I let it go.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, I said something about how my diet wasn't going particularly well and she said, "Good. I don't want you to lose weight. I like you the way you are." She looked so worried, I felt like I had to address the issue.
See, the thing is that I don't talk about weight much. I don't want my girls to walk away with the same issues (see fat = bad) as I have. And since I have a really hard time talking about it without being down on myself, I tend to avoid the issue altogether.
But when it came down to it, it was something we had to discuss. After going and back and forth for a while so I could figure out what she was thinking, I said this:
I believe that every person's body has a size and shape it wants to be. And you don't have to be that shape. You can work really hard and be a different shape, but if you eat healthy and get a normal, healthy amount of exercise, you're going to be the size and shape you're going to be. People are always trying to change that, but I don't see the point. Everyone's different and that's a good thing. My body is never going to be tiny. It's not going to be movie star little. I'm never going to be skinny. That's who I am. And I'm okay with that. I like my body a little bigger and a little squishier than everyone else's. My problem here is not that I want to be smaller to fit someone's ideal of what's pretty. My problem is that I have not been eating healthy or exercising very much and I am unhappy with certain things. I'm unhappy with my energy level and the way my clothes feel. I am trying to lose a little weight because that's what I think will make me feel better, not because I feel like my body is somehow bad the way it is.She liked that answer. She was happy with that answer. And I was happy that I was able to say something I wasn't sure I believed. I want to believe all those things, but I struggle, you know. I struggle with liking myself and the way I look. Because I read magazines and I watch TV and I know how I'm supposed to look.
But the last few days, I've realized that I really do believe that more than I thought. I'm going to meet Neil Gaiman tomorrow. Me and about 1000 total strangers, but still. I want to look nice. There aren't even posed pictures allowed, so I don't know why I care, but I do.
I've been analyzing everything in my wardrobe and I finally settled on something. Going through this has really driven home that I don't like my clothes. I've experimented over the years, and especially since becoming a single person, with a lot of different styles. I tend toward the simple. Jeans. Solid tee. In the winter this will involve a sweater. In the summer, capris. I tend toward this because I like easy. And because I feel like you can't screw it up.
I don't want to be the person who makes a big deal of getting dressed in the morning. I don't want to waste my life worrying about what I'm wearing. But I also don't want to be the person whose wardrobe is determined entirely by ease.
I want to look at myself in the mirror and see me. Smiling, vivacious, funny, geeky, annoyingly optimistic me. I don't want to see the list of flaws I scan down to make sure that everything is appropriately draped in extra yardage. I don't want to see the person I think I should be. I don't want to see a big red forehead tattoo reading FAILURE.
In other words, I want to be okay. I want to be okay right now. Not 20 lbs from now or 50 lbs from now. I still want to get in better shape. I want to cook more and exercise more. I want to do those things because I think they will make me feel better. I also think they will make me smaller, because experience tells me they will. But that's not the point.
I want to like me. Because I want to raise girls who like themselves. And because it's so freaking tiring when you have to constantly listen to your biggest critic.