Tuesday, January 1, 2013

why i no longer resolve to lose weight





New Year's Resolutions have always been a sore spot for me.  It seems that every year I would resolve to floss my teeth, and it never happened.  I just got tired of lying to myself, so I gave up.  

My childhood memories of the approaching new year are littered with adult women eating "one last slice" of pumpkin pie, or that "one last log" of cookie dough with the knowledge that come January 1st they were hitting that gym and banishing that sugar and renewing that Weight Watchers membership.  

Commercials and advertisements flood December as I sing the words with my local congregation "peace on earth good will to men."

"Join Bally Total Fitness with our New Year Resolution discount and get the body you've always wanted!"  "Jenny Craig will help you meet this year's goals and get the body you've always wanted!"  "New Years discount on the Bowflex--call for yours today, and get the body you've always wanted!"  "Why not spice up this year with something new?  Visit our website to check out great deals on cosmetic surgery and get the body you've always wanted!"

The body I've always wanted.  Always.  Since the dawn of time.  Before I wanted survival, or milk, or warmth, or friends, I wanted to look smokin' hot.  

You can see her, can't you?  

I'll just copy and paste her body parts onto mine.  Her washboard abs over my strong but soft stomach.  Her clear skin sewn over my own, blemished.  Her large and perfect breasts.  Her big doe eyes and full soft lips.  Her shiny, voluminous, tame hair.  Her tight butt and tight face.  

You resent her and you envy her.  There is, of course, no point in doing this because she doesn't actually exist.  But it doesn't matter.  You will resent and envy what you see of her in other women.  So often we piece our ideal selves together--at perfection we are not an entire, whole, complete woman, but rather parts.  I'll take her lips.  And her shoulders.  But she can keep her thighs.  Give me HER thighs instead.  But not her waist.  I'll take HER waist.  And her hair.  But not her smile.  

From Kate Savage's recent essay on this blog, "A Victorian lady couldn't show her legs: a modern woman an only show legs that have been lasered to have all hair and veins removed.  Surrounded by silicon sacks, a carbon-based breast isn't worth the adspace...Maybe the best way to finally outlaw real, human, sexual bodies is to replace them with purified simulations.  We've got our own heavy paper to past over the indecent materiality of flesh: only ours are printed with porn.  Behind that heavy paper, the punishment and shaming of women's body--of our breasts, our thighs, our asses--hasn't let up, in all these centuries, for a second."

But you still want her breasts, her thighs, and her ass.  And this is your year to get them.  2013: Year Of The Rockin' Bod!

And if you purchase OUR products and pills and programs and plans at these REASONABLE prices, 2013 WILL be your year.  You will arrive.  

Wake up.  No one arrives.  Ever.  Look around.  We've been had.  

Let me repeat that.  No one arrives.  The diet/fitness/makeup/fashion industries make BILLIONS of dollars each year fueled by our resolutions get the hell out of our own bodies.  Our insecurities and self-loathing builds those empires.  Marketing is clever.  So clever that most of us don't even realize what has happened until we find ourselves at Weight Watchers in Februrary having lost 20 pounds and wondering why we're still so, so unhappy.  We expected the sorrow of the world to recede as our bodies did.  

Don't you see it?  The world needs you.  And the world needs you HERE.  All of you.  Ready to fight the GOOD fights.

So I stopped.  I'm stopping.  I am no longer making promises to eat less and exercise more.  That is terrifying for some to hear.  Lest you imagine me with a bucket of KFC on the couch all of 2013 you need to understand that I'm not giving up on my body.  I'm giving love to my body.  I'm giving gratitude for my body.  I love being healthy!  I love being able to hike mountains in beautiful places and run long races.  I love being able to buck hay bales and build fences.  I love being able to hug friends and talk late into the night.  I went running this morning and will most likely run tomorrow morning, but this is nothing new for 2013.  I've been living that way for years.  I will eat a lot of fruits and vegetables today and most likely chocolate.  It has been that way for years and will continue to be that way.  I will continue to nourish and learn how to nourish this beautiful made-in-the-image-of-Deity gift.  In 2013 I will, in many ways, be the same woman I've always been.  I will find small changes daily to make in all aspects of my life and will strive for sustainability.  I will try to prioritize and remember that health (physical, emotional, spiritual, mental) is more important than numbers, and that forgiveness and empathy are more essential to exalting relationships than my dress size.  

Step off the "capitalist treadmill," my sisters.  Aren't you tired?  Let's waste and wear out our lives in a more noble cause.  Don't give up.  Give in to something better in yourself.  You're so good


Happy 2013, everyone.


 "I am stepping off the capitalist treadmill. I am going to take a deep breath and find a way to survive not being flat or perfect. I am inviting you to join me, to stop trying to be anything, anyone other than who you are. I was moved by women in Africa who lived close to the earth and didn’t understand what it meant to not love their body. I was lifted by older women in India who celebrated their roundness. I was inspired by Marion Woodman, a great Jungian analyst, who gave me confidence to trust what I know. She has said that 'instead of transcending ourselves, we must move into ourselves.' Tell the image makers and magazine sellers and the plastic surgeons that you are not afraid. That what you fear the most is the death of imagination and originality and metaphor and passion. Then be bold and LOVE YOUR BODY. STOP FIXING IT. It was never broken."

--Eve Ensler

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