Saturday, December 29, 2012

I Apologize For Not Apologizing:

One of my yoga teachers recently published a nice piece about body and self-image. In it she attempts to address the kinds of random questions and unhelpful statements one encounters during the average extended relations holiday get-together where food and eating habits typically become a conversation piece, as well as unintentional verbal kindling for all manner of family judgement bonfires. In it she declares that this year she will not apologize for being thin, even though it makes others in her family feel uncomfortable about themselves.

I get it.

Except that now I'm on the other side of that argument. W-A-Y on the other side, to my way of thinking. Call me Ishmael Pudding Face.

I was extremely thin for all of my childhood, adolescence and most of my young adult life and I don't mean relatively thin when propped up next to Biggie Smalls or Snookie from Jersey Shore. I mean truly skinny. A stick figure youth who wore pantyhose under jeans in the hopes of filling them out and a college freshman with a bad Twinkie habit who never gained an ounce. That was then and this is now (Thank you, S.E. Hinton). I get where she's coming from and I sympathize why she feels the need to say what she's saying.

Somewhere along the way after three pregnancies, peri-menopause, a busted thyroid and a life-saving surgery to fix my palm-sized stomach ulcer, I lost my clavicle bones...or what my grandmother used to call "salt cellars", which are those triangular hollows between your neck and shoulder bones. Everything else followed. I can't decide if I have failed my body or my body has failed me. I take vitamins. I do some form of exercise almost every single day including at least three weekly installments of hot yoga and I try really hard to avoid my weekly nightly haj of wine and movie popcorn. However, my size in the last three years remains stubbornly unmoved. I have --according to many people whose sympathies I fail to earn--a normal sized body, but I'm unsure if that means normal in a "what's the big deal" kind of way or in the way that suggests I've gone the way of "Supersize Me" America. 

Either way, I hate me it and so do my pants.

True, I do not run long distances anymore. My hopes to complete a second marathon faded after I celebrated the 10th anniversary of having run the first one--and besides--it's too damn dark when I get home from work. The idea of Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred would only work if she drove her skinny ass to my house every day to scream at me. I have the LOSE IT app on my phone and it restricts me to 1100 calories a day which is only successful when I approach its use with religious zeal while bookending each day between two separate workout sessions and drinking several liters of water. Sure, I get results, but 1) I must be close to a bathroom at all times, 2) My day devolves into little more than working and then working out and 3) I miss chewing.

So how desperate am I these days? I called an acupuncturist yesterday in the hope that having a thousand tiny needles inserted directly into my face will somehow tease my metabolism out of its present coma and I can pass by a mirror without grimacing. Of course, there is probably no way to be this honest about my negative self-image without inviting the assumption that I feel this way about everyone else in my situation. I don't.  I am the supreme ruler of my own body image planet and the restrictions I make for myself should in no way be mistaken for how I think anyone else should live. It's all about me. 

My biggest issue here is with the kind of change--unlike getting older-- that I should be able to fix and can't. It's about wanting to regain the one another part of my past life that I always took for granted. And--okay, I'll admit it. It's about walking into a party or a staff meeting or even the grocery store and feeling like nothing worse than a gently used version of my old self rather than one french fry away from a being a cautionary tale. Is that too much to ask? Please say "no".