"Don't worry, babe, you lose weight quickly, anyway, how do you know you have gained that much?"
"I have a scale!"
"But do you feel strong?"
"Well...yes...I really do."
"Then what are you worried about? And anyway, this seems counter to what you preach every week on your blog."
"I know. I am kinda a hypocrite...only not all the time."
"Well...no one is a hypocrite ALL the time..."
That is a text conversation which happened between me and my fella not two weeks ago. Interestingly, if I think back, I remember that I was 125 when we met. I am 125 now. I just happened to magically lose 15 pounds quite by accident when I was eating cake for breakfast every morning...so...I got used to that body...I LOVED that body! Mostly because I really didn't have to work that hard to get it...
But now I think about working hard to get back to 110 and I just get tired...and I know it is just a number...and I know I actually do feel great in my body...just as it is....AND I know that complaining about this makes me an insensitive twit. Believe me...all this, I know. But there is something about it....something about feeling that light that seemed different. I definitely could do more pull-ups...but that is not really what I would call a valuable life skill.
The life skill that is important, and why I have put you through this incredibly boring and shallow rant, is understanding what is meaningful. Knowing that the number reflecting up at me on my scale is random. Knowing how I look in my jeans is superficial.
The relationship I have with myself and with others, this takes precedence. So when I start going down the "I weigh too much" rabbit hole, I think back...when have I been the happiest, and why? Every time, I come to my relationships, with my friends, my family, with myself. Because that is what fills me. My connections with the people I love.
When I was 110, I was having intense flashes of rage that would come on and I could not explain them or control them...until I went to my naturopath and found out it had to do with my hormonal balance and lack of salt in my system...so, in a word, I was not happy. I was pushing away a man who really loved me because I could not control or understand my temper. Over time, I worked on my health and my angry flashes all but disappeared. So...was I happy? Well...actually I was kind of a nervous wreck a lot of the time...so...no. And because of that....my relationships were not as good. In fact...the most important relationship, the one I had with myself was full of hate speech...not because I was unhappy with my body, but because I was so ashamed of my behavior. It was so hard for me to even admit I was capabe of such things, let alone work through them.
Now I can say I have never been happier. My relationship with myself is solid, pretty honest, and I keep attracting new friendships which feed me, all the while letting go of the ones that have been damaging. As soon as I look at all this, what I have in terms of the people in my life, my weight, the tightness of my jeans...all that stuff kinda fades away. It starts to look like a distant spec on a horizon of thought I only glimpse on occasion.
So the question I come to is why the fuck do I do this to myself? I know, logically, that I am not less of a person. I know that whatever I weigh does not really matter in terms of the amount of joy I have in my life. I have to admit to myself, and now, I guess to you, that I am worried that sexually I will not be as desirable. I have long valued sex and sexual experience, and I decided when I was in my twenties that I would always attempt to put myself in a position where I could have lots of sex...until I couldn't. And when I gain weight, this is my fear. It is not really valid. I have never noticed any drop in sexual activity or attraction when I have weighed this much. Or, frankly even more.
But I, like so many of us, have been affected by the machine that tells me what I must look like to be seen as sexy. My experience tells me otherwise; that I am attracted to smart, funny people, often no matter what they look like. People have never complained about my body while engaging in any type of sexual congress with me, the most enjoyable sex I have ever had was with people who were confident and comfortable in their skin, and finally, in general, I don't value people according to their looks, but by the capacity of their hearts and minds.
All this, all of this experience I have had, and still, that freak out creeps in. If I am conscious of how it happens, I know. My thoughts do not lead to my feelings, but my feelings do lead to my thoughts. Very often, I feel the anxiety first, then my mind races to find something to be anxious about, and it can be anything. It can be my fella, my ass, my dwindling reserves of cash, it can be the state of the middle east, where my tax dollars go...but let me be clear, I have become acutely aware that my physical feeling of anxiety arises before my self-doubt.
So...what is there to do? Normally, I suggest the exercise I posted last week. But today, as I write this, I have recognized that all it takes on my part is simple recognition and a review of how much I actually care about how big my butt is or how much my thighs rub together. Not much. The only things I care about, truly care about, body-wise, is that I feel strong and healthy, and that can look like many different versions of Sara. All I have to do is recognize that the thought is my mind's way to explain a feeling, and then, excuse that thought and explore the feeling.
Sounds like a lot of work, doesn't it? Sounds scary. Sounds like something that will take time. These arguments are all valid, but then I think about the alternative. I think about being controlled by untrue thoughts. I think about beating up on myself for no reason. I think about the time I waste trying to assign blame when I feel something, instead of just feeling it.
That is why I can do this. Because I know the option is a path that leads to more time wasted, my self-abuse, and inevitably, a calling back to myself to connect with my right mind.
So for me, it becomes a matter of what I would like to spend my time doing. I would much rather sit quietly, exploring my feelings than quickly blaming some external bullshit for their existence. I would much rather sit and get to know myself than damn myself to the hell of self-hate.
I would much rather allow myself to be human than shame myself for not being perfect.
How about you?