Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Loser

I love nothing more than photographic evidence. I want to see the before pictures, the after pictures. I find random pictures of myself from two years ago, shoved in the back of desk drawers, and I think – wow, how could I not see that I was fat? How could I be in such denial? Or I come across pictures of me now on the digital camera, and when they flash up on the computer screen, I hold there, staring, intent, looking for proof. Thinking, ok, am I skinny now? Am I ok now?

I never know. I always need more incontrovertible proof. I need more pictures.

So they finally posted the pictures for the half marathon and of course I was so eager to see them. More evidence. Proof that I am not a fat, bloated loser.

The pictures are terrible. This has been verified by an independent witness. I’m not making this up in my deluded, body dysmorphic mind. The pictures are TERRIBLE. I look fat, bloated, puffy, red faced. Not at all like the ass kicking name taking runner I felt like that day.

But what if the pictures didn’t matter?

What if I said to myself…Who cares about these pictures? That’s not how you normally look, and they don’t change what you accomplished. They don’t make you fat, and they don’t make you thin. They don’t matter. Don’t let them change how you felt that day. What if I said, Self, you do kick ass, and you don’t give a shit about those crappy pictures!

Woah.

Think of all the other things I could stop caring about.

What if I stopped working on myself all the time? What if I said Who Cares to all this crap, and just let it be? What if I said, you know what? I’m going to feel shitty around my sister in laws this summer, and I’m never ever going to measure up to them, because I’m just not as pretty as they are, and I’m not as skinny as they are, and nothing I order from J Crew and nothing I don’t put in my mouth will ever change that fact. What if I just admitted that I am going to feel bad about myself around them, some of the time, because they are thinner than I am and they are prettier than I am, and I just…let it happen and moved on? What I gave myself permission to feel bad, and then I just…let it go? Instead of working on not feeling that way, what if just…gave up, and felt that way, and owned it, and moved on? And then I left and I took extra careful care of me for a few days, and then I didn’t feel that way anymore?

It’s liberating, this idea. To stop trying feel ok, when you’re probably going to end up feeling sort of bad, no matter what. To stop trying to win, to be the best, when you just aren’t. I mean, it’s someone else’s game and it’s a game I won’t win. Someone else made up the rules. I’m not the thinnest, I’m not the prettiest, and no matter how hard I try, I can't change that. I am not the winner of this contest, but I'm not gonna let anyone, including myself, make me feel bad about it anymore.


I am tired of losing. So I think I might just admit defeat, and stop playing the game.

2 comments:

PastaQueen said...

I feel torn about that attitude because sometimes it feels like giving up and being defeatist, but sometimes it seems like being happy with your place in the world and finding self-acceptance. Honestly, I think it's more the latter than the former. Probably because I've never been a competitive person and I know I'd never last long in any competitive job environment like sales or network television.

LME said...

Maybe it's really about giving up unrealistic expectations (like looking good in a photo that wasn't taken and touched up by a professional photographer), and wanting to be the reedy, tan, JCrew model when you don't come from reedy, but doing what you're doing, running because you love it and it makes you feel good and strong, and eating food that will let you do that.

It's so hard to find the right balance, like PastaQueen writes above.

It's one thing to accept yourself and learn to be ok with yourself right now (not thinking, well, if I lose x amount of weight, then I will like myself), and it's another to just say the hell with it all and stop eating foods that make you feel good and stop exercising, which makes you feel good and strong.