Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dear Skinny-Obsessed Me,

I know I've ignored you, wishing you'd eventually give up and leave. I've also blamed you and fought you, but today I want you to know, I finally understand.

I understand you grew up in the 80s when women were celebrated if they were skinny, tall and had legs for miles. Virginia Slims had the goal right in their name. Worse than that was hearing some of your favorite, most important people boil someone down to their weight. They judged it and insinuated things your little soul couldn't grasp, but you knew from their tone, it was bad. While you remember only a few of these comments, there were probably a hundred more you took to heart. 

All this created a web of beliefs that are amazingly strong. Fat people are out of control. They can't get their shit together. They're lazy. They've given up. They can't find happiness. They aren't attractive. They won't stay in love. They won't enjoy being respected by others. On the flip side, if you're skinny, the world is your oyster. All good things will come, including respect and belonging, admiration and love. 

I know you've seen exceptions - people who happen to be big living rich, happy lives. Over time, you've decided this is possible for some people, but you understand you're not one of them. You start in a deficit. You aren't on an equal playing field and for you, the only way to get there, is to be skinny. If you want a chance at love and a happy life, square one is being skinny. It's not life or death, but if it's happy life or hopeless life, the desperation feels about the same. 

So you hustle and try and feel guilty about unhealthy food choices and proud of healthy ones (when you know which are which). You feel good on days when you work out hard and bad on days when you don't or work out with less intensity. You feel angry when diet and exercise don't equal lost pounds and crazy when your weight goes up randomly. You feel disgusted when you see photographic evidence of the "extra." 

But then there are the wondrous days when the weight decides to come off. Seeing my smaller reflection in the mirror feels like you were handed a golden ticket. Today will be great, I think. I can hardly go wrong. After all, I'm so small. And you see the problem. There's no end to wanting to see a smaller reflection. You get it. That's dangerous. But it feels like heaven.

So recently, when I gave myself breaks from my healing diet, you hoped it would be okay. But it wasn't, was it? The weight came and you felt desperate. You panicked, thinking the disciplinarian needed to come back out to get us on track. I understand. You thought everything - literally everything hung in the balance. 

But it doesn't. I know why you thought that. I do. But...

Amazing, beautiful things happen in this world. Things beyond what we look like and it's what matters: love and wonder and life. All this greatness is happening and we are part of it simply because we were born. We can't demote ourselves and we can't disqualify ourselves no matter how much weight we gain. I am here and my whole purpose is to interact with the Divine and be part of all this greatness. 



So sweet little part of me, who is skinny-obsessed. I love you for trying to make me better and protect me from a terrible existence. But I want you to know we're going a different direction now. There will never again be a day, when we have no choice but to get the disciplinarian out or say mean things to our self or believe all the painful lies we've been told about what being fat means. There will never be a day when punishment by salad or boot camp will be the answer. We will walk in love and acceptance and let our body, our one precious body, know it's okay. 

We love it big.

We love it small.

We love it. 

How big will it get in the process? I don't know and it scares me too, but we are still going this way. If we find ourselves in a clearing that's skinny, but it's not love or acceptance, we will turn tale and run.

And we won't stop til we're home. 



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