I have a secret shame. Okay, maybe it’s not that big a secret. Anyone who’s been in my company when I’ve had a little too much to drink, or who’s known me for any length of time, will be aware of this. The issue itself it not really a secret, the secret is that I am ashamed of it (okay, that may not really be a secret either).
I pride myself on being a feminist, a very well educated woman, a woman who is on track in the career I have always wanted, a woman who travels, reads a lot (43 books in 2011!), is versed in Australian and international politics, can be a little too passionate about issues and will argue about them until I’m in tears and everyone around me is either laughing or feeling a little sorry for me, and a woman who is blessed with a wonderful loving family filled with strong, bold women that have been wonderful role models and mentors for me as I have grown up.
So what’s the problem? The problem is that every time I look in the mirror I want to scream at myself and smash the mirror. I am not overweight. Well, maybe a tiny bit. My doctor told me I could afford to lose half a kilo. But, I am not unhealthy. I am not unusual. I am, as a matter of fact, quite boringly normal. So why do I, a well educated woman who should know better, obsess so much about such a stupid thing? Why is it, that every time I see a poster of Miranda Kerr I feel a hideous disgust and become so ashamed of my body that I decide to never leave my room?
It’s absurd! I am very ashamed of suffering from such a cliched weakness, but have no idea how to change it. I know all the right things. I know that the ideal I think I want to achieve is unhealthy and unattainable. I know that many of the images I see on posters and the covers of magazines are photoshopped. I could be slimmer if I did more exercise (my New Years resolution for the tenth year in a row) and ate less bread and pasta (but I love them so much!). But I would never have ‘that’ body. I am blessed to have good skin, hair that curls nicely in the right humidity, and I would often call myself pretty (but rarely out loud, as that would make me seem vain and women aren’t supposed to do that, it’s not feminine). But none of that matters when I’m preparing for a night out and change my dress ten times because that one shows the fat above my knees, that one shows the fatty bits around my arm pits, my butt looks too big in that one, my triceps are waving back to me in that one, those shoes make me look like I have cankles… Enough!!!! It’s exhausting! Leave me alone already!
Do I blame the media for my absurd obsession? Of course. I am surrounded by images of super skinny women. When there are successful women who don’t meet the ideal body type, their bodies aren’t shown. Has anyone seen a magazine cover showing Adele’s whole body? I have no problem with Miranda Kerr modelling swimwear, but I’d like to see some size 12 (my size) women modelling for Seafolly as well. It embarrasses me to say this, but I am influenced by the images I see in the media. I wish I wasn’t. I wish I was evolved enough to not even notice. I’m working on that, but I’m not there yet.
But it’s also my fault. I think I perpetuate this by talking and thinking about it too much. Only last night I was complaining about this with a friend I hadn’t seen in months. Months! Why did I waste that valuable time talking about my arse?!
So what am I going to do about it? For starters, I’m going to watch more Kate Winslet films. Secondly, I’m going to try and stop talking about my weight. It will be really hard, as I think I talk about it to stave of criticism I think is in the minds of the people I’m with, but most likely isn’t there. I’m putting it there. I will say I’ll exercise more, and I’ll say it’s purely for health reasons. But I say that every year. And in addition to my work, I’m starting a law degree this year. So time will be even more tight, but then, exercise will be more important.
By the way, while I say I’m going to stop talking about this, I mean I’m going to (try) and stop whinging about it to my friends, who are now sick of me. I am going to write more about it in this blog. I also want to write more about feminism and Christianity. I am both, a Christian and a feminist. Many people seem to think these two are mutually exclusive. I call bull shit.