice with another choir.
A more inclusive, far-reaching, broader, less one dimensional choir. My voice will be weak, hypocritical, faltering, and frequently out of tune. But I hope that as the chorus swells, we'll find strength and harmony in each other.