The “Me Project,” When The Priority is Pretty

There are many areas to which I intend to apply change in myself, and I think they will all suck equally, but we have to start somewhere- so let’s begin with the physical stuff. (Ugggggh) My body is a temple. This temple.

A few things I want to get off my chest here (besides multiple pounds of boobs).

  • The body is the least important part of who we are, but it’s given the most attention, and is the most obvious representative of how we’re doing internally (I guess?), so I’m starting here.
  • I have all the resources available to anyone in the known world, so any barriers to health are…me.
  • I am a fairly average sized person. I am tall, white, able-bodied. Nothing about my physical self puts me at a disadvantage. My BMI is presently in the ‘overweight’ zone, but most of my life it’s been ‘normal.’ I am blessed with underlying health, and no known chronic physical conditions.
  • I am coming into this with a fairly high level of knowledge about fitness and nutrition, I just don’t use it.
  • I’m deliberately not going to name my weight or dimensions, not because I’m afraid to share them (I’m not), but because I don’t want any reader comparing themselves to me/mine. Also, please don’t argue with me about my findings about myself. I don’t need the polite tut-tut-no-you’re-fine that we’re trained to do. These are my truths about me.
  • I don’t have specific weight/timeframe goals, because this whole project is a work in progress. I don’t mean to have any measure of failure, I just want to feel better over the course of the next year.

First of all- since I’m laying everything out here, here is a naked photo of me to show you where I’m starting.

By the way, I showed my husband, Robb, that pic, and without flinching, he said, “You don’t have red hair.” So…here is where I’m starting.

I have let it all the way go in the past few years. I’m talking gaining a lot of weight, losing all of my strength and endurance, and not doing much maintenance or giving much thought to my long-term health. I just sort of puddled out with shitty food, sitting all the time, and drinking only coffee and wine. There are reasons. There are always reasons.

Part of it was deliberate. It felt like an act of rebellion to tell the world to fuck off and just get chubby, not worry about keeping things toit. And this might sound trite, but truly, in 2016, when the incels‘ dark lord was elected president, it felt safer to try and hide my woman body. The best way to be inconspicuous is in a fat suit, because in our culture, thinness means attraction and value and fatness means invisibility. Bogus, but true. A prosthetic fat suit is expensive and hot, so I built my own. 😉

I’ve also examined society’s expectations of women and found them…wanting. I think it’s egregiously unfair that we female human mammals are STILL judged by (in addition to how quiet and pleasant our voices are and how many sexual partners we’ve had) whether we have small, weak bodies, the right skin tone, cute clothes, “good” hair, wear makeup that looks both present and absent, the right sized curves in only the right places, smooth baby fetus skin, and not a hair south of our perfectly coifed eyebrows/lashes. (I’m reading Tolstoy’s “Anna Karenina” right now because I’m supposed to, and I can’t tell you how many references there are to the women characters’ tiny hands and feet, as evidence that they are desirable. Like, “Yay, she’s child-sized, perfect for Russian sexy romance!”)

So…over the past few years, I’ve made some progress on seeing myself in the way I think I should be seen. I’m more OK with taking up the space I do. I’m less inclined to hide or apologize for how I naturally look. I leave the house without makeup more often than not, I wear what’s comfortable and weather appropriate, I don’t feel as performative as I once did. Pretty is less my priority.

The other reason I’ve let my physical self fall into disrepair is because life is hard and busy and expensive. It’s difficult to prioritize my needs when so many other things need my resources. Exercising sort of sucks until you’re in a routine, which I haven’t had for some time. And as far as diet goes- yes, we eat almost entirely a plant-based diet, but guess what? Cake and french fries can easily be made of plants. Have I mentioned that we own a vegan ice cream business? Yeah. Planty, fatty, sugary goodness. Also, I garbage rat parent, meaning I eat while I cook, I eat while I make my kids’ lunches, I eat their constant left-overs, I eat when they worry me, when they annoy me, when they please me. I eat. Not out of hunger, but out of feelings and habit. And I’m not snacking on high quality snacks. Kids (even vegan kids) whine for junk food, so it’s around. I’m grabbing handfuls of carbs. Sometimes I’ll start My Fitness Pal app to track my intake throughout the day, and I do great for, like, the first 2/3 of the day, and then at 9pm, when I have to type in, “94 pretzels dipped in peanut butter while making dinner, which I then also ate,” I stop tracking.

So, I’ve made some headway in seeing myself as more than pretty/not pretty, and I’ve made my point that NO ONE CAN CONTROL THIS BODY BUT ME. I will continue to work toward that. The draw back to seeking freedom in not keeping up on fitness is that it’s also about my health. The added pounds and lack of musculature are hurting me- there’s strain on my back and hips, the lack of flexibility and strength in my core is all wearing on me. And, unfortunately, because the expectations of the world still effect me, not recognizing my changed body in the mirror has some psychological effects, as well. I find myself less attractive and sexy, which interferes with my confidence and sex life (more on this later).

So, I want to work on this temple. I want to feed it, hydrate it, rest it, strengthen it. Because I love it, not because I hate it. Because I’m worth it, and it’s a part of me.

You’re going to have to go to my Instagram account to see photos, because WordPress where I blog is failing me on the uploading picture front. That’s OK! Follow me there! I’ll post often!

And come back here for the words. Tomorrow’s words will be about:

When The Priority is Poison (Not the band)

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