Thursday, November 3, 2011

Even the surefooted stumble once in a while

I try to be a confident person when it comes to my belief in Health at Every Size.  I have taken a long time to get to this point, and generally I believe that I have built a very solid foundation that I can use to help change the world (even if only a little at a time).  But every day is still a struggle in some ways, a fight against old habits, old thoughts, and the pressure from society in general to fall into line with the generally accepted way of looking at weight.

When my knees and ankles hurt, when I find myself getting tired, I have to really work not to fall back into the old ways of thinking.  I'm still working on that part of things, you see.  I KNOW with my head that it isn't my weight that is the problem, it is my health, and that they are two different things.  I KNOW with my head that I need to find some way of moving in order to strengthen the muscles and framework that holds them.  If I end up losing weight because of that movement, well, then I will love the version of me that exists in that moment as much as I love the version of me that exists right now.

But in the back of my head, that insidious little whisper still hides in its dark corner, coming out at irregular intervals.  It mutters to me that I hurt because I'm fat, not because my joints are weak and arthritis is slowly eating away at my system.  It tries to brush aside the knowledge that I likely would have arthritis even if I were in the ideal portion of the BMI range, and scoffs quietly, stating that the reason I hurt is that I'm fat and lazy and have no will power.

I fight that dark little whisper more often than I should have to, more often than ANYONE should have to fight.  When I think of it, I think of the scene in "The Ten Commandments" when the Angel of Death is coming to take the eldest child of every house except for the ones with the marks on the doors.  That fog, twisting and squirming its way through the city, looking alive and sinister as it moves, and the sense of dread that accompanies it.  That is what the dark little whisper in my mind is like.  It slips through the tiniest crack, oozes over the crannies of my mind, finding weaknesses and using them to gain entry into my thoughts. 

I know that this blog generally focuses on the positive.  I like to urge others to join myself and those fighting to get our voices heard against the overwhelming static being sent out by The Weight Loss Industry and their paid researchers.  So right now, today's entry may seem like a black spot of negativity in the midst of the bright positivity that I try to normally promote, but isn't.

EVERYONE who is fighting the battle of learning to love their bodies goes through this.  EVERYONE.  It may take different forms, you may find yourself saying things differently than I do, or you may picture your dark little voice differently, but I can tell you that the voice is there for everyone.  I hope that it can be vanquished forever, and that spot of darkness can be banished by the light eventually, but I will be honest and tell you that I think it will remain there for my whole life, no matter how hidden it remains. 

It is my hope to be part of a change, a change that means future generations of people grow up without ever hearing a dark whisper like mine.  I write these blog entries and speak up about H@ES and the mindset that goes with it so that children have a chance to live their lives without ever fighting the battle against their own head, so that they don't have to struggle for over forty years just to learn to love themselves.  No one should hate themselves for that long, and the companies who encourage that self-hatred just so that they can make a profit should be ashamed of themselves.

So yes, my children, I have my weak moments.  I have times when I wonder what life would have been like if I had been slender instead of fat.  I cry now and then, because for every two steps that we take forward in learning to appreciate people for themselves, fully and completely, rather than trying to change them to fit some kind of mythical ideal, we take one step backwards by allowing The Weight Loss Industry to dictate our political policies, our health system, and our minds.  I live with the dichotomy of learning to love myself while remembering how much I have hated myself.  I live with the hope that I will see the first generation to grow up without that self-hatred, and I live with the fear that it will never happen in my lifetime.

Even the surefooted stumble once in a while, and this is how I stumble.  All that I can do when I take that fall, though, is to get back up and brush myself off then keep moving forward.  It would be easier to just stay there, to give up and give in, to just say, "You're right.  I'm fat because I'm weak-willed and worthless.  Do with me as you will.  Starve me, shame me, browbeat me.  I give up." but I can't.  I just can't.  I am NOT weak-willed, I am NOT worthless.  I will climb to my feet, rise onto my aching, arthritic legs and take the next step forward.  I do it for myself, because I'm worth it, and I do it for those to come, because they are worth it too. 

Even if you stumble, get up again.  Continue to fight against anyone or anything who tries to tell you that you aren't worth it.  Even if that person is yourself.  You are worth it.  We are all worth it.

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