Somebody help me, my brain is stuck in 1989!
I've recently had an old friend contact me (Skaters rule and preps drool!) whom I haven't seen since junior high. It's been great reminiscing about ye days of ol', when my heroes were Ice T and Tony Hawk, and I wore bicycle shorts with neon stripes in all seriousness (yewouch! A memory to suppress good and hard!). I've spent some time on Youtube lately, visiting the music and styles of the late '80s. Ah, the '80s...
I know you don't have to read any further to know that I'm not heading in a good direction.
Okay, old friend catch ups = good stuff! Especially this one, she's funny as hell. But actually having my mind wander over to my junior high experiences in general and I start to feel a dull pain like I've got my neck stuck in a banana clip.
One memory surfaced not too long ago of the stupidest compliment anyone has ever given to me. Are you ready for it? Okay, this is what some 13 year old guy said to me as we were hanging out at recess: "You know, you'd be really hot if you just lost five pounds."
Really made me want to throw up my lunch and sweat off some water weight by running around the track a dozen times.
'Cuz then I'd be hot.
To a dude who looked like his hair had been cut by Stevie Wonder while doing the Running Man.
I repeat: wow.
It would be really easy to dismiss the little freak and get on with life, well, after kicking his skinny, stupid haircut ass around the playground a bit, but I've actually took his backhanded compliment to be true. Like, damaging or what? Can you say crap self esteem? Want to know what's worse? I still do, to this day.
Thirteen years olds aren't bright, him nor I apparently, but, seriously, this is the mentality of the '80s, of junior high, of Teen Beat and Seventeen magazine and all the other garbage I used to feed my head. Later, older and smarter, I did shake my head at this bizarre message, but by that point it was habitual thinking. (I don't think I actually heard the 'f' word out of the context of 'what, are you some sort of hairy, bitch feminist?' before I was 20.) I can logically argue the point and dismiss the continuing media imagery that equates fat with ugly, but the voice in the back of my head, the one I actually believe, says differently.
I think about weight and diet and exercise and lifestyle and habit and indulgence and restriction all the time. So does The Man. So does nearly everybody I know. We all carve up natural experience into artificial categories of good and bad based upon ideas about what makes a person's body a particular size and shape. And when we are scared or we fail, we look to ourselves for a reason, and it's really easy to believe what everyone tells us, that we fail because we are fat.
I'm starting to get the inkling that I hold myself back not because I'm fat, but because I believe fat is bad. Is fat bad?
Would anything be better if I was five (or forty) pounds lighter?
I know one thing, and I keep it in mind a lot when I start to beat myself up; Smootch would not be here if my body has been any smaller than it was when I was newly pregnant with her. I lost 25 pounds in the first three months of that pregnancy due to hyperemesis gravidarum. My fat saved my baby. Obviously, this fat equals bad and unhealthy is not as straight forward as the media would have us believe. I think it's worth looking into further.
For anyone else thinking about these things, here is a little primer to get the ball rolling from one amazing blog.