I find myself a little blue today.
It's not because we didn't have a nice day yesterday. In fact, we had a lovely evening, though I managed to forget to take a picture of the new blouse. Dinner was delicious - the best corned beef I've ever tried. (Yes, I can eat corned beef if I choose to. I can eat anything I choose to... it's just that I choose to eat it in moderation.) Our friends' home, which we've never visited before, is stylish and right up our alley, with the most beautiful yard.
Last year, when Tom and I were frequenting estate sales, we fell in love with a house. Actually, not the house at all. The yard. We both keep thinking back to it, and now we know what we're looking for once we're in the market. But we're not in the market now. We're in a condo, and we're not in a position to move in the nearfuture. All we can do is keep thinking of that house, and keep moving forward to develop our writing career. And not be blue about how we can't host lovely parties in a yard. We can host lovely parties in a small combination kitchen/dining room/living room. Sigh.
Speaking of writing, we had an excellent brainstorm yesterday, which felt good. I also shared the plot of the Modern Family spec script we're currently finishing, with a friend who is a fan of the show. I think our friend liked our ideas, and we're going to share the script with him once our draft is finished. We have one more act, and editing, and then we'll be done. By the way, are there any other Modern Family fans out there? Just curious.
One other reason I might be a tad blue is because I did something I knew I shouldn't. No, it wasn't food or exercise related. It wasn't even related to my to-do list. I read some comments on a Fat Acceptance blog. I knew I shouldn't have. But I did.
For those of you outside of the world of body politics, Fat Acceptance (FA) is a movement which promotes the rights of those who are overweight. There was a time when I was somewhat active in the movement, and to be clear, I still support it. People should have equal rights, regardless of size, race, creed, or orientation. People should have the right to eat what they want to eat, to be active as much as they want to be active. And people should not be so quick to assume someone who is overweight doesn't eat well, doesn't exercise, and doesn't feel ashamed of herself.
I remember a previous time in my life, when I would feel sad after reading comments on an FA blog because of the trolls who would pop in to tell us how disgusting we all were. And those trolls are still at it, for sure, but that wasn't why I was sad. Yesterday, I read some FA supporters making negative comments about weight loss, to a post about Weight Watchers, Jennifer Hudson, and the use of the song "Feeling Good."
The post in question was written by a very, very smart woman named Lesley Kinzel, who I knew casually when I was a member of the Fatshionista community - a body-positive group that used fashion as a tool for politics. The post is thoughtful, and places the song in context. I agree that without the context, it loses its power. What I disagree with is equating weight loss with assimilation. I disagree with some of the commenters, who say things like "dieting is usually about making a concession to oppression, not overcoming it."
Do I think that some people lose weight because they are made to feel ashamed, and want to fit in? Certainly. Do I think that many people diet to punish themselves? Yes. And I really, really wish I could help them.
But here's the thing: There are also people who have been overweight or obese, who have lost weight, who aren't punishing themselves. Who aren't assimilating. And I am one of them.
It's my opinion that to use language about weight loss with a negative slant ("assimilation," "opression," etc) is to disregard the people who have suffered from disordered eating, from health problems, from behavioral issues - who are working to correct them. And disregarding them is just as dangerous as disregarding that there are fat people who are perfectly happy, comfortable, and healthy. I was one of those people. And then I wasn't.
I had health problems. I realized behavioral issues. And then I watched my very sick mother struggle during her last years, and struggle worse than she would have if she hadn't already been obese before she became got sick. Would she have still died if she wasn't obese? Quite probably. But would the weight-related pain, and the physical suffering she experienced, have happened if she had addressed her behavioral issues and disordered eating? Quite probably.
Here's the thing. I'm going to die someday. You are, too. We all are. And I could have kept on with the way I was living before, and possibly met significant struggle if chronic or terminal illness befell me. Or I could confront my behavioral demons head-on, so that when illness finally finds its way to my body, I'm as prepared as possible to fight it. I watched what 500 pounds did to my mother. I watched what 500 pounds meant for my father, who had to take care of her. I do not want that for Tom. I do not want that for me. And unless I changed my habits, like I did this year, I was on that path.
So I changed my habits. And I exercise every day. And I limit my calories. But I never feel hungry. I eat wholesome, healthy, fresh food - prepared in thoughtful and delicious ways. I don't feel punished, I feel spoiled.
For me, it isn't assimilation. It's not even life extension, because who knows how long we'll live anyway? It's suffering prevention. It's behavioral healing. It's self-love.
I'll crib from Joni Mitchell and say that I've looked at body politics from both sides now. I really don't know body politics at all.