Saturday, May 17, 2008

Who are we, anyway?

I found this great quote at my friend Marty's blog this morning concerning the clothes we choose to wear on our backs:

"Style is a life affirming expression of your character and spirit, a conviction that you are worth knowing, worth looking at and can present yourself well."

It took me a long, long time to finally feel at home in my body, to feel comfortable in my own skin and be content with my body image. But my style hasn't changed much thru the years. I dress for comfort. I don't know if you've discerned from my writing, especially if you've been reading my blog(s) -- I have an older one I no longer write on -- for the past few years, but I'm a very independent-minded, go-to-the-beat-of-my-own-drummer kind of person. I've never let fashion magazines dictate what I wear. Fat or slender or anywhere in between, my clothes have been what I want to wear. Quite often I've had to go to thrift stores to find them. I don't go out in public looking like a freak but I've never been asked to pose for Vanity Fair or Vogue, either. That's ok. I've never aspired to.

But....oh...when it comes to what my body looks like, I've scaled the heights of 220+ pounds twice in my life. I've plunged to 130 and, with my height and large-boned Swede bone structure, looked like a walking scarecrow. To the point where my Mom asked me, "Are you anorexic?" To which I answered an adamant "NO!" but it's a good thing she didn't ask me if I was binging and purging and eating boxes of ExLax like candy. I would've had to answer that with a humiliated "Yes." To spare you all the boring, embarrassing details I'll tell you that my years of self-abuse led me to the hospital in 1999, very ill. It was an eye-opening, frightening experience, especially when my doctor told me, "If you don't make some major life changes, you're not going to live to see too many tomorrows."

OK. I got the message!

So here I am, 9 years later. I'm not fat. I'm not skinny. I'm just comfortable. And as I sit here looking out my front windows this morning and see a young woman jogging by -- a young woman who comes by twice a day, morning and evening, without fail -- and is rail-thin, I can't help but think, "Is she anorexic?" She seems rather obsessed, if you ask me. An extra 20 pounds would put her up to looking 'healthy'...barely. I hope she's not following the same pattern I was at her age. It's not worth it. We're only given one body for our lifetime. We need to nourish it...we need to cherish it.

(Author's Edit: And just as I posted this, the young woman ran by again, not even an hour after I spotted her the first time.)


Mrs. Parks said...

Weight is such a strange thing. I always picture myself thin. That is until I see a picture of myself and then remember I'm not.
Oh well.
Enjoy the sun : )

Suburbia said...

Great to know you can survive and get over that sort of thing. Thanks for writing about it.

Sheri said...

I've never paid attention to fashion trends, but in college I too was a binge/purger. I, too, have been thin and heavy, and I, too, have the large bones of a Swede/German. I'm now the heaviest I've ever been and it aint comfortable. Too much or too little of anything is not a good thing.

Mean Mom said...

It's difficult to know what your perfect weight is, particularly if it all settles in the same place, like mine does! Glad that you feel comfortable with your weight, now, anyway.