Monday, October 31, 2011
Another member's blog got me to thinking about body image. When did I start to notice I even had a body?
Growing up in Florida I was free as a bird. I was frequently at the beach and outside daily, even in the rain. We didn't think about exercise back in the 60's. It was built in. My grandmother had avacado and citrus trees growing on her property. We ate family dinners at a set time at the dinner table , although sometimes we got to eat on tv trays. How healthy watching the Vietnam War raging on the tube doesn't seem healthy to me looking back. I was a healthy kid. I'd get sick about once a year, and unless it was tonsilitis it usually only lasted til late afternoon causing my mother to wonder if I faked it. (No - I loved school)
Then came culture shock. We got uprooted to New England. I think it took me 2 full years to thaw out. I was freezing in my house let alone go outside unless it was to and from the school bus or to church on Sunday morning. I was in charge of getting meals on for our now family of 3 (the older kids and my dad got to stay in Florida). My specialties- macaronni and cheese and grilled cheese sandwiches. Vegetables - dump some from a can into a pan and heat. I think this must have been the time snacks were introduced into the household. The chips we only had at picnics were ever present. Ice cream was too, ready to be scooped into whenever boredom hit, as opposed to the weekly treat when the neighborhood kids ran to greet the ice cream truck . My mom had a great job as a dental hygenist and brought home lots of snacks for us from the practice. I found out the office girls were always on diets,, but that was many a moon later).
Pizza came later. The greasy, sloppy, all-cheese version the roller skate rink snack bar offered. When my dad eventually moved up north, my weekly exercise was at the rink. A safe place to go for the weekly visitation. I loved roller skating, but the rink was in the next town over or I probably would have lived there.
Then it happened. As if I wasn't miserable enough I became aware of body image. I was by no means fat, but nor was I the energetic little girl that "ate like a bird" as my grandmother would say. The day came in home-ec that we had to get measured for the skirts we were to make for ourselves. I didn't think anything of this until one of the girls saw my measurements. She burst into laughter. Well, laughter is contagious and kids are cruel.
High school came and I evened out. Not fat, not Valeri Bertenelli slim. Still, in the back of my mind was that haunting laughter. Body image was never too far from my mind.
Those of the roots of my body image. Then the pendulum swang, I got fat. Now I'm trying to balance out for my health's sake. Meanwhile, there are other important things in life to focus on. My body image will improve as my health improves and I tone up and slim down. I'm a happier person than I have been in a very long time.