I am not normally the kind of woman who worries about her weight. I struggled when I was younger, but as I’ve grown, I’ve felt more and more comfortable in my skin. In the last few years I’ve lost weight, had a baby, and now am moderately over where I’d like to be. Having typed all of that out, I have to say that recently it has been rough for me to feel good about myself.
A few years ago I took up hiking. I had a lot of “free” time, and used it to get through the stress of my divorce. As a result, I lost some weight. I felt great, and it was awesome. Unfortunately, losing weight got me a *LOT* of attention. It was nice to hear compliments, and at the same time, it felt like suddenly I was “worthy” of more…and that felt very backwards. I heard often how I was beautiful, how good I looked in clothes, and more. Stuff that we all want to hear, right? *hrmph*
What I was not prepared for was the attention. I say “stuff we all want to hear” with a flippant and sarcastic tone, as we may THINK we want to hear it, but when it starts to flow it is uncomfortable. It caused me to question everything. Was I not attractive before? Was I not worth the attention? Was I not already beautiful? So much shifted for me when I lost weight that I felt constantly at war with myself. On one hand I felt amazing because I was constantly pushing my own physical boundaries. On the other hand I was uncomfortable with and confused by the attention…even from family members. People would go on and on about how I looked, as though some how now it mattered.
My journey with myself has been hard, and I know that is the case for many of my friends. I no longer need make up to leave the house, and my stylist knows that I am “hair lazy” and cuts my hair so that it needs minimal effort to be amazing. When I lost the weight I heard from moms at my sons school all the time. I got invites to parties (which I declined, as these were not my friends), and a lot of attention from people in the world. When I got pregnant with my daughter, people commented on my pregnancy, but when I didn’t go back down to a size 10 afterward…people just stopped.
I have an amazing group of people who love me, and for that I am grateful beyond measure. The more I delve in to the BoPo movement (body positivity) the more I realize I am not alone. I’m not the only curvy girl who has gained and lost. I’m not the only one who eats organic/clean/healthy and still weighs more than “she should”. Yet, I continue to see these images…every. single. day.
Images of women who have been face-filtered on InstaGram, photo shopped in the media, and augmented in ways I can’t articulate in mass media. When I was a kid I saw women growing older in media, but now we barely have that! Golden Girls was MY JAM as a kid. Seriously. I love the hell out of those women and aspired to be them…even Estelle Getty who played a character OLDER than she was!! Look in the American media now. Find me the old, wise women who are showing their age and not feeling self-conscious about it. Please, seriously, find them.
This brings me to how I have been feeling lately…
Emotionally, y’all, I have been a mess. It has been really hard. When my emotions get twisted, things just get wabi sabi. So, with everything up in the air…my sense of self has been too. In my heart of hearts, I know I am grounded, but I struggle. I am blessed with people who help me see the light in the dark, and for that I am eternally grateful. I just wish our kids in the world had more light spots in the darkness. I can force my way through, when needed, but I want better for my children.
I’ve been delving in to the BoPo movement online, InstaGram and Periscope mostly, but blogs too. I want to shift the energy, I want to help, but I don’t know how yet. It will happen, as we all work together, but some times I feel impatient. We deserve more. Our marginalized people deserve more. Our elderly, our people of color, heavy set people, thin people, able and other abled bodies, transgendered people…where is the representation? I want more, for myself but more for my kids and the future generations.
I will have much more to say on this as time goes on, but right now, I just wanted to get this out of my drafts and in to the blog-o-sphere.