We’re focusing on wellness where I work. Challenged to eat healthier and exercise more and be accountable. So each Friday morning I text my people. Three other women I work with. I give my little report. Open forum for them to respond if they so choose. And they do. So choose. It’s been a good thing.
Wellness. I like to think of myself as healthy. I rarely, rarely get sick. I can run a good distance. Hold a plank for a while. I like vegetables and eat them fairly often. But I’ve come to realize there’s much more to it all than that.
First things first. Or actually second because I’m a few paragraphs in already. I have mulled the idea over and over in my mind for months. A blog entry regarding, shall we say, self image? I suppose that’s what one would label it. In truth, an entry regarding how I feel about my weight, how I look, that sort of thing. That’s fairly personal stuff, in my opinion. Unless you’re a Kardashian.
Here’s the thing. If you have regular interactions with young women and/or girls, one must be fairly careful that one doesn’t share one’s own faults and insecurities in such a manner as to alert the youth that one might perceive something to be wrong with them. Does that make sense? In other words, if I proclaim I am unhappy with my current weight, many of my women/girl readers will immediately compare themselves to me or someone else. Because that’s how women/girls are. I am one, so I know. At least that’s how I am. Insecure and all that. I want no one to read this and take it as a judgment on them. This entry is me, in a very real and deliberate way, sharing my judgment on myself.
I looked at some photos recently. Of me, approximately seven years ago. I did not look good. Overweight. Face looked tired. Run down. Haggard. Sad but true. If I was told to choose a descriptive word…I’d choose boring. I looked like a dull and somewhat scattered mother. Which is basically what I was.
I remember, specifically, times when people have been verbally critical of my physical features. My friend’s brother Jack when I was 12. A boy in high school who decided he could do better…as in hang out with a girl he perceived to be more attractive. My then future husband and words he said that I still consider. A friend of my grandmother who referred to me as a butterball. Comments regarding my skin…acne issues or the fact I wasn’t as tan as some thought I should be. Other comments about my weight. Body shape. Etc. None of which have ever been earth shattering or actually life changing. Except that when added together, on a bad day, well…
I also remember the good. Compliments. Certain people whose opinions mattered at the time. A boy in college who said I looked beautiful in the moonlight although he might have been drunk…Yes, I actually have received compliments when the giver was obviously sober.
I fear gaining weight. There. I said it. I do not want to be obese. I at times, eat very little. Not always because I am fearful of weight gain. Due to other reasons. Busyness. Anxiety. Not particularly hungry. I must admit though. I am careful. I know I could easily be back to a place I’ve been. Pounds slowly added. And I do not want that. I am harsh in that regard. Towards myself. I enjoying running. Exercising. But at times, I do not eat enough to fuel the distance I desire to run. No, I am not alarmingly thin. I do not even consider myself thin. No, I do not have an eating disorder. I eat plenty. Enough. More than enough, often.
I have found myself awake in the middle of the night and decided to check my BMI. I am very close to being overweight according to charts and data and numbers. So I am, again, careful. I doubt I know anyone who would consider me overweight. But again there are charts and the charts say otherwise.
More than just weight, there’s hair. Size of certain features. Wrinkles. My clavicle. In that I am a tad obsessed with it, which is probably strange. Arm flabbiness. Calf muscles. Back fat.
Face. How old I look compared to how old I am. What I wear. Lots of comments registered regarding clothing through the years.
In rereading I find myself feeling as though I’m extremely shallow. I’m not. Not really. But the thoughts are there just like they have been since I was a girl. Because like it or lump it, we are judged by our looks. Our appearance. And I believe, although I am not sure it’s factual, we act based on our own perceptions.
Oh, I do believe
you are what you perceive*
The above is from The Velvet Underground. Not anything I made up. But, to a degree it’s true, right?
Meaning if I never got over Jack’s comments in junior high school, I’d be struggling today. Strangely though, I think I still struggle with it all. Despite. Or I probably wouldn’t wake up at 2am and figure my BMI. Or kick myself if I can’t run four miles without stopping to walk. How I feel Spanx are a lie. If the dress requires Spanx, I don’t wear the dress. That I cannot bring myself to wear them because they are only masking that which later will be revealed.
We are a society touting healthy body image. Telling ourselves we shouldn’t get down if we’re not our own ideal. Or someone else’s. Yet. It’s not that easy. I should mention I do not dwell on all this constantly. But periodically it comes to mind. And I’m curious as to what others feel. And why we each have our own standards of beauty and what’s acceptable and what’s change worthy.
I had a fairly unhealthy week in my emotional life. Oh, I had some decent runs. Ate a few healthy dinners. A salad one day for lunch. But still felt kinda horrible. Maybe it was the fact I live in a world in which free (crappy) pizza is available three times within a 24 hour period. Who knows? I have come to realize my emotional state is tied to my physical and my spiritual. That it’s all related and I need to strive for health in all areas. Despite the fact I pride myself in being able to run, hike, ride a spin bike a decent distance…it doesn’t necessarily equate to being “well”.
I made some adjustments and took some action and talked to a few people who could help. And realized some things. So now it’s Saturday and the sun is shining and I have time to grocery shop and run outside and spend time with people I enjoy.
I’m torn because I don’t want others to read about what seems wildly unimportant. Yet I believe how we feel is relative to what we’ve experienced. And what plagues us day to day is as much a part of life as the major hurdles we overcome. The less important can actually become the major hurdles, right? At least for me. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. That and I suppose most people want to be “well” but it’s not the easiest thing to accomplish.
*the song is I Found A Reason, by Lou Reed