I haven’t posted for a while because I’ve been in two minds as to whether to continue this blog or not.
Recently I’ve been reading lots of different stuff about body image. I struggle constantly with my own body image, and it tends to permeate every part of my life. When I step out of my comfort zone, and try something new and different, I feel uncomfortable, which, hello, the whole point. The problem is that when I’m uncomfortable I’m afraid and when I’m afraid my mind conjures thoughts and memories to try and get me to move away from what makes me uncomfortable. And those thoughts are always about my weight; the many diets I’ve tried and failed, how ugly I feel, how unacceptable and unlovable I think that makes me.
And then I find images that reinforce how ugly I am. I’m an overweight person and in this particular society that’s portrayed as a very bad thing and there are an infinite number of images and comments that reinforce that opinion.
Rethinking My Aim
I started this blog when I began learning how to dress to flatter my shape and I couldn’t believe how much difference it made to the way I felt about myself. I started because I was sick of waiting for nice clothes but it turns out to be one of the steps to overcoming eating disorders – go figure. Suddenly I was feeling sexy and beautiful for the first time in a very long time. Having finally found something I was passionate about I started this blog to share it with the world, hampered somewhat by the process of learning how to blog along the way. Unfortunately in researching this blog I’m soaking in thousands of images every day that reinforce premise only the thin are beautiful, only the thin deserve nice clothes and only the thin are acceptable. The gains toward self acceptance are constantly being undermined by my own reading.
One of the basic ideas of working with your body shape is to create the illusion of an hourglass – that figure being the ‘ideal’ feminine shape. As I learn more about overcoming body image issues I realize I’m selling the same fantasy; lose the excess weight and suddenly be happy and whole. Or, as is the focus of this blog, fake it. I don’t believe that though; being thin is not the root of all happiness. And quite frankly I’m starting to see beauty in shapes other than an hourglass.
Examining My Own Beliefs
But I still keep looking in the mirror and examining my ‘bits’ critically. I look at my beautiful daughter and ignore how wonderful and amazing she is in favor of focusing on her size as if that is the only thing that’s important. I have this ingrained habit of contrasting my body with other women’s bodies, and it always includes a critique of the other women, even if it is my 15 year old daughter. I feel so judgemental and I’m incredibly ashamed of that.
The really confusing thing is that I look in the mirror and I like what I see – well maybe not my thighs – but I’m pretty ok with me and the way I look. Right up until I actually leave the house. Or try something and fail. Then I failed because I’m fat. I’m single because I’m fat. What an excuse – it’s all powerful. The Wall Street crisis has hit because Lisa is fat.
Really it’s just a stick that I use to beat myself with. Because I’ve believed the message that I can change my body shape with diet and exercise and I believed all the other messages that said if I was fat I was ugly and it was my duty to rectify the situation. It’s no wonder I’ve spent so much time confused. On one hand I like the way I look, and on the other I believe the messages that it’s wrong to look this way.
Where Do I Go From Here
I don’t really know where I’m going from here. I know I have more to say, particularly on the twin issues of self esteem and body acceptance, although this is possibly not the right arena. I know I don’t want to keep looking at endless pictures of thin, toned young women in clothes I can never wear.
So … I’ll be making a few changes over the next few weeks. I look forward to finding out what they might be. If you have any suggestions they will be greatly appreciated.