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When I was in high school, a size eight was considered the perfect size for women. I was very slender from ballet, and when I quit, I added a size over the summer and got a lot of attention because of my tiny curves. I don't think I hit a size eight until after my first child was born. I stayed a constant size ten after giving birth to five kids. I generally reached about 190 lbs during my pregnancies... I was not one of those mamas with a perfect orb and a willowy frame.  I was a ripe, red, shiny apple, with long hair that was unmanageable because of pregnancy hormones, but I refused to cut it because it was so long and had taken me years to grow. I was BIG, and had long, stringy hair. 

I always went up to that vast Mama Earth size during pregnancies, but lost the weight after having my babies without even trying. Now, twenty years after my first pregnancy, I take medication that's caused me to gain weight for the first time, and I weigh the same now as I did when I was pregnant... but I'm still in a size 10-12 jeans. I'm not a barbie, nor do I want to be. I wish I had a flatter stomach and stronger muscles, but I'm proud of the food choices I make. I'm vegan and eat organic.  I also have ptsd, and my medications slow down my metabolism, so I've gained weight in the past couple of years trying to find the right combo of meds that helps me function. I want to be strong and healthy, but the truth is, my mental health takes precedence  over my desire to be fit.  

A couple weeks ago, I had words with a woman in the parking lot who nearly hit me with her car backing out of her spot. She cussed me out and called me a "fat f***-ing bitch." The woman CLEARLY had fifty pounds on me, and was not attractive in any way. I was shocked. I honestly don't think of myself as being fat, and certainly not as being a bitch. AND she narrowly missed hitting me with her car. How was I the problem? And, I hate to state the obvious, but this woman was QUITE LARGE herself. SIGNIFICANTLY larger that myself. 

I think the real issue at stake is that we value imagery more than we value kindness. We separate ourselves from others by the judgments we make against them; we judge them worthy or unworthy based on their perceived worthiness, and deny them our friendships based on retribution.

You are fat, therefore unworthy of my friendship or respect.

You are of a low income bracket, therefore unworthy of my friendship or respect.

You're values are different from my own, you, therefore, are unworthy of my friendship or respect.

An unpleasant complication of this mindset is that when we automatically judge the worthiness of others, our judgement becomes a mental habit that knows no bounds; like a robot created to serve humans, but who then decides to take over the world and rule over all mankind.  

Our poor little brains can't differentiate between the judging of others and the judging of ourselves. Our brains become so automated in their judgments, that we constantly criticize and nit-pick and deny ourselves of our own acceptance. 

"I'm so fat... nobody will ever love me."

"I'm so broke... my car is piece of shit and everyone else's car is nicer than mine... I hate myself."

We also COMPARE ourselves to others, the ideal being what's been presented to us by the media... slim, willowy, fashionable, wealthy, educated. In addition to the personal ideals that have been foist upon us, or possessions are idealized as part of our self-hood  What car we drive, our cell phones, our homes we live in... they all are subject to a standard that is impossible to accommodate in today's economy, even if we want to. How many times have we been at the Department of Human Services and seen men and women on public assistance with the latest touch-screen cell phone and driving a late model car? Obviously they are living on a limited income, or they wouldn't be eligible for services. If a person hasn't enough cash to buy food for their kids, how can they afford luxury items? I can only assume that they go without paying priority bills, and tighten up their belts in the areas of basic need to create a sacred space financially for status items. 

I don't think families at higher income levels are much better off, frankly. Even with a larger paycheck, they don't tend to have more available cash after paying off credit card bills and maintaining a status-focused lifestyle. Having money does not make one immune to judgments or comparison, either from others or from ourselves. It only provides a monetary medium to meet society's standards for acceptance.

My heart goes out to the woman in the parking lot who called me a fat bitch. Her judgement of me was based on something so superficial, it was irrelevant  and yet, there it was, foremost in her mind. Our perception of the world is a reflection of how we see ourselves...  She must face terrible self-criticism several times a day, every day of her life. I wonder about the positive aspects of her nature that I didn't have the chance to enjoy... Is she gentle with her family after a long day? Does she have an incredible creative life force within her? Is she spiritually in-tune?  I wonder if she sees the positive areas in her life. I hope that she does, but I'm doubtful.

Women's bodies go through so many changes throughout their lives. Do we judge trees for starting as a seed or dropping their leaves? Do we judge a mountain for being the wrong shape? Then, why do we feel the need to judge or be critical of ourselves for playing our natural part in the universe, changing with time and being present in the season we are currently at in our lives? 

I'm forty, not twenty, and my belly has a roundness to it; and I still love and accept myself. 

You can't judge me for that.

I don't.
lily
11/17/2013 5:45pm

Thank you

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