The Weight of Weight
The blogging challenge is over. Now it’s up to me to keep going on my own. I’ve been working on a kind of schedule for this blog. I thought I’d deal with my spiritual challenges and discoveries on Tuesdays, my physical challenges and discoveries on Thursdays, and let stuff surprise us all on Saturdays.
I thought I’d start the process with a vulnerable blog. Let me set the stage:
My maternal grandmother had an issue with control. While she was in many ways, a truly amazing woman, and able to see the humour in many things, her number one ruling trait was that whatever other people thought of you was critically important. Primarily, this revolved around what you looked like. To give you an idea of how important this was, this woman wore a girdle through both of her pregnancies so she wouldn’t appear fat, and ended up giving birth to two full-term babies weighing in around the 2lb mark. I kid you not. Being overweight was a carnal sin. The other thing that made a difference, for some reason, was your hair. Little girls needed curls. Ringlets were the rage. No hair should ever be out of place. My grandmother was around when wigs were in fashion, and she had several different ones, but mostly she had a hairpiece sort of thing that was like a coiled bun that she pinned to her head almost every morning for as long as I remember. The only time she didn’t wear it was when she was wearing a hat.
My parents had three little girls – our brother showed up several years later – that were required to uphold the appearance standards that my grandmother had so judiciously and rigidly set. My older sister has hair. Lots and lots and lots of shiny chestnut strands that will obey her every whim. She was a baby model (seriously – my uncle was a photographer) and there are hundreds of photos of her in ringlets and curls, dressed in her Sunday best. My younger sister has that stunning orange-red hair. Lots of it and it’s naturally wavy. Gorgeous. Heck, even my brother – a 70’s rocker who played keyboard for Doug and the Slugs on their tours – was able to beautifully sport both the spandex and the shoulder-length, shiny, wavy chestnut locks.
I’m in the middle, and really, the only explanation I can give is that my older sister – one year and 10 days older than I am – simply exhausted the hair genes so that when I was conceived there were only leftovers. I have about 12 strands of fine hair that I try to work into something that looks slightly better than dandelion fluff. I have had two hair stylists ask me how long it’s been since I initially experienced hair loss…My hair also tangles like crazy. I remember many tearful hours sitting on the bathroom vanity while my mom worked out the tangles, often going through a whole bottle of Johnson’s “No More Tears” detangling solution, but trust me, there were tears. I ended up having to wear a hat to bed. The other interesting characteristic about my hair is that without half a bottle of hairspray curls only last about 35 seconds – the time it takes to get from the bathroom, where the masterpiece is created – to the car. My entire childhood was filled with my mother wringing her hands trying to get my hair to do something – anything – properly. Imagine the challenge of the 80’s when “big hair” was all the rage. It left a mark.
The second area – as already aluded to – was weight. Now as a baby I was so skinny my mother couldn’t keep a diaper on me. As a crawling toddler my diaper was usually at one end of the room and I would be found at the other. Even as a young girl getting a pair of pants to fit around my waist while still reaching to the top of my shoes was really only accomplished if my mother sewed the pants herself. Then puberty hit, and I’ve been waging the war of the pounds ever since. Breezing past a bakery shop window will add 3 lbs to my frame, while training for a marathon, walking upwards of 100km a week, will not enable me to shed an ounce. In my teen years considerable amounts of panicking ensued about my weight gain – even though at the time my 5’2″ frame was really only 125 lbs – and that started a fear cycle I’ve never been able to shift. Well, not yet.
As I’ve aged – and especially in the last few years – my weight has come on thick and fast. No amount of dieting, exercise, crying, or fits of rage have budged my circumference for more than a week or two (and yes, we’ve done the blood tests and all, but nothing shows up…) In the last year I’ve realized how much my hair and my weight affect everything I do. Sounds silly, but it’s true. I could rid the world of hunger and poverty, but if I’m not sporting a gorgeous hairstyle and a size five outfit with no straining seams, it is worthless in my eyes. Really? What is this crap I’m allowing myself to hold on to?!
Well, a turning point is coming. I’ve been following a very interesting health/weightloss/personal value course called “The #BEMORE No Diet” and yesterday’s activity was as follows:
I want you to find the part of your body that you’ve been judging the most and I want to encourage you to THANK your body for serving you so well. If it’s your hips, belly, chest, butt, height, hair, face…. I don’t care what it is. Right now, put your hands on that part of you and say these words out loud:
“_your body part _ thank you so much for serving me so well all of these years. Please forgive me for judging you and hating you.”
This is my new practice. Every day I’m going to say this over my hair and my less-appreciated-areas and bring healing and release.
Cuz at the end of the day, aren’t we MUCH MUCH more than what we look like?
You with me?
|Be A Star!
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