I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that these days, we are forced to constantly self-critique against the eternally unachievable standards inflicted on us 24/7 via endless sources of media.
Consequently, I, like many, find myself in a never-ending cycle of self-argument.
On the one shoulder, I have the Body Conscious Me. The Me who knows I need to be healthier; who knows my husband probably deserves a hotter wife; who knows that I hate how I look and can’t bear to acknowledge my dress size.
On the other shoulder lives the far heavier Life’s Too Short Me (who I’m pretty sure I like a lot more). The Me who, in the wise words of Sophia Loren, would much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size zero. The Me who knows that strict dieting, daily weigh ins and cruelly chastising myself, unsurprisingly plunges me into a depression.
I do feel that our modern culture seems to put so much focus on image that it’s almost as if everyone’s forgotten that there are far worse things to be, than a bit fat. Surely, it’s worse to be aggressive, or controlling, or cruel…?
People often think it’s appropriate to question my food choices. In fact, I used to hide chocolate in my handbag and eat it in secret at work because one person would always ask if I was “sure that I wanted to eat it”. Others sometimes ask me how my diet is going; regardless of whether I’m on one or not, obviously just assuming I must be. Fortunately, I have a thick skin (and a thick everything else too) so I tend to just find it funny. It’s ironic too that I much prefer to be the chubby victim enjoying a Twirl, than the offensive tool eating celery sticks.
Granted, I can never stick to a diet for longer than a month, at best. But that doesn’t make me a bad person. If only we were as good at calling people out on their bullying behaviour as we are at criticising others for gaining a few pounds, we’d all be a lot happier.
One of the brilliant things about being a parent, is that it makes you care so much less about this stuff. Not only do you literally not have time to give it too much thought, but you also learn it’s absolutely not important. What is important however, is to be patient, kind, fun and encouraging. I reckon I’ll probably work on those qualities as a priority.
I’ll probably be on a diet for the rest of my life.
Every fancy function I attend in a posh frock, I’ll wish I’d tried a bit harder. Every takeaway I order and large Pinot I drink; I’ll feel guilty about it.
But at least I’m not an arsehole. I’m quite happy being a Chewing Mum.