I’ve tried a lot of things to lose weight over the years.
Some of them were healthy. (Eat only organic.)
Some of them were not healthy. (Purge whatever it is that you eat.)
Some of them were less-restrictive. (Eat whatever you want as long as you want it.)
Some were the definition of restrictive. (Fast.)
Really the only thing they all have in common is that they failed.
And that they were all rooted in shame.
Somewhere along the way I picked up the idea that any amount of fat on a person’s body is a moral failing. Because I had moral failings hanging from my every limb and nestled deep within me, the only emotion available to me was shame. And the only way to rectify the emotional pain that idea triggered was to attack that shame. And by extension, attack my body.
I’m a writer. I love to write. And if I’m honest, one of the reasons I love to write so much is because it allows me to be seen without ever having anyone actually have to see me. I let the internal me shine while forcing the shameful exterior away behind the computer monitor.
In some ways it has worked well for me. It has allowed me to grow mentally even as I allow myself to suffer physically.
But a strange thing has happened in the last week or so. I’ve been struggling with my emotions a bit, and all I have wanted to do is go up into my bedroom and hide under the covers. It got to the point where one night, I went to bed early, giddy to be able to experience an extra two hours with my body literally hidden away from the world. My bed felt like the ultimate answer.
But, of course, it’s not.
I think this is something that many of us struggle with – our bodies I mean. We tend to either become obsessed with them or we tend to distance ourselves from them. Or we do both.
I’m starting to realize that perhaps this isn’t the best approach. Perhaps we are doing ourselves a disservice by waging war on the very vehicle that allows us to enter into the world. Perhaps it’s not separation we should strive for but rather unity.
We are embodied souls. To take away one part of that equation is to disregard its truth.
So my challenge to myself this week is to try to remember that my body is a part of me, and if I want to treat myself with respect, I have to treat my body with respect as well. It’s not good enough to just read good books and nourish good friendships and travel well our chosen path. We also have to take care of our bodies if we want our minds to flourish.
Our bodies are a part of us. That sentence is so simple and evidently true that it is almost laughable. And yet… I’m not sure if I still believe it.
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