“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt
I am having a tough week kids. I’m inclined to chalk this up in large part to hormones but the rest can be attributed to my general nature and ever present battle with my mind. Sometimes I even forget to be present in or fully enjoy a moment where I am happy because I will stop and realize this too, will end, and then I’m going to feel like shit again.
Great attitude, right?
I realize it’s shit but that in and of itself doesn’t make it go away. I have to work on changing my mindset and I have to work on it every day or else it quickly reverts back to negativity town. This week has been all about that. I was having such good success with staying on track and focused on my fitness goals and then something switched on Sunday afternoon, and it’s no coincidence I was making sugar cookies when this switch happened. First I just tried one, you know to make sure they were “okay” before I took them to our friend’s house.
Cut to last night where I baked for the third time this week on the premise of the kids needing something for their lunches. Never mind that the youngest played hockey at the rink directly across from a grocery store last night or that I work 2 minutes away from another grocery store and could have easily just picked up a box of granola bars at any time. Oh no, instead Monday night I made a chocolate chip square and last night it was brownies. I’ve also been binging on dry cereal because for some reason that is also like crack for me. Once I start I can’t stop.
So in the name of zero self control this week I talked myself into thinking it’s “stupid” to care so much what I weigh or look like anyway and that really I should just accept and love my body for what it is. Which I should but not under these circumstances. I currently feel like a bag of shit because I have ingested more sugar in the last five days than I did in the entire month of January and golly gee whiz, why am I so tired??
I am not stupid but somehow I find myself on this hamster wheel of drive, determination, motivation, consistency – only to end up caught on another wheel of binge eating, self loathing, fatigue, and bloat. It’s ugly but it’s real and I have a sneaking suspicion I am not the only woman, or person for that matter, who struggles with these sorts of things.
Where does comparison fit into all of this? Well, let me tell you. I compare myself to everyone, all of the time. I wonder how so and so is so thin but doesn’t have to workout and just naturally can control what she eats and/or seems to be able to eat whatever she wants. I lament how so and so has such a tiny waist and flat stomach and every t-shirt, tank top, and sweater looks great on her. I beat myself up for not being as committed to my meal plan as another ‘her’. My arms aren’t as defined, I don’t have abs…all of these things have a common theme: I’m not good enough.
I know this too will pass and I’ll become rational and reasonable again but I’ll also still agonize over what to wear to this night out or that and make sure that I hold my stomach in, stand up straight, and ensure all of my middle is ‘restrained’. I will make jokes at my own expense. Other women will scoff and tell me I’m not fat and I do truly know that I am not but knowing this and believing it seem to be two different matters.
What do I want then? To live a life that is more than meal plans. To not care about what my body looks like in comparison to my friends or even strangers. To be able to enjoy a night out without worrying about who’s thinking what about my body. For the record this applies to females only – we are harder on ourselves and each other than most men ever will be. Which reminds me – how many of you are married to Channing Tatum look alikes? Hmmm? Can I see a show of hands? That’s what I thought. Yet, so many of us aspire to look like Lady Gaga (I CANNOT EVEN COPE WITH ANYONE SAYING SHE LOOKED FAT – THAT’S CALLED SKIN PEOPLE – SHE’S GORGEOUS) or whatever actress, model, or whoever it is that we think we should look like and in part we want to look that way so we are more attractive to our spouses. Our spouses who are maybe a little soft around the middle, or a have a little bit less hair than they used to, or lined faces (which, can I just say, and it’s been said before but why does aging typically look so good on men? I’m over here smearing my face with any number of products every morning to cover up, enhance, accentuate, and all in all appear younger and more attractive, while a man can grow a little stubble and head out in a decent pair of jeans, t-shirt, and a ball cap and look damn good? What is that about?!) and yet here we are, loving them all the same because they are good people who treat us well, make us laugh, are smart, and will drop you off at the door in the winter and then go park the car so you don’t get cold.
How do I make this happen? Shit, I don’t know. Keep working on that inner monologue I guess. Keep listening to what I tell other people. Keep taking care of myself so that I do feel good. I’m also toying with the idea of staying off of the scale. At some point I’ll have to get on because I still have that ‘friendly’ bet with my friend’s spouse and weight was the absolute quantifier and nothing else.
In fact if you were my friend and you said any of the above to me, here’s what I’d say to you:
“You are awesome. You are strong. You’ve been exercising regularly for over 2 years now and are healthy. You are smart, you are funny (I don’t have any friends that aren’t both of these things because, no.), you are an amazing friend/mom/wife/person.” I might also ask them if being a size 6 or weighing what they did in high school would actually make their life better because if I think long and hard about it, it would be nice and maybe be more fun to shop (which I can’t really afford anyway), my life wouldn’t actually change if I weighed 130 lbs. At all. I’d still have the same job, live in the same house, drive the same car, have the same awesome friends, wonderful husband, and awesome kids. I’d also have to buy new bras and likely just completely write my boobs off all together…but that aside, my life would not change. My physical appearance doesn’t determine my worth as a person anymore than yours determines your worth. Oprah is one of the most influential women of all time and she has battled with weight her whole life but does anyone say: “Hey, look Oprah built another school for girls in Africa but who cares about that, she’s back on Weight Watchers and can still have bread!”
No. No one in their right mind says that. Just as no one thinks about you or me and how we’re pretty damn cool but how we’d be so much cooler if we could only just rock a crop top.
So, as I prepare to spin the wheel back in the other direction, I am going to do my best to remember all of these things, and the next time you look in the mirror and want to think something bad about yourself, or enjoy a piece of cake only to instantly regret it? I want you to ask yourself the following and I will too:
“Did you try your best to be a good person today?”
“Did eating that cake or does having those rolls make you any less smart, funny, or decent human being?”
“Does my size have any bearing whatsoever on what kind of person I am?”
If your answers aren’t ‘Yes, No, No’ then you need to go back and re-evaluate and maybe phone a friend. Also, in regards to number one? If you lost your shit on your kids because for the 75th day in a row they refused to eat their supper and then the minute they climbed into bed announced they are hungry and simply cannot sleep? Or – If you were driving and called someone a bleepity bleep bleep who probably bleeping bleeps every day and is a bleeping bleeper? You are still a good person because sometimes we lose our shit because we’re human and it’s not good to hold shit in anyway – trust me, you’ll get an obstruction and then shit gets real. Heh.
Peace. Love yourselves bitches, and I’ll try to do the same over here.