Friday, January 22, 2016

Channing Tatum: Take 2

I think I may have sent out the wrong message with my initial blog featuring Channing Tatum. To be clear, I am not in some sort of state of self-loathing, nor do I actually buy into the beauty standards set by our society.

The purpose of that blog - which was apparently very poorly achieved - was to state that we all have ups and downs with ourselves. Regardless of our sizes, colors, genders, nationalities, there are days when we look in the mirror and wish something were different. It's being able to move past this stage that takes us on the path to self love, however, and my Channing Tatum blog was merely to say that, "Hey, I was in this stage" and this is how I got out. Reading it over, I will concede that I did not succeed at that and it more sounded like a whining, I-hate-x,y, and z blog. So, I apologize. That was not my intention.

Let me try to voice this more eloquently.

For a long time, I had a lifetime membership to the "Hate Fat" club, which I renewed every year without fail. In order not to make people uncomfortable, I laughed a fat jokes, I only ate "healthy" things in front of people I didn't know very well, and, more importantly, I believed everything they told me. Because, you know, other people are a much better judge of you and your experience than you are yourself.

It seemed like everywhere I turned there were messages just waiting to tell me that my body was bad, ugly, worthless, lazy, and otherwise wrong. And I believed them. I believed that horrible cliche that, inside my fat body was a thin body just waiting to emerge.

I would poke at myself, pulling at areas that irked me, frowning, and thinking to myself, "If I just do..." (fill in new trend here) "then I'll be thin."

Well, here's what happened. I did get thinner. Between ages 19-20 I lost nearly 60 pounds. I still wasn't THIN but I was much thinner. I felt a lot better, which I now realize was less a result of my weight loss and more or result of my new found love of healthy habits, predominantly dance. People treated me better - I got compliments all the time - and I thought, "I'm on my way! Just 40 more pounds to go!" Because, in my mind, I had an arbitrary weight that would equate with penultimate health and happiness.

I maintained what I was doing, the exercising, the diet, and I didn't lose any more weight. I had "plateaued" said the women at the gym.

Well, fuck.

I remained "plateaued" for about 5 years, which is the tail end of the time that people who experience significant weight loss typically experience weight gain. And I started to gain weight back for apparently no reason. And try as I might, it wouldn't go any lower.

Since then, due to different life circumstances - stress, jobs, China, whatever - my weight has gone up and down. At some points, I still engage in days where there are parts of me that I wish I could change, but I am able to remind myself all of the amazing things my body can do and that the problems I find with myself are not actually with me but with society.

And if you don't believe me, believe Channing Tatum.

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