Friday, January 26, 2007

Friday Quote Day

You have to have a belly
to belly dance.
Thalia

I'm stealing today's quote from Kathleen, who wrote eloquently about body image on her blog yesterday.

It's not new to any of us who are weight-loss veterans that what looks "good" in our society wouldn't have been attractive in, say, Rubens' time. Peter Paul Rubens was an Italian Renaissance painter who lived and worked in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. He is known for his vast body of religious paintings, but his name also has given us the word 'Rubenesque,' which means "plump or fleshy and voluptuous" according to the American Heritage Dictionary. His depictions of women looked like … women, lumps, bumps, wrinkles, rolls, bulges, cellulite and all.

I would love to be able to accept my body as it is. I have a feeling that accepting it right now, as it is, might be the key to changing it. I've heard and read of a law of the universe which suggests if you give it up, you'll eventually get what you want. Meaning, give up the idea, the yearning, the neediness; learn to be okay with yourself and your life just the way it is, and your psyche will become open to change.

I've been able to apply it successfully in the area of unhealthy relationships. But it takes a lot of pain to get to the giving up part of the prescription. And it's not supposed to work if you have even a shred of desire. The acceptance part must be unconditional.

This relationship I have with my body is certainly comparable to some of the less successful personal relationships I've been able to endure and, finally, give up. This body, though, is here whether I want it or not; it's easier to walk away from a person than it is from, say, my thighs.

I might be too old to ever 'get it,' the acceptance that I am what I am, and it is what it is. I've had fleeting glimpses of it, but more often than not it's a constant, daily struggle.

I was a chubby child from the age of 10 or so. My high-school friends were all thinner and better dressed than I was. I gained weight rapidly with my first pregnancy and joined Weight Watchers – the first time – when I learned I was pregnant the second time. I was 21.

I've fought this battle for 35 years. It's never not there. Even 10 years ago – the last time I reached a normal, healthy weight – every day started on the scale to check the number. I spent as much time obsessing about how good I looked as I do now about how bad I look.

How sick is that?

My intent this morning was to write a funny little post called "Doofus: The Sequel," because I've been mixed up all week about what day it is and what training run I'm supposed to be doing. Today is the rest/cross-training day, not yesterday.

But since it's Friday Quote Day, and since Kathleen's words hit me right between the eyes, I guess this is what I was meant to think through today.

By no means have I gotten to that magical acceptance. But I'm also not finished.

Ninety-two days until race day.

6 comments:

M@rla said...

Lots to think about here. I am a big supporter of body acceptance and positive body image, etc. I think all of that was absolutely necessary for me to lose weight, paradoxically. I don't know about the giving up thing... there's definitely another school of thought which says that if you want something, you need to constantly yearn for it and work for it, never lose sight of the goal.

I'm not very mystical. My plan is to invent a time machine and hook up with Rubens. Problem solved.

Amy said...

you're always the first to leave me sweet comments! thanks so much.

dg said...

i completely relate to your struggles here, debsterooni!

when i was extremely overweight i could never come to an acceptance so much as a ceasefire. i realised that thinking all the dark and loathesome thoughts about myself was counterproductive, so i decided to stop and focus more on what i was *doing* as a opposed to what i looked like - the positive changes, like trying new exercises, being able to tie my shoelaces without getting puffed, etc.

then over time i could do more and more things and it started to spill over into my body image... i felt strong and capable and proud of my body, despite it always being bigger than everyone in my gym class.

it's been a very slow and ongoing process and i still have some dark days. but for the most part i genuinely accept my body in all my lumps and bumps, because i respect it for what it can do and how much it has proven its ability to change and become healthier :)

(sorry for the ramble. have a good weekend matey xxox)

Jack Sprat said...

Add me to the list of people for whom accepting my body for what it is (i.e. a gift from God) was the only way to move towards a healthy weight. I had to start LOVING my bigger self in order to let myself get a little smaller.

The scale is incapable of measuring the VALUE of your body.

-J

Lori said...

I really can't add anything to this except to say that you have so many good points to raise and think about. I know NOW it's easier to accept how I look but when I was heavier, I'm not so sure. But I still have days where I hate my neck, my teeth and I move on down the line like I have a checklist.

Thanks Debbi!

Kathleen Valentine said...

Belly dancing was the best thing I ever did for myself.I am not as heavy now as I was then but I still have a ways to go. I wish I was as accepting of myself now as I was then --- but then I was a lot younger, too.