It seems that when growing up we’re told a lot about binaries; good/bad, right/wrong, yes/no, positive/negative, but at some point we all realize that not only are there shades of gray but there are a ton. Like way more than fifty. And as you’re sifting through all those shades to figure out where you fit in another realization comes in, at least for me did, that fluidity is just as common. You’re not stuck in one spot once you pick it, you are allowed to grow and change and evolve and at the same time you’re allowed regress sometimes too. All of this can apply to so many areas of life, but the one that I’ve been focused on lately is in terms of my body.
Having lived nothing but a fat girl life I learned early on that I was either going to wallow and hate myself or accept and be comfortable in who I was outside of being a fat girl, so that something like weight didn’t define me. And so for as long as I can remember I’ve been comfortable with my body and the small portion of my overall make up it takes up. That doesn’t mean I didn’t, and still don’t, have days where I am uncomfortable in my skin and I feel gross and ugly, but that’s no different from the next person. We can’t always feel the same emotion, day in and day out never changing. I think we’d all go crazy if we did.
On days I look down and all I can see is s.t.o.m.a.c.h. or I grab jeans and my thighs have won this round because a hole now resides on the inside of the leg, I naturally get really frustrated. However, on days where I look in the mirror and a dress hits me in the right spots (especially without spanx!) or everything about me seems so on point, I feel on top of the world. For me there has never been a black and white when it comes to body image; I’ve never felt like I hit a rock bottom but I certainly don’t believe I ever have or ever will live in a head space of total positive thoughts. I float in the either, but the current keeps me mostly upstream.
That all being said as I age I am starting to understand better that my body is more than the number on the scale and how it correlates to my comfort or mood on a certain day. Maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t hurt to take slightly better care of it. Not that I’ve abused it but I could do better to watch what I put in it and make the effort to do some out side work on exercising instead of just relying on the stuff I do at work as “good enough”. Which means that while I’ve tried to talk a good game and get myself in a slightly healthier life for a few years now, I gotta buck up and put forth some actual effort.
It all sorta kick started (for the umpteenth time) when I ordered a shirt that I had seen on line not knowing it work out gear from a fitness fashion line. It was a tank top reading, Relentlessly Beautiful, and promoted as in collaboration with one of my favorite organizations, To Write Love On Her Arms, and that all the proceeds were going to them. I adored the message and love when I try to support TWLOHA whenever I can. So, a week or two later when it arrived it had a couple inserts with the shirt and that’s when I realized BIFF IT was a fitness brand, and I laughed. The irony of someone who did very, very, little working out had ordered gear designed specifically for it.
But then I did a little more research on how these companies and organizations got together and what they were wanting to do with this shirt and this campaign and was a little inspired. I am always here for celebration of beauty and the idea that it has no true definition because everyone is beautiful in their own way. It’s cheesy and cliched but doesn’t make it any less true and awesome. All these things reminded me I’ve been trying to work towards being better at living a slightly healthier life. I don’t exactly have a plan or a real end goal because this isn’t about losing weight or fitting into certain clothes or attaining an idea of beauty created by society, culture, media, etc. At this point I am just gathering small things; tips on how to eat better on a budget, how to fit in small exercises when you lead a busy life, apps that monitor stuff for me so that I become accustomed to living every day like that.
Does that mean I think the concept of good days/bad days is going to evaporate? Nah, those unfortunately are here to stay and in the end they make us better anyways. It creates a balance, keeps us humble and realistic, but doesn’t tell us that we can’t strive for more when we feel like it either.
And lately, I feel like it.