Today I read the section on how men and women react differently to shame. According to Brown, a lot of the shame we experience results from us feeling like we're not living up to the stereotypical expectations for our respective genders that we have bought into and been socialized to value. I don't feel much pressure to be feminine, to be seen as effortlessly perfect, domestic, or nurturing. What I did find myself resonating with was the expectations described for men - strong, in charge, never showing weakness, not being a pussy. Hell, I told someone to stop being a pussy this morning.
Then there was a whole section on shame, sex, rejection, and back fat and it got me thinking about my recent negativity towards my own body. I might have shown my narcissistic colors this week on Facebook, but the gremlins even get to me from time to time.
Lately I've become very dissatisfied with the extra weight that I think that I am carrying. I actually couldn't care less about the actual number but I am extremely unhappy with the amount of body fat I have. I am living proof that you cannot out train a crappy diet and I have been making a more concerted effort to eat clean. But that didn't keep me from drinking a bottle of wine and going to White Castle last night. I've been focusing a lot on what jiggles and if there is more jiggling than say 3 months ago. I know I should be proud of my recent PRs but instead I find myself thinking that if I weren't so fat, then toes to bar wouldn't be the horribly painful and humiliating experience they currently cause.
I asked Rachel to take the picture below the other day after we finished Diane. A year ago I couldn't imagine being able to do a headstand against a wall. Now I stick my head between my hands and just put my legs up there. I was so excited that my new Fabletics camo Moro shorts had finally arrived and I got to wear my super cute outfit to WOD with my friends. I wanted this photo so I could post it all over Facebook and my blog and send it to my friends and family and that kid I want to sleep with. But when Rachel sent it to me, the only thing I could see was how my inner thigh fat is sticking out over the elastic creating sausage-like muffin tops. I sent it to my mom. I wasn't going to put it on ISOOM at all.
And that's pretty stupid. Yes, I should stop eating Cheetos and Chinese food, but I made some really great food choices this week. And I need to eat if I'm going to bust my ass 6 days a week. When my jeans feel snug, I immediately think about upping the study meds, buying a pack of cigarettes, and skipping solid food for the entire weekend. I'm sure most people who see this photo wouldn't notice my thigh fat, but there would be those who do and who would think or say some really snarky things about it. I notice people's thigh fat in photos. I am that snarky person. So when my gremlins start attacking me, they have the most vicious voice I know - my own.
One of the major themes in Daring Greatly is not keeping shame inside. By calling it out, writing about it, or sharing it with others, we take away its power. Clearly I interpreted this to mean "share it on the interwebs," although I think Brown intended for people to confide in a trusted person. So this is me admitting that sometimes, and actually a lot of times recently, I am ashamed of the fat I see and I choose clothing that I think will hide it. If I have a problem with my body fat percentage, I should make some actual beneficial changes, like cutting down on alcohol and cutting out prepackaged foodstuffs that are dyed neon orange. However, I shouldn't let my mind run wild with negative thoughts about my body because that just fosters more shame, more feelings of inadequacy, and results in self-destructive behavior.
If this post made you think or feel or want to say something, I would love to read about it in the comment section. If you'd like to reach out and talk about it in real life, that's cool too, but please preface the conversation with, "I was reading your blog" so that I know what you're talking about and don't go on the defensive. Also, you should read the book.