I will open the discussion.
I ate expired soup today. Why was it expired? I have no idea -- apparently when you stuff your face with anything and everything for a two month period you skip over 100 calorie soup. Then it just sits in your pantry and goes bad. But I ate the soup, and I ate it with the looming date of November 29th 2009 heavy in my belly, and I started thinking about my life. I have so much food in my house that we literally NEVER run out. Even when we have "nothing to eat" there is PLENTY to eat. Plenty. This abundance of food makes me ponder the relevance of being on a diet, because to me, being on a diet is essentially waste. I eat smaller portions, true, but I also have to let rampant amounts of food go bad because I just didn't have the caloric allowance to eat that cantaloupe or eggplant or cheese pizza. And apparently, 100 calorie soup.
What is the point of dieting, anyway? I'm a small person. I look fairly decent clothed and not too scary naked. But to our current society "being on a diet" is like saying "I'm cool." Because it means you have self control and a life good enough that you can complain about eating TOO much. And in my mind dieting is synonymous with materialism. Even though you're doing the exact opposite (saying "no more" as opposed to gathering more and more objects) you are showing a certain lavishness, a certain type of fabulosity that only translates to being thin=more clothes=fashionable. It's a strange cycle that in a natural world could not exist but we live in a world with 9 year old twinkies and cheese from a can and diabolical corn breakdowns.
I'll tell you why I diet. Because I want to be thin and because I want to be healthy. Way healthier than is really necessary for my desk job, but nevertheless, I strive towards seeing a beautiful model-thin self in the mirror. This is not to say that I'm not happy with myself; I am. I'm truly thrilled with the way I turned out. I was a very insecure tween but somehow I blossomed and never looked back. I learned at a young age that mistakes were forgivable and that changes could be made and you could rise triumphant as whatever you wanted. I accept my flaws as challenges -- something to continuously strive to make better. And also, something to laugh about with my friends and commiserate with them. Flaws, after all, make us human and not divine. Who wants to be perfect? It's probably dreadfully boring. What do you DO each day if you can't work towards a better life and a better self? And it's fun to use your inner-eye and speculate on the future; the future can't be different or better if everything is already Utopian.
But when does the "fun" striving-for-change switch to "my life isn't good enough" and crushing waves of inadequacy? I'm not really sure. I'll be sure to let you all know when I get there. But I can see how it is easy to start thinking more about the getting and not about the here and now. Life, to me, is a two act play happening simultaneously. Act One is now, Act Two is the future. You can't enjoy the story, the journey, the plot, unless you watch Act One -- because otherwise you won't know what the fuck is going on. You won't know the characters, you won't understand their development, you won't, basically, like the show. And if the show is YOUR LIFE ... don't you want to like it? So in order to like it you've got to watch Act One.
My Act One consists of struggling with my weight and my puppy and my marriage and ballet and my career and my family and my mind and my writing and ... so many things. But. The point is -- I'm enjoying the NOW and looking forward to the future, the impossibly bright and hopeful future that will be everything it's supposed to be if I can just sit still through Act One. So I'm not going to become too bogged down by my inadequacies, and I'm not going to obsess too much about the sugar cookie I ate for breakfast yesterday, and I'm not going to worry about the job I don't have and the money I don't make, and I'm not going to stress about the people that don't like me.
Scarlett said it best: "I'll think about that tomorrow."
And today I'll think about all the good things in my life:
A family I love,
My husband and best friend rolled into one,
A puppy to cuddle,
Friends I can rely on,
And a full pantry.