I am not a number on the scale. I’m not the size of pants that will button around my hips. I’m not the amount of space I occupy – or don’t occupy – in the world. And yet.
This morning when I stood on the scales pre-shower I found it up a tiny fraction from the other day, well I felt a sinking in my guts. A disappointment in the whole of myself rather than just noting and noticing one tiny statistic about myself. I had just run 9km for fuck’s sake! And my mind started immediately cataloguing all the things that I had done “wrong” in the previous few days. Focusing with laser-like precision onto all the mistakes I had made so that I could rectify them in the coming week, estimating the day of my cycle to see if that could excuse things, maybe it was salt and water retention? My scales claims to measure body-fat too (because the weight number doesn’t heap enough shame onto my shoulders), so maybe there was hope to be found in blaming it on added muscle.
But seriously, fuck all that shit.
I say this with the understanding that I am fit and healthy and have been feeling kind of okay with my body recently. Fuck the shitty world-view that says I have to feel bad because the number on the scales is not where I want it to be, because a size 14 won’t button on me, and some size 16s won’t either *shame* *shame* *shame*! Why am I so invested on an ever downward trajectory for that number? Don’t I already know that it will never be enough? Why am I trying to disappear? Doesn’t the world already invisiblize women over thirty?
I think that if I was already okay with myself, that number wouldn’t have any power over me. And I would have the freedom to choose clothes that I love on myself, without the expectation of what size and shape of clothes are appropriate for a “big girl” like myself. My god, that phrase! How simultaneously infantilising and critically dismissive. Girl, not woman. And “big”, coz we wouldn’t want to be so rude to call a fat person fat. Because, don’t you know it’s the worst label in the world that could be applied to a female-presenting person. Even slutty bitchy whores can be redeemingly thin – they’re just misunderstood and need the right white knight to tame their shrew. But fat? Oh, that poor “girl” must have no self-respect or hope in the world.
So ’round about September of last year I stopped weighing myself for ages. I was going to check in on New Year’s Day, but then my scales was broken and I didn’t buy a new one until April.
And I got to be happy, really happy all by myself, without the world giving me an excuse to be unhappy, or a cudgel to beat the unhappiness out of me. Of course, I did put on a stone in weight – but that was down to the fact that I also had the usual number of days when I was unhappy, and I still had the really crappy coping mechanisms of drinking and binging on junk-food until I couldn’t feel anything other than physical discomfort and familiar binding self-disgust.
Nowadays I only have moderately crappy coping mechanisms, of course. Look, I’m not drinking! I totally get to be prideful and braggy about that for the rest of the year, even if I make no headway on anything else. So there.
But on that note … I felt I was promised a weight-loss reward somewhere around the hundred-day mark, right? Well, I’m here demanding delivery of my immediate half-stone discount from my body!
Oh. Actually, I already received it.
It turns out I’m actually down 4.5kg (10lb-ish) in the last hundredy days, which is even over and above my internalised target of what seemed reasonable (1kg a month). And, sorry about the numbers, especially as they can probably be a bit triggering for anyone who’s going through their own weight-battle journey. I’m just including them for myself to give a bit of a reality check. Because some part on the inside is complaining that I’m not losing any weight, and honestly, on any given day I feel like I’m not losing any weight, but look! That’s just more lies and pressure.
But the number is not the point – that’s my point! I’m feeling good in myself, and I’m feeling good about myself (yeah, I know that can change on a dime – check in tomorrow to see what way my emotional weather is blowing!). And I just goddamnit, I refuse to have my mood dictated by that stupid number anymore. I already have so many other unpredictable mood-directors in my life. Weight is not going to be one of them, especially when I know I’m already doing all I’m currently prepared to do about it.