I wish I could be brainwashed into full belief that what matters most is my inside Self; somehow undo the inculcation I have received from parents, society, and culture, that what I look like is so important. I want it bashed into my subconscious. I want to take it to heart. I want to believe it to the core of my being.
But I know better.
I know in this pornacracy, in this superficial Kardashianistic society, (geez, I detest even writing or mentioning that name!), in this money-matters-most-'Merikuh, that I am obviated unless I am young, thin, and attractive. (I have one out of three?) It drives me crazy and I can't stand it, but there I go struggling against a culture into which I do not fit, as usual. Instead of beating the same tone-deaf tempo on my Resistance Drum, what is the cure of which I can sing? Click "Read More" to the right
It's summer and so the panic rises with the temperature; I can't fit into my bikini.
What a superficial and unimportant worry in life. I guess I can be grateful that this is a huge concern for me, whereas last year I was worried about a job and a place to live! When I ponder those facts, I find gratitude pouring forth from my entire being. So I can't fit into my bikini, but I can walk without pain, sleep without pain, bend my knee fully, do yoga, run... I am no longer crippled by my knee injury! I also have a secure place at a school I love, a secure home, and financial security! I have friends who love me (and tell me this kind of silly shit about feeling insecure isjust that--silly shit!), a car that gets me around, plenty of food and clothes, health... the list goes on. I am confident in WHO I AM--I want that confidence to pour into HOW I LOOK!
I can see that I want to blame others for my own feelings of insecurity: this culture, the press, parenting, marketing, Cosmopolitan, patriarchal society addicted to porn... the bottom line is: I have to learn how to feel comfortable with/in my body and love my looks, no matter my size, fitness level, weight, stamina, or athleticism.
This is where I fail. Crippling injury last year magnified that failure.
I also acknowledge that I identify with the athletic aspect of myself; it's as much a part of who I am as my limbs, and that identity is a large part of my Ego. I don't say: "I run." I state: "I am a runner!" HUGE difference. Losing an Ego identity is traumatizing, I think as much as losing a limb. Losing the capability of my knee and the functions it provides was, quite literally, like becoming crippled--that's why I use that very specific verbiage! I identify as a runner, a cyclist, a climber, a yogi, as much as I identify with being intelligent, well-read, fiery, successful, adventurous... and more.
What do I do? What is the solution to overcoming this body-image insecurity and once again, fighting WHAT IS???
How can I embrace my body and go out amongst the crowds in a bikini, and feel good about myself, without worrying about what others think? How can I transfer the confidence I have in my intellect, my creative and professional abilities, and my other multifarious talents to the thoughts I hold of my own physical being???
But on the other hand, is there something actually wrong with feeling most comfortable in my body when my body is fit, strong, and athletic? This state coincides with the amount of exercise in which I engage, along with being directly commensurate to my state of health. I am healthiest when I am active and exercise almost daily. When I exercise daily, I am thin, fit, strong, muscular, toned, and feel great about my body. Even when I am not at my thinnest or strongest, I feel best when I exercise regularly! The correlation is clear. It is also clear that I beat myself up when my body is not in a state of health, strength, thinness, or wholeness.
The bottom line is identifying who I am; my worthiness and likability-- from other's standpoint--with my body shape and size. Then comes the caveat that I am also assuming I know what others think about me. These become the two germane points in this auto-didactic exercise:
a) I expect others to judge me as harshly as I judge myself, others judge me according to my physical appearance, and my physical appearance is not acceptable when I am overweight, and
b) I am in other people's business when I assume I know what they think. I also assume they think about me.
I have been inculcated to be concerned with what others think of me; I don't know if I can undo a lifetime of that training and reinforcement (our culture and my own thoughts being the perpetrators of said reinforcement), for I have tried all my adult life to accomplish the feat of being unconcerned about others' opinions of me. My task becomes, once again, sigh, to accept my body, my health, my athletic ability, where it is in the Present moment. "It hurts when I argue with reality." As I accept this body, perhaps I can identify less with it, and identify more with all the positive qualities of my Whole Being-- which number far greater than the simple single-digit of body appearance. I may lack the courage to achieve this, or rather, the courage to follow through despite disbelief. In all aspects of life, I am happier when I focus on the bright side, rather than the dark side. When I accept circumstances and go with the flow, life is easy regardless of outside events because I am managing my thoughts about them. Again, I must re-train my mind and cultivate my thoughts consciously, with purpose and effort, to swing toward positivity and light and ultimately, realize and own the divine perfection that I inherently am. I forget, when I am hard on myself, that I am so much more than this physical shell, the numbers in my bank account, the wandering adventures. I forget that where I am in this moment in time is a very small part of my overall life story, and that what I have --ever, at any point in time--is only Now.
Is it, then, a case of forgetting and re-training, or is it "society's fault"? Is the problem others' judgements of me, or is it that I judge myself? Is the problem that I think negatively of "culture" and myself, instead of focusing on positive attributes? Is it that I focus on future events instead of staying anchored in the present? Is it a combination of all these? And if so...
...how can I remain rooted in the solution?