Tuesday, March 2, 2010

coming between me and my calvins

Yesterday I wrote about my painful quest for new jeans. And I have to say, I ended the day in pain. Pain caused by pants I thought would stretch into something comfy and cozy, broken-in and familiar. Instead, I had deep red welts on my hips by the time I eased them down my legs last night.

It was also a painfully emotional day. Writing/reading about weight brings up so much for so many. Body issue issues. Women (and I have to say, a few men) were empathetic, enraged, pissed, dismissive, hurt by what I wrote. My negativity wasn't in any way meant towards anyone but me. My issues are so personal, run so deep, are so ingrained, I never imagined berating myself would resonate so deeply with others.

No matter how far I've come and trust me, I'm a lifetime away from living on diet Pepsi and Tasti D-lite (the fake ice cream that was my main sustenance for years), my weight and my body are still toxic. I've gotten remarkably adept at not confronting either. I haven't owned a scale in years. I'd say it's been at least 15 since that torture device ruled my bathroom. During the height, or really depth, of anorexia, I'd weigh myself multiple times a day, chronicling the ounce variations. With clothes, without clothes. Before I ate, after I ate. Before I peed, after I peed. When I woke up, before I went to bed. That number meant acceptance, at least in the moment, or abject failure. I've now learned to ignore the siren's call of scales in other people's houses, in stores, in doctor's offices. My ego, my being, my sense of self-worth is still tied into that number. It's better not to know.

Same goes for shopping. When forced to try on clothes, scrambling through sizes, praying the smaller will fit even though logically I know it won't, too much rises to the surface and suddenly, I'm a failure before hitting the dressing room. I'm beating myself up over what hasn't even happened yet.

It's amazing, shocking, depressing how tied I still am to what's on the surface. Weight. Beauty. Age. Success. We live in a society that's constantly telling us we're not enough. Not young enough, thin enough, hip enough. Our hair could be shinier, our skin softer. Our legs smoother, our faces wrinkle-free. We should always smell better. Hey, our laundry should smell better. Our computers should run faster, our pets should be more well-adjusted, our children more well-behaved. Our dishes cleaner, our lawns greener, our vacations should be more fabulous than everyone else's. Wherever, whoever we are, it's not good enough.

How can we ever feel good about ourselves when we're constantly bombarded by how much we need to be improved?

Here's the secret peeps:

It's being comfortable on the inside.

It's about accepting who you are instead of worrying about who you're not.

I'm buying bigger pants so I can breathe and sit at the same time.


Marsha Halperin Epstein. said...

This was so revealing and so honest. Thank you for sharing a variation on a theme for many of us. The tyranny of the scale is a battle fought for many and most of my adult years.

I have struggled with body issues and am incredulous at how many of my "well-into middle-age" friends suffer from the same self-recriminations vis a vis their "blighted" bodies.

Being defined by a number on the scale or the size of a pair of jeans is ludicrous. It is painful.

Accepting oneself is a journey that begins with coming to terms with what is on the inside; not the outside.

Thanks for your courageous foray into a very critical topic.

MrsWhich said...

Thanks once again for your honesty and sharing. When you manage to spark our "stuff" through what you say, no matter how we react,it's an opportunity for each of us to find out why and see what we can do about that. It's the gift of a catalyst. Body issues are such a big thing in my psyche, they need lots of opportunities for work! Thank you for sharing your own so openly.

LPC said...

I was bulemic for several years. I remember that time with horror, really. I still work every day to keep my weight in check, mostly with success. But at least now I like the way my body looks. Even though, objectively, it looks infinitely less desirable than when it was 19. It's my perspective that has changed. It sounds so simple, but it isn't really.

organicsyes said...

....yes, making the decision to move to yoga pants...probably permanently!