Monday, February 23, 2009

Personal Waste

This evening I was reading an essay called "To Be Fat and Recovered" by Marcia Germaine Hutchinson. It was written from the perspective of a woman who after recovering from a lifelong history of disordered eating accepted that she would never be thin. In fact, she describes herself as fat despite eating healthy and exercising regularly. Her metabolism, she suspects, is a train wreck because she spent over three decades of her life either on a diet, failing a diet, rebounding from a diet, or planning another diet.

The entire essay was worth the read, but there was one particular passage that really jumped out at me:

"Reflect on how many minutes and hours you spend obsessing about your body in the course of a day. How much time do you spend worrying about food? How much over what to wear? How much about how others are judging you? How much in judging yourself? Multiply this amount by 365 and you have some sense of the magnitude of your personal waste."

Just last week I spent way too much time obsessing over one, now that I've had more time to think about it, fairly innocuous comment in response to a pregnancy photo I posted and how people were judging me. I invested all of this precious energy - and all my energy is precious right now, given how tired I've felt in my eighth month of pregnancy - on worrying about not only how I look to myself (do I look too pregnant or pregnant enough?) but also worrying about what judgments others make based upon one isolated photo my preschooler happened to take.

How narcissistic is that?

Thankfully, Lent is right around the corner and fasting on food isn't going to be half as cleansing for me as fasting on my own personal waste. Any time I'm tempted to think about my weight or what I'm supposed to look like or what others think I'm supposed to look like, I'm going to instead turn my thoughts heavenward.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat (or drink), or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?"

-Matthew 6: 25-27


Aussie Therese said...

I really struggle with the way I look. When I was pregnant with our 4th child, I was really small and didn't look pregnant till I was over 34 weeks.

I am going to copy out that little paragraph Kate and read it to myself each morning during my prayer time.

Thanks for this post.


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