We're afraid to die.
We say that we just want to be healthy. We strangle ourselves, deprive ourselves, talk ourselves into being still, into not wanting things, into not being hungry.
We're shamed into hating ourselves. We're bullied into taping our feet and standing at the table. We don't make pancakes on Saturday. We don't have a piece of our child's birthday cake. We don't slow down and stay in bed on Sunday.
Our kids can't have candy. We keep pictures of thin women in our wallets.
We say we're trying to be healthy, but we're really trying to outrun death.
What would it mean for my body if I wasn't afraid to die? What if I lived my life in a way that made me proud, where my children were prepared to love themselves, where they were safe and capable? What would it mean if I didn't have to live forever? Because I won't, you know. No matter how much I obsess about fitness minutes and repetitions, I'll die someday and I won't feel ready.
I'm trying something new, because I can't stand the guilt anymore.
This thing I'm trying, it's called being a grown up. It's called being the boss of myself. It's called doing the best I can.
It's called - admitting that I'm going to die, someday.
I don't want to eat and walk and stretch and run out of fear. I don't want to feel like I've failed when I run out of time and it's Thursday and I'm just not going to fit in a workout. I don't want to be a bad person every time I eat. I don't want to sit with my chin in my hands, smiling at my children while they eat ice cream cones on the wooden bench on the sidewalk.
I just want to do the best I can.
I want to choose things that make me feel good. I want to sweat and lift heavy things. I can trust myself without obsessing because I love myself. I love my babies and my husband. I've crammed myself full of information. I know how many calories are in EVERYTHING. I know which fats are deadly. I know how to fend against disease, how to shop, how to build muscle. I know it. It's all there. It's not going to go anywhere. I don't need to hold on so tight.
I hold on to things when I'm afraid. I second guess myself when I'm afraid. I believe myself to be a failure when I'm afraid.
The new thing I'm trying is this: I trust myself. I'm really smart and really educated. Also, I'm not going to feel guilty about things that aren't even moral issues. I own myself. There isn't a set of rules about what I have to do, when it comes to my own upkeep. I'm going to try really hard to listen to myself. I know what makes me feel the best. Sometimes I can't hear my own voice; I get drowned out by people who want me to be afraid to die. Those people want me to buy something. They want me to subscribe to something. I know everything I need to know, and I have a say. I have a voice. I'm going to try to hear it.
The thing I'm going to try to do is recover my sanity. I'm going to stop obsessing. I'm going to die, someday. I don't want to fend it off, to trick death into not coming for me. I'm not going to deny death anymore. I'm not going to let it creep on me, like panic, nagging me and saying, "I'm here. I'm real. You'll meet me."
Death is a part of me. I'm alive. The point of my life isn't to stall death. I can't be happy trying to trick death from coming. It is coming, for all of us. Even me. Even my sweet, good hearted husband. Even my girls. We're all going to die.
What might it mean to our lives if we understood that, embraced that, and let a love of living guide our choices, instead of a fear of death?