All Grown, but Shrinking

I am poking and prodding around the edges of my new world, in wordpress. Thanks to Seth!! I am liberated from Friendster, where I started this blog years ago. I started it just to have something somewhere communicating that I am experiencing and thinking about life. It quickly became a step-by-step tale of heartbreak. Very cathartic. Now my heart is healed and happy, but I have another healing process I want to go through, and I think this might be the space.

Thinking about writing anything here about this…”thing”…terrifies the crap out of me and so I am pretty sure it is the right thing to do.

The thing: I. Want. To. Be. Healthier.

My forehead just broke out in a cold sweat, heart is pounding, hands are shaky. I have wanted this for such a long time, and tried to get there in so many ways, and failed on so many levels. And now I am 30, and it’s been 17 years of trying, my whole adult life. The only way of being an adult I know of, relative to my body, is letting my body be the front line of my emotional life. I can regularly find myself trying to change it, losing some weight and making changes, then giving up for some reason, then surrendering and accepting it, trying to be fat positive and love my curves, proudly boasting about my indulgent pleasurable life, then freaking out that I’m gonna die if I don’t change my habits, then wanting to change it all again.

These personal struggles with health and sustainability are mirrored by what I see happening in the world. We are unhealthy, we take up too much space, we overconsume, we try to be better, but we risk self-annihilation if we continue as we are.

Amidst this health/world view of chaos, I have had moments of alignment – where I was using my body in lovely ways, putting into it what it needed, having indulgences when those were needed but feeling really balanced, doing yoga, meditating, all of that. Those moments feel like windows of clarity in my past houses.

A good friend keeps telling me, “If something isn’t working, then there is a belief you need to change.”

I want to write those beliefs here, and then I want to apply my beliefs for the meta-universe to my inner world. I believe actions speak louder than words, and I believe in self-determination, and sustainability. I believe we must “transform ourselves to transform the world”.

And I believe the emotional journey of a life plays out in the body – the world body, the individual body.

I can look at my body, and my relationship with my body, as a story of trauma, hardship, celebration, love, and short-timers attitude.

In my teenage years my body was objectified and attacked, and my body became a place to survive inside of.

I spent my college years in a fairly large-scale denial that I had a body – sort of operating as a floating brain and heart. I set the patterns during this period of my life for working hard and playing hard and winning love with my wit and charm, willing people to experience me without seeing me. I wore baggy clothes, hair in a ponytail, a little bigger each year.

I spent my 20s using my body as a playground – not only did I have it, but it was the key to an Alice in Wonderland journey. Eat this I grow, eat this other thing I feel small, drink this I feel happy. Drink more. Smoke this and I’m a caterpillar with a pipe dream. I projected body confidence that was often skin deep, and I responded to whoever responded to me. Not aligned at all with my picky Virgo nature. I can look back on the experiences of my 20s as an ode to consumption, of people, places, pleasures. I don’t regret it, even if it clashes with my post-consumerist vision. It was a step in the healing process, to inhabit my body, learn what I liked and didn’t like. There are arenas in my life where radical love was strengthened and applied, but when it came to my physical body, I was so unhealthy.

Now I am 30. Diabetes and heart trouble are showing up like dark shadows on my family tree. I’ve been running hard, sleeping less, coping with little “manageable” vices – a whiskey here, a rolled cigarette there, a baguette with goat cheese and salami there – that don’t stay manageable in the long-run. I don’t feel healthy, even though I am relatively happy. My family and loved ones are asking me when something is gonna give. I am asking myself the same question.

So what are the beliefs I have to let go of, or acknowledge, to move forward?

1. That if I get smaller, I’ll be in danger. This may sound crazy, but there’s a certain safety in being seen as a big mama – politically, physically. There’s a certain amount of bullshit, fetishism, disrespect and other things, too. But I while I am a thick sister I have less eyes on me in a predatory way.

1a. Counterpoint – For better or worse, I’m a fine thick sister and still get a fair amount of attention. I can take self-defense classes that will leave me a lot safer than I am currently, where I couldn’t run away to escape a rabid dog. The bs, fetishes and other stuff is other people’s problem, the danger of not being healthy is much higher than the danger of imminent attack (this too is a political analysis – the unsustainable nature of our approach as a nation to consumption, greed, gluttony and short-term rewards is much more likely to destroy the planet than terrorists operating from fear.)

2. That I don’t have time to be healthy. If I’m working hard, I can’t have time to be working out, cooking, meditating, doing the things I know create health for me.

2a. Counterpoint: Working hard is not always working well. When I meditate, and work out, and cook for myself, my mind is clearer, I am more competent, and I actually have a purer sweeter gift of self to offer to my work.

3. What’s the point? Why deny myself the indulgent life of pleasures and vices I so enjoy – we all die anyway and at least this way I’ll have a great time.

3a. What do I really enjoy? I want to indulge in my loved ones, my little nephew. I love the pleasure I get from swimming, from the sun on my body, from skiing and shooting hoops and scuba diving and hiking and bowling. My current vices make it hard for me to enjoy all those activities, and shorten the amount of time I will get to enjoy this life.

4. I don’t like people telling me what to do, I already know. As soon as I say I’m heading towards healthy, other people start monitoring my behavior and I just want to be free to do whatever I want!!

4a. Ah, I can tell people it’s my own process and that I appreciate silent and/or positive support best of all. Freedom is wonderful, but I don’t live in a vacuum. The people who talk to me about my health are impacted by how well or not well I am, and would be much more devastated by health-induced tragedy than I would.

I’m sure there are more reasons, but those are the main four that pop up as soon as I let my inner eye turn towards true behavior change. So this is step 1, going public with the blocks, and the counterpoints. These, of course, are only words.

The first action I am going to take is to see how deep the rabbit hole is right now, and document my food and other consumption choices. Not for anyone reading this, but for myself. This won’t be all I write about here, but I commit to following this process here as I am able, in hopes that the chance someone else is reading will result in that silent positive support, or help someone else who is facing similar hurdles.

Ok so I am going to publish this in 1, 2, 3…