Most of you know that I had a baby last November.
The thing that happens when you have a baby is that you gain some weight. Apparently, another body inside your body actually weighs something (like seven pounds), and then needs to be supported by extra fluids and fats. If that isn’t enough, your boobs swell to some enormous size, your joints loosen and your appetite increases. Thanks, biology.
Then, you push this new human out of a very tiny hole (which takes just a little bit of effort, mind you), release much of those fluids over the next few weeks, and watch as your boobs grow even more (geez, already!).
And then, you have to figure out how to keep this squirming ball of flesh alive. And somewhat content. While also still being in relationship to those around you. Doing the dishes. Trying to make sense of a new identity that leaves you zero time to yourself. All while being tortured by sleep deprivation.
And then, while you’re furiously reading some book about how to train your child to sleep longer, you read that in all your theoretical new-found free time, you could WALK OFF THE BABY WEIGHT.
Which was when, of course, I threw that book across the room.
And I suggest you do, too.
As a sensitive person, you are often acutely aware of the societal expectations placed on you. We all have them. And when you’re sensitive but living censored, you often find yourself unconsciously living them, doing things you hate just to make yourself feel comfortable by meeting someone else’s idea of perfection.
Which almost always leaves you feeling awful.
For those of us who were socialized as women, there are so many rules about our bodies. So. Many. Rules.
Be pretty. But if you’re too pretty, you’ll be called names and harassed. Be smart, but not smarter than boys otherwise they get upset. Be sexy, but not sexual. Be thin, but you know – healthy thin. When you’re pregnant, have a cute little bump (as if you can control this), and get back into those pre-pregnancy clothes as soon as possible.
As a sensitive woman, I can see all of these messages as if they hang, visible, in the air.
When I was younger, I wasn’t so lucky – I didn’t yet have the gift of sighting these expectations and calling them out for what they are – bullshit. And so I lived to please – as if by pleasing the rules I would be somehow granted more access to affection and connection. But all I got was an eating disorder and a therapist.
All these rules are to be followed in order to make others else feel more comfortable. And there seems to be a whole lot of people who are uncomfortable with a woman being big.
Here’s the thing: I am fatter than I used to be.
You know, because I grew and birthed a human and all.
And I feel like I’m a living revolution, because I don’t want to slim down. Or get my body back. Or work off the baby weight.
I’m a pretty amazing person, if I can toot my own horn for a minute. I run a small business I created from scratch. I’m raising an incredible tiny human. I’m a wife. I clean my own house. I meal plan and cook my family’s food. I exercise. I have interests. And desires. And dreams.
And I don’t have the time, interest or energy it would require to lose the last of the baby weight. I also have no desire to cultivate it.
Seriously – who has time for that shit? For watching what I’m eating (I’m nursing, for crying out loud!) – isn’t it good enough that I’m eating? I’d rather eat my yummy, home-made granola in the morning than measure a low calorie breakfast that tastes like cardboard and keeps me full for all of an hour. I’d rather sip a fruity tequila drink in the evenings while I play with my son and decompress from the day’s shenanigans than spend every second counting calories. And I’d much rather spend the child-free hour I have in the evening cuddling with my husband than going on that extra run to burn a few more calories.
I’m fatter than I used to be.
And unless those pounds melt away from my morning dance parties with my son, or the wiggle game we play, or the gardening with my husband, or the twice a week I get to move my body vigorously, or the yoga I get to practice, or the huge amounts of Scandal I watch when I need to decompress – then they’re just not going anywhere.
And the truly revolutionary thing? Is that I don’t really care.
Sure – I don’t like to feel uncomfortable in my body. And my body is so different. I’ve bought new pants, and new bras, and new tops and I’m finding a new sense of style with my new body. And it’s a little awkward and I have bad days – sure. It feels good to exercise and so I do some of that. But I don’t care if I don’t get thin again, because this is a whole new ballgame. There is no “getting my body back” – have you seen all the kids crap in my house? There’s no going back. There is only moving forward.
I am fatter than I used to be, and yet there’s this story going around that that should upset me. It’s a social expectation that I go through the damned hard work of growing and birthing a child and then work harder to erase the evidence.
That story is such bullshit.
There are lots of social expectations that I actually enjoy partaking in – I like to wear make up most days, I’m on time to appointments and I say please and thank you. But there are tons of expectations I choose not to be a part of.
Chances are that you are living a social expectation that you don’t want to be. One that feels hard. One that feels constrictive. One that strips away your freedom and leaves you without permission to just be you as you are.
Our culture is full of rules, and many of those rules affect women and other minorities unfairly. You notice them, Sensitive One, because of your sensitivity and attention to the subtle messages all around you. These rules are damaging. They keep you from being able to really live your light in the world because you’re so preoccupied with how perfect you follow the rules.
Giving yourself permission to step outside the rules is an act of social rebellion.
And when you give yourself permission, you set the stage for others to have it as well.
I’m going to be fatter than I was.
What are you going to be?