There are many standards that we never consciously picked up – they are more or less „infused” into our very substance through their pervasiveness. There are things we admit or not, things we share or not, because there are standards about what is share-able, and placing yourself on one or the other side of certain standards makes you immediately „one of those people who…”. But given that this page is not (read: pretending really obstinately to itself not to be) an exercise in (narcissic) likeability, but rather one in being honest to oneself, I’m questioning my standard.
I’m on a (rather severe) diet.
I read blogs of people who write about body image; I can agree with lots of stuff, I can get judgmental and wonder whether continuously writing about it doesn’t affect the extent to which you think about it – and it really shouldn’t be that important… I admire some of them for their sustained effort of embracing themselves instead of media images. And I am, by no means, one of them.
I have long ago tacitly embraced the standard that a woman might joke about her weight, but a `strong` woman should never show that she actually has issues with her body – because, well, she’s not that shallow and self-esteem cannot possibly be influenced by something so `worldly`. Yet, the same `strong` woman should never `let herself go` and turn into a middle-aged shapeless potato sack. It’s always perverse – because, to obtain the `cool and composed` attitude, you should never visibly count what you have on your plate – or else assume the consequence of being a different sort of fretting woman. And to obtain the `decent`, `I have everything under control` silhouette, you should do something about it – something that involves time and effort. But it shouldn’t show.
Therefore today I am writing about it. I’m on a diet: it’s awful and masochistic to bake cake for your kid’s school birthday party while working your willpower to its end not to touch the frosting; it’s a test of dealing with frustration, putting it in perspective, coping with low energy in a demanding life pattern; it’s time-consuming in preparations and asocial because, apparently, all social things at work and at home are organized around food; it’s really boring if you’ve developed gourmet tastes; it’s a journey of confirming that this is my weakest physical and possibly psychological spot; it’s possibly demeaning in the eyes of others who are struggling on a daily basis with how their body, of whichever shape, is themselves and needs to be loved. But I’m tired of this game of constant guilt, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I’m giving it my best shot, and if it saves me thinking about this for the next 10 months, at least, then it will have been worth it. If I can extinguish the desire to press delete whenever I look at pictures of myself, even if it’s only temporarily, it’s worth it. (Of course, it won’t be, given that, when I weighed 10 kilos less than today, I was desperate to find a gym where they know what you should do about your upper arms (that was perhaps around 21). ) But it turns out that there’s strength to be found in all positions on a spectrum, and today, I’m sticking by this decision: I caved in to society’s ruler – I’m a wimp on a diet.