This winter, I gained some weight.
I can't tell you how difficult that sentence was to write. But it's true. Last year, I lost a bunch of weight, and this year I have put it alllll back on. Plus some. And there are a lot of reasons for that. One of the main ones is that this winter was really, really really hard. My mental and my physical health suffered. I wasn't able to care for myself the way I would have liked, and honestly, most of my energy was spent just getting us all through. It's not an exaggeration when I say that I needed to focus my energy on just staying alive.
And for months now, I have been hating myself for it. Just hating myself. Feeling disgusted with my body, feeling like I have failed, like I am worthless and unattractive and just plain ugly.
And you know what? I have been ugly. It's ugly to treat anyone, especially myself, that way. My inner dialogue has been comprised almost entirely of things I would never, in a million years, say or think about another person. Ugly.
And I am done. Just done. As a feminist, I'm frankly embarrassed by how much I've let my body issues determine my self-worth. And as a human, I am exhausted and demoralized from living this way. In what other setting would it be okay to hate something until it's perfect?
I am initiating peace talks with my own body.
I am tired of being at war with myself, of fighting and hating and criticizing myself. I am working toward accepting myself, even loving myself, as I am. Not some possible future self, but my present, imperfect, fat self.
And it's hard. It's really hard not to slip back into those habits of self-loathing. But I am working every day on it. And, in the words of the inimitable Fred Rogers, "Love isn't a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now." And striving to accept myself is where I'm at right now.
I'll leave you with two quotes from Eat Pray Love, which I have been re-reading again. This is the passage in the book that most speaks to me, that I probably need to read and re-read weekly, at least.
"You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That's the only thing you should be trying to control."
"I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore..... I pictured the harbor of my mind - a little beat-up, perhaps, a little storm-worn, but well situated and with a nice depth. The harbor of my mind is an open bay, the only access to the island of my Self...You may not come here anymore with your hard and abusive thoughts, with your plague ships of thoughts, with your warships of thoughts - all these will be turned away. Likewise, any thoughts that are filled with angry or starving exiles, with malcontents and pamphleteers, mutineers and violent assassins, desperate prostitutes, pumps, and seditious stowaways - you may not come here anymore, either. Cannibalistic thoughts, for obvious reasons, will no longer be received. Even missionaries will be screened carefully, for sincerity. This is a peaceful harbor, the entryway to a fine and proud island that is only now beginning to cultivate tranquility. If You can abide by these new laws, my dear thoughts, then you are welcome in my mind - otherwise, I shall turn you all back toward the sea from whence you came.
This is my mission, and it will never end."