You’ve seen her before, I call her Marilyn of Willendorf, which may be too obscure, but you can do a little Google searching if you’re curious, and on a bad day, this is how I see my body. Though I do have arms, hands, and feet… This is the second post about my body, and I promise/threaten, not the last. I’ve got issues! But then, who doesn’t? I read a piece this week in Salon about a nine year old with severe anorexia, it was heartbreaking.
Last week I went to New York city with my friend Char, and I wrote about the trip. According to Char, we walked six miles, which I kind of doubt, but OK, we walked a lot. I was wearing some very comfortable sandals that I’ve had for a few years. I wear them all the time and don’t even think about them, but last week I got home and had a blister on the bottom of my foot. It had been bothering me for at least the second half of the day, so I wasn’t surprised to see it when I took off my shoes. What did surprise me was how small it was. It was the size of a dime.
It is amazing how such small things can feel so big. We feel these things like they are gigantic. Have you ever gotten a canker sore in your mouth, and looked to see it was the size of a pin head, though it felt like the size of a walnut! What I want to know (and I apologize for the extra long warm-up) is how can I feel that blister, bug bite, canker sore, or pimple on my chin so acutely, yet I can gain 2 or more pounds without noticing! Now I am not saying I wouldn’t notice if I gained five pounds, and I understand that if you weigh 97 pounds two pounds is a much greater percent of your entire body weight than it is of mine, but still, that blister…
I try not to weigh myself too often; it just drives me crazy, when I do. I am rarely surprised by what the scale says, and generally, know if I’ve added or lost a few pounds, but it doesn’t really bother me (at least physically) the way that little blister did. It doesn’t hurt, it doesn’t annoy me or make me spend the next three days wearing only my soft flip-flops everywhere, and it also doesn’t catapult me into action, though maybe it should.
Psychologically is another story. That blister doesn’t affect my self-esteem, or how I experience my physical self, it doesn’t make me think I better blow dry my hair and wear makeup and a loose top. It doesn’t make me engage in my not so secret vice of self-loathing; it doesn’t cause me shame. This is why I avoid the scale. If things look good i.e. I weigh less than I did last time I weighed myself I feel ecstatic, for a moment, but it doesn’t take me long to revert to despair if I think yeah, I lost five pounds, only seventy to go. If I weigh more, it’s an express train to despair, so I skip the drama and the blow dryer.
That scale is way bigger than any blister, and it has way too much power over my happiness. Is it irresponsible for me to ignore it completely? I need to at least check in from time to time. Or do I? What would happen if I pushed that damn thing all the way under my dresser, instead of having it where I can pull it out with my foot? Years ago when I was a new leader of a group of people I talked to them about making a change in how we (as a group) did something specific, and there was some serious freaking out. When did I ask why the response I got was “All hell could break loose”, huh? Well we made that change anyway, and in fact not only didn’t all hell break loose, but there wasn’t any negative outcome at all.
Is there a lesson here? I believe there may be. I think changing what I have spent my life doing has been and continues to be a good idea. I always dreamed about writing, and finally, I am doing it, and I think it’s going pretty well. I constantly worried and felt ashamed about everything I ate that wasn’t in the lettuce family, and I have freed myself from that. All hell has not broken loose yet, and frankly, I don’t think that it’s likely to. So tonight, before I go to sleep I will shove that scale where I can’t reach it unless I lie on the floor. I will set myself free from yet another implement of self-loathing!