I am once again struggling with body image. I almost bore myself with how much this is coming up with me lately. I've been using an app on my phone to count calories, I've been going to the gym more often, I've been weighing myself. Some of these things are more effective than others. Some of them bring me structure, knowledge, even joy. But what I keep coming back to is: I like to eat, and this is the body that is the result of how much I like to eat. Now - what I've discovered recently is that I also like to Zumba. Have you Zumbaed? It's awesome. Anyway - Once again vowing to end my love/hate relationship with my weight, I am once again discovering that what I want to be is FIT, not skinny. I might just be a size 12 or 14 or 16. When I did Weight Watchers for most of a year, I bought some clothes that were a size 10. My Gap jeans (god love 'em), had an 8 on the label. And I laughed every time I put them on, because there is no way that I am a size 8. Even then, when I weighed 30 pounds less than I do today, I knew that that number was a load of hooey. I'm 5 foot 10, for Pete's sake.
Now, I was a really skinny kid:
|I think this is my 10th or 11th birthday.|
But what I'm learning is that I wasn't interested in eating when I was a kid. (I know, Whaaaaat?) Now I am. Boy howdy, am I. And I know that in my adulthood a lot of that eating was emotional, a lot of that eating was self-medication for depression and/or anxiety. But a lot of that eating was because I discovered I love food. I love how creative and interesting and Delicious food is. I love cooking it. I love eating it. I love sharing it. My body is different now. I've grown two human beings inside this body. I've discovered the wonders of what our Earth can provide for us with plants and animals, and what tasty things we humans can do with them. I've experienced spreading marrow on crusty bread, drizzling olive oil on vanilla ice cream and what cauliflower tastes like when roasted under a leg of lamb.
I love how I feel when I'm dripping with sweat after jumping and dancing around for an hour at my Zumba class (seriously, find one near you). I love how much water I drink afterward (water and I have a complicated relationship). And I'm glad that I can already feel my body becoming stronger and easier to live in. But I don't think it's going to get too much smaller. I think the range of 12 or 14 or (right now) 16 is going to be where I buy my clothes. And that's ok.
I will not continue to struggle with this. I am done feeling like a failure because I'm not a size 10. I have some really great dresses that are just not going to fit me again. And that's ok. Because there are other dresses to be found. I will shop for a new not-black swimsuit this year and give up the black, big-skirted suit of shame.
There's a lot more to say about this. Where did I get the idea that I have to be skinny? Why do songs that talk about being "amazing just the way you are" and telling me "don't you ever ever feel like you're less than effing perfect" make me feel angry and sad? Maybe it's because I'm not perfect. I'm Virginia. I'm human. I have flaws - both inside and out. But being the size I am isn't one of them.
Thanks to my friend Pharon for pointing me to this song. It inspired this post. And it made me feel great.
Also - look for a post that's actually about food later today!