I have whined that much about weight matters in a while (I used to post about it quite often) and with a good reason: I’m forcing myself not to. I’m trying very hard not to think about weight and size and food. Only in the last few weeks have I succeeded in not tracking my food intake for a single day – not out of restrictiveness (because I sure haven’t been doing that), but more out of curiosity. At least that’s what I told myself.
But I think that I’ve broken that habit. Now I have to hide/sell/break my bathroom scale to be truly free. Or do I? I have no idea. Everything is so ingrained (still, despite my ‘HEALTH FIRST! WEIGHT DOESN’T MATTER!’ and ‘BMI IS BULLSHIT’ rants) that I’m really having trouble breaking the habit of weighing myself.
I am getting better, though. Truly. Except sometimes, my inner neurotic mess, the one I’ve been fighting since childhood admonishments not to eat too much and ‘end up like (my) mother’ (who was obese) spoils everything.
I succeeded in one (unrelated) quest yesterday, which was a holiday: To not leave my property. I also dressed in as little as was necessary (I live with my brother, so this wasn’t nothing – a tank and tiny shorts I have never dared wear in public – they were purchased for wearing under skirts) and thought I looked pretty good, actually. Then I puttered, napped, read, cleaned up the giant mess from Sunday’s barbecue*, drank the rest of the beer from said barbecue (there wasn’t very much), and was happy as a clam until I saw my neighbour in her yard. Then I panicked.
My neighbour is a nice woman, but between the wearing-very-little (for me), the fact that my yard had until recently looked like Gomorrah, and that she’s a bit…staid and milquetoast were definitely part of the problem, but a lot of it had to do with self- vs. everyone else’s perception of me. And that was in my backyard, where she could hardly see me drinking another Ex and reading about Scientology.
But seriously, who the fuck gives a shit what I do (or wear) in my backyard? Well, it turns out I do. But I don’t think she would have.
To give you a little bit of perspective on how fucked up my brain has been/still is, I didn’t wear tank tops in public from about age 13 to 33 (which is crazy, as it’s pretty much all I wear in summer now – with trousers or skirts or shorts, of course). The not-terribly-big-boobs and general pear-shapedness played into that, as well as strange prudishness when it came to bra straps, but it was largely that I felt too exposed, that I didn’t want people to look at me. Even though I didn’t give anyone else who (possibly) didn’t think their upper arms were up to snuff or that their exposed (not-very-big, in my case) cleavage was potentially dangerous while eating crumbly foods much thought at all.
I don’t swim very well, partly because I’m a sinker, not a floater, mostly because of body-image issues that prevented me getting a swimsuit in public. This despite being, back in the mid-90s, the go-to camp counsellor for one tearful, slightly chubby (in an about-to-have-a-pubescent-growth-spurt way) girl who didn’t want to get into the pool because she was ‘fat’. My pep talk for her, as much as myself, was to explain that everyone is a different shape and size, and to make sure she (I) had a look at the wide variety of people, from babies to old ladies, who were all enjoying swimming, not caring what they look like, just caring about having fun and getting some exercise
Obviously, my hypocrisy when it comes to body image is not a new thing. I don’t judge other people on how they look in bathing suits, but I don’t want to be seen in one myself. I got over this (a bit) last year when I went to a cottage with friends because, duh, they don’t care if I don’t look like I belong in Baywatch, have cellulite, am developing some worrying purple leg veins, etc.. And 99% of the general public wouldn’t give a shit either. No one really should. But I did yesterday afternoon.
Briefly, at least.
After confessing this idiocy to Richard, I realized how moronic and backward I was being (please note, he did not call me a moron, but he seemed confused by the situation). I snapped out of my stupor, got over myself, and went back to my slightly drunken, slovenly, not-actually underdressed ways and hung out on my own damned porch, eating chips and salsa, and really feeling quite daft; my neighbour can’t really see anything but my feet when I’m lounging there, anyway.
* I was expecting three people over, and got eight. RSVP, DAMMIT