So lately I've been thinking a lot about radical self-acceptance. I got out of a relationship a couple months ago and the heaviness of the sorrow had taken about fifteen pounds off me because I was simply too sad to eat. Regular exercise and a better diet have given me back some of my energy and weight and, while I've been grateful for it, the old eating disordered thinking raises its head whenever I have to watch that scale rise. It's always hard, even when it's for the best.
In the upcoming edition of "O" magazine, Oprah talks about her guilt and shame for once again allowing her weight to spiral up to 200 lbs. All my favorite feminists are talking about it- about how such an amazingly talented, gifted, smart, successful, beautiful woman is so beholden to her weight that it actually drives her to public confessional. We all know that body snarking is one of the foundations of our modern society, but I think Oprah is just a very extreme example of how a woman can be one of the most influential and powerful people in the entire world and STILL, STILL be beholden to constructs about how she's "supposed" to look. It's tragic. It's tragic to me that Oprah and I spend SO much time and energy on this stupid subject. Kate Harding writes:
"Some days, you feel like it would be so much easier to take on that old part-time job again — especially when you’ve done it so many times, for so many years, you could do it in your sleep. All you have to do is carve out three or four hours a day to exercise more vigorously, obsess about what you’re going to eat next, and prepare it; stop listening to your body and only pay attention to your food plan and workout schedule; cut out some hobbies and social time to make room for the job; recall all the tips and tricks for not eating at holiday gatherings, at restaurants, at your dear friends’ houses, at your own birthday party; retrain yourself to believe that salad dressing — let alone artisanal bacon, creme brulee, whatever — doesn’t taste good enough to warrant its negative effects on your job performance; talk constantly about what you’re not eating and how great it makes you feel, in hopes that some of your friends will join you at this lonely little workplace; and — most importantly — continue to believe with a religious fervor that your body is an ugly, hateful thing that must be punished and diminished. As long as you really believe that, the rest isn’t so hard to keep up, once you get used to it (again).
Some days, all that sounds a hell of a lot easier than resisting the messages — especially when you think of all the praise you’ll get once you’ve lost a noticeable amount of weight, or how good it will feel when you get to put on a smaller dress (though that feeling goes away quickly, as it must, or else you might lose your motivation to keep going). How proud and in control you’ll feel — again, for a few minutes at a time, for as long as it’s working. How much better people will treat you, as long as there’s less and less of you. I totally get that.
But I stopped giving in to it. And boy, I wish you would, too — because you’re way too smart to take that sucker bet yet again. "
Some of you know about my deep, long-standing girlcrush on Ani DiFranco. If you don't know her, if you haven't listened to her, I'm embedding a small reason to start. Because this is a woman who GETS this concept:
Love is all over the place. There's nothing wrong with your face.
PS- Sorry about the commercial up front. Damn WSJ and their moneymaking ploys! :)