|I look at this little dude, and all I can see is bacon|
So Facebook thinks that I'm dieting.
If I just click on a link (and pay some money, no doubt), I can find out how to get rid of all my belly fat by just following one weird old diet tip. Alternatively, I could join Weight Watchers (another click) or get liposucked (a third).
Facebook can't even see me - Facebook has no idea what size I am - but somehow it knows I want to be thinner. Because the horrible truth is that I do want to be thinner. I don't even really know why, but it feels to me like life would be better if I was thinner. Curse you, Facebook, and your freaking omniscience.
And actually, I mostly am fine. I think I look fine. When I think about why I want to be thin, it's really got very little to do with how I look, and much more to do with how other people think of me. To be brutal, it's about power. Every pound a woman gains means that she loses a little respect from society, doesn't it? I like respect.
How did being thin get to be about power? I'm not really sure, but I do know that I'm not imagining it. I read a book last week where the heroine saw her old nemesis, Carly, and - shocker - in the ten years since the two women had last seen each other, Carly had gotten fat. Fat! And the heroine used to be really intimidated by Carly but now she doesn't have to feel intimidated by her anymore because Carly is fat! Oh the irony. Ha ha ha ha ha! Obviously, whatever the power dynamics were in the past, as of now Carly is the loser because Carly is fat.
And not at all unique. Things like this are everywhere. It's kind of accepted that women who are bigger are less, and that leaves us all chasing some kind of thinner, better version of ourselves, even when we really should know better. We've all got ten pounds that we want to lose, don't we? (Don't we?) I like to think that I'm reasonably level-headed, but I've been trying to lose ten pounds for approximately ever. And then when I stopped pushing our twins around in a giant stroller last year, I actually put on five, so now it's fifteen. I'm sort of constantly trying to lose fifteen pounds, in a low-level not-really-doing-anything-serious-about-it way. It feels reasonable to me from day to day, until I look at the pattern it creates in my life and realise that what I'm really doing - what so many of us are doing - looks a whole lot, from the outside, like chronic discontent, like chasing after the wind.
(Who is benefiting when I am chronically discontented with my body? I could blame the patriarchy or the diet industry or my husband and dissect what maybe they might get out of it but honestly, I don't think anybody at all benefits when I let things like this add a whole extra layer to my crazy).
One of the reasons I want to be thin, I guess - and one of the reasons we think it's okay to look down on people who aren't thin - is that thinness and self-control kind of look like the same thing. Bigger women must be greedy, or lazy, or something, right? They must be controlled by food, and who has any respect for someone who is controlled by food? I don't want people to look at me and assume that they see someone who lacks self-control. If I'm thin, I feel like I'm above reproach (and I know what I'm talking about: I was thin once; it was great). That's why I always want to lose that final ten pounds. Especially when that ten is really fifteen.
But honestly? Honestly, when I'm just eating food because I enjoy it, I'm not controlled by food at all. I'm just having a great time, because food is delicious and I get to eat it three time a day. Know when I'm controlled by food? When I'm on a diet. That's when I'm thinking about food all the time. That's when I'm planning and scheming and weighing and thinking and obsessing. That's when I can't think straight because I'm always wishing that I could find a good reason to eat some Haagen-Dazs and knowing that I never never can.
That's the crazy thing, here - slightly-squishy me looks like she is obsessed by food, but totally is not. Thin me, on the other hand, looks like a paragon of self-control but is actually thinking about food constantly. Those days when I'm really seriously trying to lose weight, that's when I'm controlled by food. (Food and, frankly, vanity. Not self-respect - vanity).
I choose contentment.
I choose not letting something as boring as fat control my mind and my thoughts.
I choose that. I really, really do.
Just as soon as I lose these last ten pounds.
(oh, and by the way - I finally got around to joining twitter, yikes. Welcome to the 21st century, Claudia. I put my new buttons on the side!)