Indeed, if guilt made you thin(ner); then the world of guilt-ridden diet-crazed women (and those fewer but likely no-less crazed men) who spend hours each day filled with gut-wrenching disgust at their own bodies’ shape, size, non-ideal reality and guilt at how they must somehow, despite all the evidence to the contrary, still be Doing Something Wrong (Been There, Wore Out the T-shirt) would already be far below those head-shakingly mis-guided BMI measures for “Good Health Weights.”
I spent close to two decades guilty every day for the ways in which my body, my outer shell, did not conform to perceived ideals. Not once did this guilt (even combined with those age-old standbys of Dedicated Dieting (uh…Lifestyle Changes?) and Exercise) make me permanently smaller or bring me any closer to some insane yet constantly perpetuated “Body (or Health) Ideal”. All those wasted days that I avoided dancing or eating in public or allowing myself a Dainty Little Bite of confidence or self-assurance, or just plain old PLEASURE in life’s bounty, and still I remain(ed) fat. What a waste indeed: of what could have been the potential for so much more enjoyment and so much LESS self-hatred.
And yet, despite the influx of those who would seek new ways to induce even MORE guilt in a population already convinced that it can never do right, fat persists. Fat people exist, and many still continue to feel guilty that somehow they have not manged to become thin(ner). And the guilty continue to deprive themselves of any possible joy; feeling they do not deserve any bit of pleasure in this life until they can somehow measure up (or down?) to impossible ideals. My advice? Keep the weight/shape/size/imperfections imagined or real; lose the guilt. And start living.
A few weekends ago I performed (belly-dance) with a handful of fantastic
women at a baby-shower. We all danced, sweated (it was about 90 degrees or so in the upstairs of that church) and laughed together. All shapes, all sizes. And we had fun. (Well I can’t COMPLETELY vouch for the others but I had a blast despite the heat and everyone was smiling and seemed to be enjoying themselves from what they said and did…pretty good evidence as far as I’m concerned).
So while I’m taking a day or so of a mental break from ranting at or considering media and government and fashion I did want to pop in with a reminder that no matter WHAT your shape; no matter WHAT your size: fun can (and SHOULD) be had. You are not beholden to anyone to obtain any particular shape, size, color, demeanor, personality quirk…anything, in order to truly have a moment of life’s fun for yourself. Drop the guilt.
It is certainly hard to remember this at times in a world convinced that the only way to “get through to” the masses is by thrusting forward into our faces a constant stream all of the many various reasons that we are not perfect and what products might help us step closer to the impossible. Yet I maintain that no amount of self-inflicted or others-induced guilt over what you look like or your perceived state of health can ever truly make you any closer to the ideal. You owe nothing to the world or to anyone else to maintain any particular look or standard of “Healthy” behaviors or status in order to enjoy the life you live. So have a bit of fun.
Guilt will never make you thin(ner); but it sure can make you miss out on many of life’s litte (and large) pleasures. Don’t let it rule over you. Shake your belly (no matter what it may look like) and smile.