An Alternate Universe

Who likes science fiction?  I used to like reading Ray Bradbury, and I loved the first of C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy.  It taught me that there were possibly other ways of seeing God besides the pedantic ways I had grown up knowing Him.

If you don’t like science fiction, you will have to have a really good imagination to even conceive of what I am going to try to describe.  Because I can’t really truly conceive of a world like this myself.

What if, in our world, bumps and bubbles, and wrinkles and extra skin, and dare I say FAT  were thought to be desirable?  What happened that made our description of human beauty so narrowly defined?  After all, humans are the ones who worked very hard to create these breeds of dogs that are considered beautiful and desirable by many people.

Extra thin:

Extra wrinkled:

Extra fat:

More wrinkles:

And extra short legs–I mean, extra cute:

It is almost painful to read “weight loss blogs” any more.  Perfectly normal, beautiful, functional woman degrading themselves, spending endless hours obsessing over an impossible to achieve “standard of beauty,” spending what amounts to years of their lives being unhappy and depressed about themselves.  Because they are not a certain shape.  It is not because they aren’t whole and functional people.  Some of these women are wives and mothers (world’s most important job,) marathon runners, weight lifters, swimmers, and artists.  Unbelievable, remarkable women.

And before you think I am pointing the finger at other people, I’m talking to myself too.  I have spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about this the past few months.  Especially since I changed the header on my blog to be about “living a whole and healthy life,” instead of just being about “weight loss and life.”

I am NOT in weight loss mode right now.  Not even in the same country.  Yet, every single day I think about it a great deal.  I think about how I “should” be losing weight, or how I liked how I looked a few pounds ago.  And then I think about how I shouldn’t be thinking about that.

When I swim and even when I walk, I feel so good and strong (aside from the knee.)  I love how energetic and slim I feel (is that a feeling??)  I am happy with the way I spend my time right now.  I am putting more energy into my art (quilting,) and I am working on The Bridge, our child sponsorship program.  Alleviating hunger in the world, even in a small way, is so important to me (wrote about it here.)  I am happy with my daily schedule for the most part.  I am even happier with how I am keeping my house up.  So why would so much of my thought life be spent on this stupid weight issue?

I don’t have an answer for me or for you.  A couple of things that might work–the “acting as if” thing–in other words, I act as if I am okay with my current weight.  I wear shorts, even  in public, and my summer uniform has been a variety of sleeveless teeshirts.  The thought “I’m too fat to swim now” flits through my head quite often, but I load up the bag and head to the gym anyway.

Another thing that might help is the “what you say becomes your reality,” that I have read recently on someone’s blog.  In other words, I try not to use degrading words (even to myself) to describe my physical body.

People, we are more than physical beings.  No matter how you believe, you can’t change that.  We are more than body.  We have a spirit that is infinitely more valuable than the vessel that contains it. Thank goodness.

And one last note to “women of a certain age.”  Who came up with that term?  I love it!  Anyway, as we age, we are ALL going to retain weight around the middle.  We are.  We Are.  WE ARE.  I don’t know why.  When I get an audience with God and I have run out of the important questions, that is the first one I am going to ask.  I’ll report back to you.  In the meantime, will you try to make peace with that fact?  Please?  And yes.  I’m still working on that one myself.

(edited to add:  if you can’t relate to my doggie illustration, please continue on to the comments.  Karen’s description of a rhino on a treadmill is PRICELESS!)

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15 thoughts on “An Alternate Universe

  1. STANDING OVATION!!!!!!!!

    I once saw a cartoon that I ended up blogging about. It showed a cute little rhino running on a treadmill, a drop of sweat on his face, and he’s looking up hopefully at a poster of a sexy, curvy unicorn. It was just a cartoon but my heart broke for that little rhino because not only could he never be a unicorn…unicorns don’t even EXIST! It’s exactly the same when we strive to be like a photoshopped image of a supermodel…

    Anyway, this is such an excellent post and I applaud you for writing it.

  2. What a fantastic post. I agree with you, SO MUCH…most days, I’m good. Except for when those doubts creep in – but you are right, we (the royal) are not giving ourselves enough credit for all the wonderful things we do because we still *gasp* do not have the perfect body. I don’t know why we do this! You know Queen Sophie isn’t bemoaning her short legs like I do – she’s awesome and she knows it!

    Very thought-provoking – thank you for putting this out there!

    • LOL. I wasn’t thinking about you there, but me! I hope when people say that someone looks like their dog they aren’t looking at the length of Sophie’s and my legs!

  3. Even though I am not “functional” enough yet and still MUST lose more weight to get there, I can still agree totally with the spirit of what you are saying here. In fact, just last night, I was laying in bed and thinking of all the years… well, my whole life since age 10 (!), and how much was tainted by having a focus on weight loss. And thinking maybe I had it backwards. That if I had put my dreams and passions as Number One, and allowed the pursuit of a healthy body to be Number Two, like a computer program running in the background, that maybe I would have been so happy with pursuing Number One, that Number Two would have fallen in line…. just thinking out loud here. 🙂

    Oh, and just a couple of weeks ago I heard an MD interviewed by Jimmy Moore. He was explaining the biological “reason” for the female middle age spread. That as we age and lose natural production of estrogen, our body compensates and makes up the deficit by storing a little extra “padding” around the middle, which releases hormones. Sounded plausible to me… but you’re the nurse. Whatcha think??

    • LOL, I think that’s the explanation I’ve heard before too. Personally, I think God designed it because it was a very comforting shape for grandmas to have.

      Yes, I agree with your first paragraph too. I’m not saying losing weight wouldn’t benefit me health-wise. Its just that if I am not losing weight, am I supposed to be so burdened by that fact for so much of my daily life?

  4. Such good thoughts and oh, so true! Even being in a “good” place right now and comfortable with the way I look, I hesitated before putting a pic on my post today because even though it reflected a happy girl who’d just accomplished something of which to be proud, I felt the picture made me look washed and frumpy. But I got chided by a couple of true friends and when I went back and looked again, they are right. It’s a pic that reflects a happy and healthy woman. Who gives a rip if she has on ugly hiking shorts and no makeup!

  5. Bravo! I am in those wanting to lose weight modes, but actually fairly happy enough with where I am not trying overly hard. A strange place to be. I can get obsessive, though, if I am not careful.

    I think the media really has a lot to do with how we perceive ourselves. In times past, older people with lots of wrinkles were considered wise and revered. Then there were the more ‘ample’ women who were considered to be the most desirable for being fertile – or it means the family was wealthy enough (and therefore upper class) that a woman had enough to eat and so little labor that she could gain weight.

    Perception is a funny thing – and we allow some outside force to shape that for us.

  6. Awesome post, Debby! Even though I’m better about it than I was, I still spend too much time thinking about my squish belly. Or admiring my legs. 🙂 Either way, it’s still too much time focused on body parts instead of character or purpose.

  7. Beautifully written Debby! I want to lose 35 pounds – not to be a supermodel but so that I’ll be healthier and feel better. In the meantime I am working hard at treating myself with loving kindness: stopping the negative self talk, wearing clothing that fits properly and makes me feel good, and realizing that I have a lot to offer no matter what the scale says!.

    Please DO find out about the middle though. Mine drives me nuts, especially when I’m trying to buy slacks. Seems like a constant choice being having them fit comfortably around the waist or having them tight on the waist so they won’t look droopy from behind. Sigh.

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