That "Third Monkey" Kind Of Fight
In recent years, how body image is perceived has been pushed into the “acceptable public conversation” arena. And while there are some viewpoints surrounding the topic that I agree with and cheer with all the gusto in me, there are other viewpoints that I straight up without apology disagree with. Yet, I choose to remain silent as to not offend and because I oft think my voice in some conversations will not merit any change, I don’t offer my thoughts.
However, I need to speak up.
Many people look at me and see a healthy/fit individual. But recently, that hasn’t been what I see. As I’ve shared in other posts, I have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression and a few stomach ailments that have dug into my bloodline and generation over generation have yet to let go.
I choose to be the generation that shakes loose the curses of those whose lineage gave me life.
When I look in the mirror and see the fat beginning to settle around my midsection and those pockets of fat referred to as “saddle bags” on my hips, I don’t see a body I can love. I see a pattern of fat accumulation most women on one side of my family follow. Those same women, are heavily reliant on pharmaceutical intervention to function day-to-day. When my pants fit tighter or I’m short of breath, I don’t think: “oh, I should love myself no matter how my clothes fit.”
I see early death, mental decline, I see a life dependent on medication. I see my freedom to go and do and enjoy the world, life itself without restriction, being snatched from me. I see money spent on hospital admissions, doctor’s visits and medications, that could’ve been spent kayaking through gorgeous ancient caves in Croatia. I see time and years lost to illness and a forced sedentary lifestyle because I chose to “love my ever-expanding body.”
While visiting family this Christmas I was disheartened by the large amounts of pharmaceuticals being consumed by those I love. One person had a laminated spreadsheet to make sure all is taken at the right dosing at the right time. I can’t champion that. I can’t.
I won’t champion a thought process that tells me to love a way of life that I see as a paved road to incapacitation and eventual death. I’ve written about my recent diagnoses from my doctor. And how making the nutritional adjustments she directed, has reversed most of the damage. My body is returning to it’s “normal” shape and eventually, I’ll be back to being comfortable with how I look. Fat deposits lessened, disease markers faded.
Please hear me when I say, I don’t hate myself (or other people who choose to live different from me), I hate my eventualities of choosing to not fight that which encourages the growth of my genetic deficiencies. I choose to be that underdog, the one who knows she can’t change her genes but she CAN fight them with the “never say die” frenzy of the third monkey trying to get on the ark. The one who (melodramatic alert) WON’T go gently into that good night.
I choose to fight, I choose to be different, to encourage those who come after me to make different, better decisions. Decisions that when they look in the mirror they can do nothing BUT smile because they see bodies and minds fortified to live long and healthy lives reliant not on the wonders of First World pharmaceutical magic. To me, my body image has nothing to do with fitting into a norm built by the media. To me, my body is a direct relation to my quality of life.
So, do I love what I see. Nope, but every day, I make decisions to change what the mirror reports. And without fail, everyday, the mirror, (and to a greater consequence, my health) gives continually improving reports.