Blood & Guts & Bones
This post is terrifically self-indulgent but it's something I needed reminding of this week.
As women, we are socialised to believe that our weight says a lot about us. We're told our agency lies in how we look. We're told there is a negative correlation between our size and our currency. We're told that our weight determines not just our health and our attractiveness but our worth, too.
But really, in truth, all your weight measures is your relationship to gravity: that’s it.
And your weight should not be anything more than that. It should not be a source of self-worth or self-deprecation or happiness or hatred. Your weight says 'eff all about you. You are made of so much more than x number of pounds. Your body does not make up your life: your experiences do. Your memories do. Your hardships do. Your loved ones, your beliefs, your interests, your hobbies, your inside jokes, your signature carrot cake do. Your weight is really no measure of you.
Literally, of course, you’re made of blood n guts n bones, 206 bones to be precise (I know you come to this blog for its hashtag cutting-edge-scientific-breakthroughs). Your body is just the house you live in, you can dress it up and tidy and decorate it, but it doesn’t change you- just like if you move into a basement flat with low ceilings, no amount of Dulux paint in Magnolia will make it look like a mansion.
Now that I’ve stepped out of dieting, I kind of had to ask myself "Who am I if I’m not 'The One Friend Who’s Interested In Fitness and Health and Weight Loss But Also Unhealthily Obsessed With Food?". I've had to re-teach myself that for every bone, for every pound, for every inch, there’s something that should matter so much more. I kind of forgot that this week, so wrote a little to remind myself of what's important.
Consider this exercise to be a bit like the Homecoming scene in Mean Girls when Kady shares out the Prom Queen crown and allocates it to someone who makes up the high school experience. I'm breaking up my body into its 206 parts and exchanging the physical and the superficial for the emotional and the mental: the shit that really matters, the stuff that makes up me.
I reckon, for every one of the 206 bones that make me up, I am also:
4 parts: My dedication to the revival of the ice cream flavoured Chewit (RIP).
40 parts: My family. My parents. My siblings. The boyfriend I adore, who supports me in all my decisions, even the ones that involve me living 600 miles away from him and oblige him to make a monthly delivery of 1kg of peanut butter.
40 parts: My friends. The brilliant and expanding group of people that I call mine. The inside jokes. The shared interests. The shared understanding. The shared excitement. Holidays and day trips and secrets and support.
2 parts: The excruciating frequency with which I lose my keys. The most original and aggravating recent hiding place happened to be inside a bag of bread, an anecdote which I think sums me up more than any other: disorganised, forgetful, unshakeably committed to carbs.
3 parts: The ability to quote most Victoria Wood sketches on demand.
10 parts: This blog. This belief I have that dieting is harmful and toxic and a tool which ultimately exists to oppress women across the board.
3 parts: For each of the occasions I was sent home from Brownie Camp a day early for eating too much at the Pack Holiday party.
15 parts: Times when I’ve pushed myself in ways great and small. Exams, essays, opening up. Moving abroad. Moving abroad again.
5 parts: The amount I describe literally anything as ‘brill’.
20 parts: Stuff I find annoying about myself. How disorganised I am. How bad I am with replying to messages sometimes. How short my temper is sometimes. How terminally impatient I am. How lazy I am sometimes. How much I beat myself up sometimes…(META, EH?).
20 parts: Stuff I like about myself. I think I’m generally an OK person. I like to make people laugh. I think I’m a good listener. I make a really good banana bread.
10 parts: Blissful childhood memories. Summers spent in the back of my mum’s Volvo listening to Abbey Road and drinking Ribena on the way to Aldershot lido. Dressing up. Pick and mix. Barbies. The beach. Bedtime stories. Jam on toast at my grandparent’s house on winter mornings with Radio 4 playing in the background. Stick-on earrings. School summer dresses. Being silly.
10 parts: The tuff stuff. Anxiety. OCD. Divorce. Disordered eating. Being away from the people I love. I am hugely privileged, and intensely grateful for that, and the things I struggle with pale in comparison to those of many millions of others, but everyone has a difficult time sometimes.
4 parts: The time I won the Food Technology award at school without actually taking Food Technology.
20 parts: The lush stuff. Things I really bloody love: soul music, writing, jazz apples, a lie-in, a nice run, sitcoms, a good book, Christmas time, Come Dine with Me, fresh bread, a long walk, seeing the people I love happy.
You are more than the sum of your parts.
Do this exercise yourself and I hope you'll realise that your weight says nothing about you.
So have the cheeseburger.
Wear the shorts.
Eat, do, be what you want.