Tiny Shorts and Tiramisu

There are a lot of things you don’t do when you’re self-conscious.

You don’t swim. You don’t dance. You don’t sing.

You don’t sign up for group fitness class. You don’t invite people over. You don’t Skype. You don’t wear clothes that suggest you have a body. You don’t have a drawer full of beautiful, lacy things.

You don’t initiate. You don’t show affection [openly, easily, or freely]. You don’t take a lot of pictures.

You don’t order [or eat] anything with the potential to be messy: noodles, ice cream cones, tacos, sushi, watermelon, corn on the cob, a really great burger.

You don’t relax. You don’t laugh. You don’t live.

 

These are things we can do something about, one by one. And we can make it fun.

Are the words “with wild abandon” part of your vocabulary? I like that phrase. I keep looking for opportunities to use it.

I don’t know if it’s a product of the warmer weather, good feedback at work, more food [for goodness’ sake], or the sign I just saw propped in a shop window — trust me, you’re lovely — but I feel 30x closer to my old self today.

I’ve missed this person. This person has hobbies and interests. Hopes and dreams. This person may not want to talk about #goals, but she would like to go out to dinner, watch a movie, go for a walk.

This person is lonely too, but it’s your average, run-of-the-mill loneliness. The kind that just takes time.

In a minute I’m going to get out and make every effort to enjoy my Saturday, but first I want to revisit a perspective I got from a podcast. It’s not perfect, but it’s so, so good.

“How do I convey to people how magical and wonderful and amazing they are, and how magical and wonderful and amazing this planet this is? One of the things I often do, when I’m talking to people and they’re talking to me about dieting and all the small things that are making them miserable but they think they have to do, is give them some context. I’m going to give you some context.

How about this: we’re in the middle of a galaxy that’s in the middle of some other thing, that’s probably in the middle of something else, living on what’s essentially this magical rock covered in giraffes, and cheese, and flowers, and oceans, and tiny, tiny dogs. You’re on that thing — you’re on that magical rock covered in all those things in the middle of this magical place, flying around a space we sort of vaguely understand but not really — and you’re telling me you are going to choose to not wear tiny shorts today? You are going to choose not to eat tiramisu today?

Let’s define the word ‘diet.’ Dieting is any behavior whose primary goal is weight loss, and/or any behavior whose appeal would be lost if the maintenance or acquisition of a thin body weren’t a part of it. And let’s define the word ‘culture.’ A culture is something so large that you can’t opt out of it entirely. Can you imagine going out and about in the world, just for one regular day, without hearing about calories or weight or whether food is good or evil? The truth is, most people cannot. We are inundated by it. But let’s be clear: dieting is an act of self-hatred. It is a manifestation of distress. And hatred will never be the path to love.”

[The outlandish and amazing Virgie Tovar, on diet culture, fat phobia, and self-love]

I actually re-wound that last part when it played; I liked it so much. I was in the middle of doing the dishes and I dried my hands on my jeans so I could write it down. Equally surprising: I’m not *that* embarrassed to tell you about it now. Probably because these things help.

Dieting is an act of self-hatred. It’s a manifestation of distress. And hatred will never be the path to love.

The rest of what she said rings true too, doesn’t it? The way each of us looks is such a small thing. It’s ONE piece of information, in the overall grand scheme of things. And really, truly, honestly — there are about 1,000 infinitely more interesting observations we might make.

It’s shocking to think how much time/thought/energy/attention I’ve given to obsessing over my body. All of a sudden, it’s: WHY, to what end. And for how much longer.

I know it’s a coping mechanism for me — a way to move through the world when things get dicey — but good grief. I need a better one. There has to be a better way.

I’m doing a good job navigating those waters and figuring out what that looks like. And if I can just set aside the times when it’s awful, just so impossibly hard, it’s actually mostly OK. It’s definitely doable. Even if my flower budget went careening out of control approximately twelve bouquets ago.

Caution to the wind, right? It’s a good thing.

“I like imagining your body as Saturn, my body ten thousand rings wrapped around you.” -Andrea Gibson

“Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

{PDX cherry blossoms and Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival via @jakeegbert, bleeding hearts via @pistilsnursery, PDX waterfront via @marshallpnw, Oregon coast via @andrewcoxmedia, Mt. Hood via @nicholas_steven_ — all on Instagram.}

 

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