I’m getting older. I’m not old, but I’m older than I was and it’s starting to show. For years, I’ve not really had a problem with my hair graying. In fact, I’m looking forward to it. I’m not sure why exactly, but I think I’d look good with it. Today, however, I’m not concerned with my hair getting gray–I’m concerned with my belly getting bigger.
I think we live in a terrible society that places a lot of emphasis on “being in shape” and being in shape doesn’t mean being healthy, it means looking a certain way and fitting in a certain body mold. I do my best to let people be who they want to be in terms of their body by keeping society’s thoughts in my head. The problem is, however, that the rest of society doesn’t think the same way I do and people comment on my weight more than they should.
I don’t think I’m a fat person. I never have been and I don’t ever plan on being one. I have put on weight since getting back from Ukraine, 10-15 pounds depending on the day. It shows in my gut and I notice it as much as everyone else does. I hate it because I’m scared that it’s there to stay. I bike and I stretch and work on my abs but I want them to improve over night and it hasn’t been happening. It’s really frustrating. I think the biggest issue, more than the abs and working out, that I need to work on is my portion control. I’m aware of it and I’m trying to decrease it but it’s been a bit of a battle.
These things are my own to deal with. I know they’re there and I can work through them. I exercise because I enjoy it and it makes me feel healthy. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t do it. It’s simple.
The problem I’m noticing more and more is that the people around me are obsessed with their own weight and the weight of people around them. I think it’s always been like this but for some reason, I’ve never noticed it before. They’re always on different diets. They’re going to the gym and trying new workouts. They’re training for a marathon, a triathlon, or the Tour de France. They’re not eating carbs or sugars or meat or water because someone told them it was the way to look good. Great for them. They can do these things all they want and I’ll roll my eyes and do my own things at my pace while I’m enjoying my life.
Then someone opens their mouth. “Danny,” they’ll say without me expecting the words that come next, “you’ve put on weight.”
That’s when the music screeches to a halt. That’s the moment the air becomes thick. That’s when I can feel my face turn red with both embarrassment because someone noticed and anger because someone had the audacity to tell me they noticed. It’s neither their problem nor their right to tell me how my body should look or how I should eat. I know exactly how my body looks because for years people have put an emphasis on it that I now study my body in a mirror harder than I’ve ever studied for all my tests combined. I know how I eat and I enjoy the food that passes through my system. I don’t want your honey-water week cleanse. I am not in tune enough with my body to feel a damn iota of a difference once it’s over.
I’m a firm believer that my body is mine and your is your own. I have as much control over yours as you have over mine. I give you no control, and therefore you’re wasting your breath trying to change me, but that doesn’t mean that the words don’t sting. They hurt. No matter how thick a person’s skin is, eventually you’ll make your way through to the tenderness and the feelings beneath.
I read an article once about how a woman is doing the best she can to not ever comment on how little girls look. She wants to be the one person in their lives that tells them that they look smart and not pretty because she wants to put their focus on the things that really matter. I’m going to do the best to raise my own children that way and to treat my friends’ kids that way as well. They deserve to live in a world where they can eat. They deserve a world where they can have a belly and they don’t have to think about some silver bullet solution. I’m going to do the same for my future wife. If I truly love her, she’ll be as beautiful to me as always no matter how her looks change over time.
I’m going to treat you the same way and hope you pick up on what I’m doing. I hope you pick up on it because my skin is wearing thin and I’m starting to feel every comment and glance aimed at me.
On an unrelated note, dear reader, you’re looking rather smart today. What have you learned lately?