I’ve been thinking about this blog and my Facebook page. I think pulling back from it all was one of the wisest moves I’ve made, because real life is not happening when I’m staring at my phone, it’s happening out there, in the world. With other people. Doing things.
I sometimes think about deleting this blog and the page and that being the end of it. Because all things considered, I am not a health blogger anymore. The subject has gotten stale for me and the whole fitness/weight loss/body image world lost my interest years ago. When I dip my toe back into it, I am quickly dismayed at what I find.
I hate to sound ungrateful here, because there have been good things too, it’s just that I’m not in that space anymore where I feel like I belong in this corner of the blogging world. Of course, I have had many awesome readers and FB friends through these outlets. I even have real life friends I would not have known if it were not for this blog.
I vacillate between wanting to share things and wanting to keep them private. If I do share things, I think about the reactions I will be inviting and whether I want to read them. I realized some time ago that if I really want people to stop talking to me about my weight, their weight, and weight in general, I have to stop talking about it too. I was skimming over some weight loss blogs earlier this week and I just felt so sad at all the time women put into it, and I include myself in that.
I even feel like the title of this blog is all wrong. Losing all that weight WAS a diet. Keeping it off WAS a diet. I see now that calling it a “lifestyle” or a “health journey” is really just semantics. If health is not a number on the scale, why do so many health bloggers constantly talk about their weight? Again, self included. And anyway THIS is not my life. My life is out there, with the people, doing things. Making art. Going places. Taking pictures. Doing work. Talking to friends.
Let me be clear, I have been having all of these thoughts about social media in general, not just my a particular page or the health and fitness community. There came a point where I realized I was immediately composing Facebook statuses in my head about what I was thinking and feeling without really getting to the thinking and feeling itself.
This is not a diet, it’s my life. What does it mean? I think a lot of people who followed me based on that name took it to mean this is a “lifestyle change” or that dieting forever IS your life if you want to be thin (which it is, by the way, and even then it will likely not work for good). But now, I don’t know what it means anymore. Truth be told, I will be on a diet for the rest of my life, now that I know I have celiac disease. And the more I think about it, the more I can see that sometimes losing weight on purpose is something people are going to do, and sometimes they’re going to get a lot of benefits out of that. I know the benefits. There are wonderful benefits both personal and social.
Still, I find myself feeling sad whenever I contemplate the subject. It should be a small part of our day to day lives, to think about food and weight and health and the way we look and what is beautiful and who deserves to be called beautiful and fitness and our own reflections in the mirror. But it isn’t small at all. It becomes enormous and all-encompassing for so many of us, especially women. Because whether or not a woman is thin enough, or attractive enough, or young looking enough, or sexy enough – all of this is drilled into our heads as the most important thing for women. If we’re failing at these things, then we feel we are failing at everything.
I have very few feelings like that anymore, but I remember having them all the time and it stings. I wish there was a switch I could flip for other women still trapped in that hamster wheel. And as much as I do appreciate the ideas of body positivism and personal health journeys, I see clearly that these are problems created and maintained by our culture of misogyny and consumerism. We may be able to change things a little bit for ourselves as individuals, but if we want these issues to really improve, we need a cultural shift. Sometimes, all the individualism in the health and fitness and beauty world feels like a great big lie to me. I guess the only thing we can truly change is ourselves, but the world is still there. I can feel as good about myself as possible at any size, and it still doesn’t change the fact that as a fat woman I will be discriminated against by employers and people in general. There is nothing individual changes can do about that, other than to conform and reap the benefits.
But conformity is its own kind of price too. Is it really a privilege to be hired because you are attractive? Or is it a different kind of oppression? I’m not sure I believe in the concept of “thin privilege” anymore. Is it a privilege to be treated kindly because people perceive you as a lovely object? To my mind, it’s really not, though clearly there are some material gains to be made there.
I think about all of this and I wonder, what am I still doing here, albeit sporadically? Am I really being altruistic or am I simply self-aggrandizing? Why do I write this stuff? I don’t actually have answers to these questions. Maybe I write because I want to help other people think about these things in a new and different way. But I don’t think it’s really that. When it comes down to it, I started blogging here for myself, to answer my own questions, to work through my own thoughts, and the fact that it is at all interesting to other people was quite a surprise to me.
I don’t really have a clear message at this point or a purpose to this blog, but as you can see I haven’t chosen to abandon it. I feel like there is something more to be said, and maybe I just haven’t figured out what it is yet. And when I look back over it and read my own thoughts, sometimes I wince, but I also realize how positively I have changed myself, and that is something. I don’t have answers and I’m sometimes really not sure why people want to hear what I have to say. This isn’t me fishing for compliments, I just truly feel like an average person who has better than average writing skills and who thinks a lot and is willing to change myself and my mind.
I am a private person. That might sound very silly considering how many very personal things I have shared with so many people, but remember, I started this blog anonymously and it just kind of happened. Doing this has made me much more open about a subject that I used to find incredibly mortifying and thought-consuming. And I know that has been really good for me, and hopefully some others.
So, I guess I just don’t know what I want to say anymore. But apparently I still want to say it.