I have a confession to make – sometimes I feel confused about being a curvy girl.
Maybe it’s the cabin fever getting to me, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how I should spend more time outside once the weather finally breaks. Last summer, my husband J and I really got into the groove of using our kayaks, and I’m excited to get back to that . . . once the rivers and lakes thaw, of course. But beyond kayaking, I’ve also come up with a list of other activities I want to try more often – like swimming and hiking.
But wait. I’m, like, the least athletic (and probably most clumsy) person I know. And someone who does these activities on a regular basis would be considered “active,” right? And how can I be active and still be curvy? Can I be more active and still be curvy? Doesn’t society and social media tell us that being curvy means you never leave the couch? Isn’t it true that “big” people don’t know that apples and broccoli are better for you than pizza and ice cream? Don’t you have to choose one or the other?
The tagline of this blog isn’t “musings of the emotionally complicated” without reason.
I addressed my almost lifelong struggle with my body and my weight in this post several months ago. And like I said back then, for the most part, I’ve made peace with the fact that I will never fit into my wedding or prom dress again. And while I am a “bigger girl,” I’m also happy to be quite healthy.
But there are times I feel conflicted with my body and my ambitions. Like, I want to kayak in the river and swim laps and hike a trail, but I have no desire to set foot in a gym or post my step count for the day on Facebook. I want to eat avocados and rice and vegetables and hard boiled eggs, but I also want to eat pizza and chocolate and burgers.
Can’t I do both? I do do both!
Here’s where it gets complicated – I hate sweating and being dirty, especially if I’m not having fun. Being in a stuffy, brightly-lit gym with a bunch of strangers is my idea of a total nightmare. Using machines or doing aerobics are just a few more things in life that I am not good at, and it gives me horrible anxiety.
But I like being outside with my dog, J, and my friends. I like feeling the sun’s rays on my face and having tanned skin. I like breathing in fresh air and seeing squirrels and deer in the woods while walking a trail. I don’t mind cutting grass, planting flowers, or doing home improvement projects (as long as J is there for the latter so I don’t somehow burn the house down).
I guess what I’m saying is that I’m trying to find a balance. And sometimes that sends my anxious mind into a state of confusion on how to stay body positive and keep active without obsessing and nit-picking.
For the record, I don’t want anyone to think that I’m “skinny shaming.” If you’re thin and athletic and doing it in a healthy way, that’s awesome! I know that it’s difficult for some people to gain weight, just like for me, it’s hard to lose weight.
But I don’t think it’s cool to obsess over every single calorie or degrade yourself for “slipping up” with your workout routine. I don’t think extreme dieting or constant “cleansing” is healthy or smart, and I cannot stand the notion that your worth is determined by your weight or appearance.
We’ve been led to believe that if you don’t spend eight days a week at the gym and allow a single Oreo to touch your lips that you’re not dedicated, not educated, not strong enough. We’ve been led to believe that you have to wear a size in the single digits to be beautiful, and that the number on the scale can’t go above a certain number for you to be healthy. Society tells us that you can’t possibly hike or bike or run or climb if your thighs jiggle while you’re doing it.
But I think that these notions are slowly changing, and I really want to shatter all of these myths myself. So sometimes I’ll eat salads and avocados and walk my dog and lift my weights and kayak for hours over the weekend. And sometimes I’ll eat pizza and ice cream and sit hunched over my laptop writing for hours on end. Sometimes I’ll be proud of my curves and sometimes I’ll curse when I’m in a dressing room. I don’t think that being comfortable with your body is a one-time decision. I think it can change day by day, and that’s why being body positive can be confusing.
But I think I’m learning that I can be strong and healthy and active without being skinny or meeting a weight goal. And it’s okay if other things in my life (like writing) are higher on the priority list than “working out.” And despite what social media and society has told me, I’m also learning that that’s okay.