Monday, May 4, 2009

Fasting for Bikram

I am fasting. It's the only thing I can think to do to save my health. I'm fasting for a month. I started April 22nd and I will at least go until May 22nd, a good solid month. When I get inundated with stuff, all the "should"s and "ought to"s, the only thing I can think to do is avoid it entirely. My fast is two-fold, let me explain.

First of all, I am on a magazine fast. Have you ever looked at what they call "Women's Interest" magazines? Apparently, looking at the covers, "Women's Interests" are constant dieting, the lives of celebrities, and looking hot and sexy. Those are not any of my interests. If I'm not interested, am I still a woman? Gosh, I hope so.

Frankly, I don't need any help tearing myself apart, comparing myself to others, or wishing I was someone else. Without even thinking, I often find myself sucked towards the magazine rack pouring over Brad and Angelina's latest adoption plans or what Jennifer Anniston eats for breakfast. That's weird. No really, this is strange to be fascinated reading about what complete strangers talk about, read, and eat. In addition to such craziness as People magazine, are Glamour, Self, and Shape, who regularly feature perfect, flawless, thin, beautiful women on their covers, women I will never be.

PROs of reading magazines=
some useful information
boredom fixer in airports

CON's of reading magazines=
suddenly feel ugly, worthless, fat, not enough, overwhelmed
unimportant information
time waster
money waster
contributing to the problem

I am not talking about fasting from ALL magazines, just the destructive, life-sapping ones that make me feel like a worthless human being. This does not include O, Real Simple, or Newsweek magazines. Thanks guys.

Secondly, I am on a scale fast. Now is a "fast" or a "vow". Eh, we'll call it a fast for now. Gimme a month first, then we'll see. I've gone a month before, but if I want positive change in myself, I need to be intentional about it. I've probably only weighed myself a hand full of times in the last 3 years, but each time is a negative experience and a broken promise to myself and all those girls in the eating disorder group I attended freshman year.

Last week, sitting in the TJ Maxx dressing room, I wished for a microphone to record the conversations that take place there. What escapes the mouths of females in dressing rooms, would make other people cry, but it's accepted, normal because they are saying it to themselves. "Ugh, I'm such a fat cow. This gives me cankles."
"I hate shopping. Everything makes me look disgusting."
"Ugggghh, why didn't God give me even a fighting chance?"
"Damn boobs!"

Or even worse, an abrasive mother to her young daughters.
"Oh sweety, you're too fat to wear something that pretty."
"Eww gross, take it off right now!"

Cringing at every blow, I wanted to somehow help or end the attacks, but I had just spent an hour internally hating myself too, and knew exactly what they were talking about.

Really, the only reason many women, including rail-thin, 100 pound teenagers, weigh themselves, is to find out if they are a "good" person or a "bad" person. How did we ever start assigning numbers to determine value? We do it with age, weight, clothing size, income. So I want to invent a scale that does just that. It gives a person their value when they step onto it, except there would only be one option and it would always, always read: Perfect.

PROs of weighing myself=
....ummmm?

CONs of weighing myself=
feel worse, ALWAYS
reducing myself to a number
following a destructive culture I don't want to endorse
only part of the problem

So while I began 2 weeks ago, I'm going until May 22nd, one month. I'm starting small as not to overwhelm myself. We'll start with one month, then 3 months, a year, a lifetime. As a reward for avoiding destructive magazines and scales, I will treat myself to a Bikram hot yoga class, a $15 investment for this poor college student. It's worth it. Ahh, good stuff.

Yesterday, walking through airports, I had to walk the long way around magazine racks calling my name, "Heaaatttthhhheerrr, you know you want it..." But no. Then a woman sitting next to me on the plane had 3 different celeb magazines and offered me one. I stayed strong. I said, "No thank you." Then she put it in front of me and said, "Well, just in case you change your mind." After sitting at least 15 minutes contemplating if I wanted to look at it or not, I picked it up and put it back in front of her, saying, "I really don't need the temptation. You keep it, but thanks really."

On my way Bikram. Save me a spot.

1 comments:

eric.in.egypt said...

Heather, you're awesome! Keep up the fight and thanks for having the courage to stand up against the status quot. You inspire me!