I told my therapist, when talking about my agent, that I was willing to lose weight, but that I refused to give it my whole brain. I choked up spontaneously as I said, “I’m just so relieved to not be putting my whole brain onto making myself a certain way or fulfilling some expectation.” I was really proud of this statement.
The truth is, I would LOVE to lose weight. I don’t know how much I weight right now (scale is packed, and I’m fitting into my clothes but I’d say definitely more bloated than usual from the BC), and frankly that both excites and scares me. I’ve never been an excessive “weigh-er,” but knowing my weight really can shift my mood and my brain all day.
This morning my boyfriend told me he felt “apathetic and useless” this week. He’s been really busy (both of us have) but when he’s not busy, we’re lying in bed and watching Slings & Arrows, or eating baked goods I made, or watching movies and drinking wine. He says that on the way home from house managing (at like 11pm), he knows he “should” and wants to be writing, but he ends up just sitting.
How familiar does THIS sound, ladies?!
My therapist calls these kinds of things “shoulds.” I’ll talk to her about a day I had and accidentally throw in a “I should have gone to the gym” or “I shouldn’t have reacted that way” and she’ll catch it. “Who says?” “What’s the worst thing that could happen if you don’t?” Sometimes, now, I feel like I give myself too much slack (stayed in today instead of going to an open call audition in Brooklyn, planned on going to ballet class but didn’t), but again, who says I “should” do anything? Why should the “shoulds” control my life?
I told my boyfriend some of my rationalizations: “You’re tired. You’re exhausted– your body and brain needs a break.” He says, “I’m happiest when my brain is going. I don’t like not using it.” And I replied, “Sometimes even brains need a break.” I realized that this conversation was exactly like a conversation I have had in my own head countless times.
Something I’ve learned in the last few years is how to respect what I want, not what “they” think I “should” do. No one is watching me. Brain can’t handle reading right now? Okay, it’s tired. I’ll listen to music on the train. Body refusing to want to exercise? Maybe try again later, but maybe just assume that it’ll be ready to go again soon and it’ll let me know. Dreading an early morning audition I’m not prepared for? Don’t go. Sleep in and don’t freak yourself out.
It’s constant negotiating; constantly reminding myself that I can be the decision-maker.
Now, I live with a boy. A boy whose diet is very different than mine (I don’t eat meat, he’s a carnivore, among other things). I’ve had more ice cream since moving in with him than I’ve had in the last year combined. I don’t think I’m gaining weight, though. I think the abundance of food is a comfort… I don’t feel like I have to gorge. I get to eat breakfast and sometimes other meals with him. I don’t feel like a pig when he’s around. I’ve barely binged two or three times. Sometimes overeating, but nothing that derails my day or even necessarily puts me over a major calorie edge. I can’t weigh myself. And y’know, I think I’m just all around happier.
So yes. I’d gladly lose weight. I know that I “should.”
But I’m so enjoying living in this moment, so enjoying not letting obsessive thoughts and other people’s “shoulds” get in the way of my happiness, that I wouldn’t sacrifice any of it.
I’m not fat.
I’ll dye my hair for her. I’ll get new pictures for her. I’ll learn how to put on makeup for her.
But my happiness is more important than a number on the scale. I may lose parts because of it, but I won’t lose the ones I’m mean to have.
I’m happy right here, thanks.
I believe that we, that this planet, hasn’t seen its Golden Age. Everybody says its finished … art’s finished, rock and roll is dead, God is dead. Fuck that! This is my chance in the world. I didn’t live back there in Mesopotamia, I wasn’t there in the Garden of Eden, I wasn’t there with Emperor Han, I’m right here right now and I want now to be the Golden Age …if only each generation would realise that the time for greatness is right now when they’re alive … the time to flower is now.”
― Patti Smith