ON WAITING UNTIL I’M SLIM TO BE HAPPY: LIVING COURAGEOUSLY IN A SEXIST SOCIETY
Is that what you think? Or do you say automatically of course not! If you really do think that you must be a certain weight to be happy, read on, if you’re open to reconsidering your view. If you say, of course I don’t believe your weight reflects on your happiness, pause and reflect that. It may not be your “real” truth (because of course it is a lie any how) but reflect on how the greater ideas of our skinny-thinking society influences and impedes itself within you. Would you like to rid yourself of these thoughts? If you would, then read on. If not, if you think you have to be thin, skinny to be “hot,” as it is defined today, this is not for you. You have a choice, and you can continue to remain in your suffering, or you can become self-accepting, no matter what your weight is.
Certainly, and I will concede, that being overweight, which currently means a BMI of 25 or over, and under 18, underweight, may indicate a problem. Overweight may well be a condition which has manifested, among other perhaps other conditions, after one is unhappy in some way. But what I am referring to here has to do with the currently ultra-skinny, or the so called “hot” look.
At one time, as very young woman, like most young women, I was awakened to my own sexual feelings. I knew from my Catholic school and church trainings, it was considered evil to “think” that way. Those were considered, “dirty thoughts.” And though the Church like society in general, generally looked the other way when boys had those thoughts and even when they acted on them, after all, “boys will be boys,” for a girl to even think like that was the devil incarnated! To have one’s own sexuality was (and I believe still is within the Catholic Church though they are not alone in this) considered unthinkable for a female. Yet I still thought them. But I was one of the fortunate ones, as I eventually gave up feeling so guilty about it. Throughout my early and later adolescence, I came to realize I wasn’t trying to think these “evil” thoughts; but that it was in fact my body and its hormones behaving the way it was designed to be. Of course at that time, I did not fully realize this as a part of the holistic way. I did however, begin the thoughts such as why would a God create me to feel so sexy when feeling that way was considered to be a sin. This and many other ridiculous, conflicting ideas of the Catholic Church led me to leave it early on, at age 21. And I continue more and more to realize what a wise decision that was.
As I continued to explore my sexuality, and I was fortunate enough that it was not destroyed by the Catholic Church, I began to delight in it. I considered myself to be “hot” based on how I felt. It never occurred to me as a young woman, in my early 20’s that many men only would consider women “hot” based on how they look. When I began to hear of such nonsense, I immediately dismissed it, thinking of the folly of it all. But by that time, I was full fledged feminist, so it was easy for me to ignore. I was also a very attractive young woman at the time and so had no trouble attracting men into my life.
As I entered what is called middle age, whatever age that is, but particularly when I put on some extra weight as a result of quitting smoking, I noticed that men no longer looked at me with the lust I was accustomed to seeing. The extra weight, apparently, had now made me less attractive to them. Not all men did this, however, but many did. I am not necessarily criticizing them for it, just giving an observation. And I also responded in a negative way, when I saw my own, chubbier image in the mirror! I, too, had developed those thoughts I had considered to be so sexist! My point is we are all strongly influenced by the culture around us. The trick to this, I believe, is in reprogramming ourselves to think more independently while still living in this society that we chose to live. It is not always so easy but can be done.
I have been strongly influenced as well as highly admire those who dare to speak the truth in the face of strong adversity. All who do will pay some kind of price. And all who do so are courageous heroes/sheroes. Even today, here in the USA, I find that my feminist views are, at times, strongly attacked. As a young feminist 40 years ago, I had dreamed, hoped and felt that the world would be transformed by this time today. Yet we continue to see the same old sexist practices existing among the transformative changes that are happening. I have learned that is often the course of changing ideas, with some individuals clinging desperately to past ideas that are no longer valid in a modern world. In the past, such woman (as well as men and children who spoke out of turn) would be burned at the stake. Unfortunately, though we still see continued violence against such worthy heroes. The recent murder of Dr. George Tiller, who performed abortions for 3 decades, and continued to do so in the face of ongoing violence directed toward him such as a bombing of his clinic, constant threats, as well as continuous court battles, is a point. Certainly we have freedom of speech. But instead of going through legal ways of overturning laws with which they disagree, some will continue to attack violently those who practice controversial, though legal things.
Most of us, however, are not as brave as Dr. Tiller. But if we are to live the authentic, and thus fulfilled and happy life, we must learn to speak our own truths. As a writer, I speak my truth and take the consequences. For me it means ignoring mal-intended criticism as I know that I am speaking the truth from my own heart. It means that I will be happy as long as I speak the truth. It means that there will always be others that will disagree with my views, even violently so. But it also means that without speaking my truth in my way, I will never live a happy, fulfilling life.
And as a healer, I learn to love my body more all the time, even when I am not at the so-called ideal weight, and even though I am no longer at an age where I will ever again be considered “hot” by societies, lower kinds of thinkers.
Part of my truth is this. Your weight is just a number. As you live your truth, you will find that number getting closer to where it is healthiest and happiest. That is the secret to maintain a healthy weight. And that is the secret to being happy. And the right to pursue happiness is a guarantee of our Declaration Independence here in the USA. What is your truth? Have you begun to express it yet?
 B.M.I. means body mass index and is a range of weight based on weight and height. It often correlates with body fat and disease. Google it online to find yours based on your weight and height. It is considered to be a healthy range with a BMI between 18 and 24.9. It is often considered wise to be in the middle range; however there are many exceptions. For example, people with a large muscle mass such as trained athletes will often show and BMI over the recommended rate. And thus it does not apply to them. However, being significantly over 25 or less than 18 often indicates a red flag. Always consult a health care professional when your BMI is not within the desired range and you wish to explore your current state of health.
 I am not speaking here of constructive, well-intentioned, helpful kinds of criticism. I always welcome feedback when it is offered in good spirit. And I do respect different views than my own, though I will often fully utilize my freedom of speech to express my differing view.