Mind and Body: Incompatible?

April 2, 2009 at 5:00 pm (Life) (, , , )

I consider myself lucky to never had any major issues with my weight. I have what I fondly refer to as my father’s German farmer build. I am not tiny, my structure is not meant to be tiny. I had a tendency towards what Germans considered chubby when I was younger, but I was never aware of it and my parents never said a word about it. Even while going through puberty, a lot of my self-hatred was focused on myself, my personality, but never my weight. I was rational about that, or as rational as a young girl with severe clinical depression can be about such a matter.

Germany, being ass-backwards as it is in some regards, has probably engrained certain standards of beauty much more than the US has. They like skinny, they like the exaggeration of a small frame with a gigantic rack. It never bothered me as much as it should have. I felt slighted in other regards that girls received attention from men and I didn’t – were they smarter? Dumber? Was it because they tilted their head just so, or giggled in high pitches? Was it because of the low-cut tops they wore? Was it the make-up or the fact they generally had prettier faces? Never, ever the weight.

I think, over the years, my mother’s comments have gotten to me. She means well, but she has no idea what it’s like to be an unconventional shape that hasn’t been valued since the glamor of 1950s Hollywood brought the hourglass back into style. One day she would call me fat, the next she would say I am perfectly fine, another day she would say I was gorgeous, and then it was back to the disparaging remarks about my weight. Maybe it’s the fact that I lived with extremely image-obsessed girls or became more exposed the culture of skinny as I got older, or became more aware of it. But yesterday, when I was IMing Col, I found myself typing this:

“I need to lose weight.”

Not “I want to lose weight.” Not “I am doing this because I want to tone my body.” I expressed the fact I felt a compulsion to lose weight. The reason is my older sister’s upcoming wedding, which means a shitload of pictures will be taken. I despise pictures of myself because I look bloated, even though, when I look in the mirror, I don’t see how it happens. To make matters worse, my sister has always been incredibly obsessed with her weight because she has a habit of eating when she is upset. She was never fat, but she was almost overweight at one point because of said habit. Since then, she has put herself through grueling diet and exercise regimes. She is down to 130 lbs, extremely toned, and is 5’8” tall. She wears a size four. Her wedding dress is a size too small, meaning she is currently probably on a massive purge diet.

Back when I lived at home, she would often drop by and the most she would do would be nibble on fruit or cereal and complain about how fat she was whenever I was in the kitchen with her. I sincerely hope she never realized how that can dig because, by her definition, I must be obese. I rationally know I am not – I am 5’6” tall and somewhere between 140 – 150 lbs by guesstimate. It’s a big number at first, but I can easily explain it with the fact I carry a lot of that weight around my chest (which, according to sizing charts, would require me to wear a size 16) and my ass.

Like I said, I am not skinny. My body was, however, never designed to be skinny; nor was Shana’s. She’s longer, but she has a somewhat similar bone structure.

My current mindset where exercise is concerned is not healthy. I will not stop, though – my current excuse is that my voice teacher has recommended exercise and she has a point, if only because I am constanly anxious and on edge. Exercise will at least take that edge off, perhaps help my restless sleep a little. I have set myself no weight-loss goal because I am afraid of weighing myself (another sign that society is definitely getting to me). Numbers should remain numbers instead of defining who I am and how I see others.

We all know, though, that it’s easier said than done.

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