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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Smash the Scale

Body stuff is really hard for me to talk or write about, even though, almost exactly a year ago, this blog began as a place for me to talk about my experience with weight loss. A lot has changed, including my body. But that is no longer the point of this blog, and weight loss is no longer on my list of priorities. It never will be again.

Like every woman, I have experienced the agony that comes with believing I'm not *something* enough. The something always had to do with the way I look.

I remember hearing my mom talk shit about her looks from a young age. "Fat" and "ugly" were common words she used to describe herself, and I never understood it because I always thought she was the most beautiful woman in the world. She was my mommy! To me, she was perfect. Until she pointed out all her flaws. And then I realized I had some of those same flaws.

When I gained about 40 lbs over a year and a half in my early 20s, I felt awful. My family didn't help. They did the typical and misguided, "we're so worried about your health" spiel. Though there were good intentions, all they managed to do was make me feel worse. I can forgive them, though. My parents grew up in the same society I did and internalized the same beauty standards and health policing. I know that it's possible to be fat and healthy, but they don't. Maybe someday they'll learn, but it's not my place or desire to preach to them.

Around this time last year, I made a decision to lose weight. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin and needed to change. I've lost about 30 pounds since then and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel significantly better about myself. But the heartache it took to lose that weight is what brought on this post. I had an experience with a personal trainer who told me it was okay to eat only 500 calories a day if it would make me lose weight. He was promptly fired, but not before I internalized the thought that eating anything was eating too much. I dieted. I began to see food as the enemy. I hated the fact that I even needed it to live. Every time I "cheated" on my diet would lead to a crying, self-loathing breakdown. Good times with friends were tainted by the food I ate and the subsequent breakdowns that no one but Joel ever knew about.

But the strict diet "paid off," and some weight was lost. I didn't reach my original goal of losing 40 pounds, but that's because I decided my mental health was more important. I couldn't take care of my depression and anxiety and worry about following a diet, and if I'm being honest, the diet was probably a big part of the reason my mental health declined so sharply.

Now, I feel weird if people compliment me on my weight loss. I don't like the thought of people scrutinizing any part of my body, even if they're looks of approval. I don't need anyone's approval but mine. The way I lost the weight was harmful and was brought on and encouraged by the beauty standards every woman lives with, whether she wants to or not. I avoid commenting on other people's bodies for this reason. It's personal and invasive, and you have no idea if the reason they "look so skinny" is because they happily ate well and exercised for several months, or because they were seriously ill and suffering.

Jess from The Militant Baker inspired me to do something I never thought I'd be able to do: Smash the Scale.  This doesn't necessarily mean literally smash your scale, but if you're thinking about doing this, I would encourage it. It was the most empowering thing I've ever done. That thing has had a hold on me, in some capacity, for my entire life. I was taught that the number is important. Smash the Scale and scores of amazing, body positive women are saying, "well, fuck that," which happens to be one of my favorite phrases. The standards and the number are bullshit. Smash the scale is about choice. I'm choosing to ignore the standards and be me. I want to continue to feel good. It will not be easy; in fact, it's a constant struggle. But if this shit is going to change, some generation of women has got to do it first, and I want to be a part of that sexy revolution!

I went to the doctor a few weeks ago and stepped on the scale. Even though I was wearing heavy clothes and knew it wasn't accurate, the nurse read back a number that made me cringe. Then I cringed again because I cringed at the number. "Well, that's not very feminist of you, Victoria," said my brain. Whatever. Nobody's perfect.

Joel helped.
It takes constant vigilance to change one's perspective. Unless you live under a rock, you're going to be attacked day in and day out with unrealistic beauty standards that are presented as The One And Only Way To Be. Just remember: It's. Complete. Bullshit. It's a lie made up to sell you stuff and you have to fight it, because we're all raised from birth to believe it. This change won't happen over night for me or for any other woman in this world. But, the journey so far has lead me to a new found happiness with my body and the realization that whatever size I am, whatever the number is, I'll be just fucking fine, and so will you. ♥

RIP scale. The 'P' stands for "pieces." Rest in Pieces, mother fucker.

4 comments:

  1. this is awesome. i love your writing. thank you for sharing your journey with such beautiful vulnerability, self love and fucking FIERCENESS!!! you rock xo

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    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your kind words. It's scary putting yourself out there, especially with topics so personal. By the way, your photos are beautiful and I wish you didn't live in California because I'd hire you in a second. I LOVE the idea behind your work. Thanks again for the comment. :)

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  2. I really love this. I found your blog via The Loudmouth Lifestyle and felt so comfortable. This post is brave and makes me proud to be a part of a world/internet where more and more rad people are getting it, and sharing it. I'll be following! <3

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment! Feelings are hard to share, but it's knowing that people can feel comfortable and connected while reading them that makes it all worth it. Thanks for reading/following. :)

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