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Sunday, November 04, 2012

I read something a few weeks ago and it has been battering around in my mind ever since. It came from Stephen Greenblatt’s Pulitzer Prize winner, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern. I haven’t read this yet; as a cataloguer I tend to get my hands on a lot of interesting books and have a chance to flip through them and take a peek into them before sending them to the shelves for others to check out.

What caught my eye was a quote from The Nature of Things by Lucretius, whose resurgence in the Renaissance is what The Swerve is about.

It said : “The greatest obstacle to pleasure is not pain, it is delusion.”

It made me think about the ways we delude ourselves, about the things we tell ourselves, about the things we tell others. It made me think about how we act and react to things that happen in our lives, and what we tell ourselves about why we are reacting in that way.

I bought a corset. Perhaps I should back up here and say that I absolutely love Steampunk. LUV IT! If I was twenty I’d dress Steampunk all the time. The anachronistic twist is brilliant. Very Doctor Who! Any road, Halloween was around the corner, so I bought a corset, and bought the size I should have worn, but it wouldn’t fit. Yes, they are meant to be tight, but this was more than that. It would not fit.

So I measured my waist. Something I haven’t done since April. APRIL!!!! April????? Yep. Went back and checked and since April two inches have plumped back onto my waist. I haven’t weighed myself since August 22nd either.

I knew that I had plumped. I would like to say I let circumstance get away from me. But that would be delusion, would it not? Yes, things happened that I couldn’t control. Believe me, I would never have allowed my Core Conditioning Instructor’s husband get sent to South Carolina if I had had any say in it. I would not have hired the replacement the gym did. The new instructor doesn’t like to believe that anyone has restrictions. She says things like ‘you are cheating yourself if you don’t do this to the max!’ when I actually hurt myself trying to push beyond what I knew I should do.

It was beyond my control that the pool got shut down. Swimming had become my other than running training, not to mention, the gym and the natatorium were where I’d been weighing myself.

I want to say that I was experimenting a bit that I was pushing the envelope a little to see how far I could reel myself out and still be able to reel myself back in. That I allowed time to get away from me, as time does…and you know what, before reading that quote, I might have even believed that.

The truth is that I got a bit lazy. While I did continue to track my food, and while I did stay within the calories I had been allowed, I never did adjust for losing that day of exercise, and I never replaced it with anything as intense.

I kept my balance between Carbs, Fats, and Protein, so I guess I have learned that, but the truth is that more of those Carbs were coming in the form of sugar rather than fiber, and processed sugar at that.

So, I cut back my exercise, I did not cut back my calories; I stopped measuring, I stopped weighing, but I did continue to track my nutrition. My clothes still fit, but that belly and back fat is definitely back to some extent.

And I have not been experiencing pleasure. I have felt down and irritable and haven’t known why. But delusion would certainly account for it. Especially as I try to find my center. You know how we have to put those little weights on our tires to make them spin true? I think living in delusion is like a tire without that little weight. Something is wrong, but we tell ourselves it is something other than the truth. Because the truth means seeing what is, and that can be pretty scary.

I have some soul searching to do, that’s for sure. But I am grateful to Lucretius for opening my eyes, for making me look at things straight on. It is only by naming things that we truly understand what they are, what they mean, and whether they are things that we can change or things that we must accept.

And that is the first step to experiencing pleasure and finding peace.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    When I finished your blog, I wanted to add fear as also holding as back as pleasure. But as I typed, I realized I was describing fear as simply another form of delusion. We do not want to face the consequences we've created in our minds or overcome the imaginary obstacles or we people the future with spectres and boogeymen.

    Beautifully expressed and made me think, as always. Thank you.
    1968 days ago
    Yep, I'm right there with you! 3 months, 7 lbs of pure delusion! I started eating more when I was participating in the Highland Games, practice and throwing 1-3 times a week in addition to my regular 2-a-day workouts. Stopped throwing, the gym cut back on classes.

    I have not added more activitiy, I have not cut back on food... clothes are getting tighter and I will NOT go back up a size!!! Holiday Challenge 2013 is up in RSN team as a response. I hope to not only NOT gain between now and New Years, but to also get back on the loser train!!

    Spark on!!
    2026 days ago
    Delusions and rationalizations can be our downfalls. Brutal honesty can be hard, sometimes. It is very easy sometimes to let a little bit creep back on. Butt you caught it and recognized where your problems could originate. Recognition and identification of the problem is the first step.

    I love steampunk, too. I go more for an Edwardian look. But steampink is fun, no matter the age.
    2027 days ago
  • SCOOTER4263
    I'm completely out of my league commenting on Lucretius, so I'll confine my comments to Steampunk.

    For the most part, I think that just because one can fit in one's 14 year old daughter's wardrobe doesn't mean one should wear it. That said, however, I believe fashion and fun is for everyone. There's plenty of Steampunk that is ageless and genderless - if you can't do the corset, go for the duster, the goggles and jewelry! I'm 57 years old and I happily wear Doc Martens and Chucks. When I started losing my hair, I made head wraps "my thing" and I do them differently - and joyously - each day.

    Honestly, I do understand the point of your blog, but I can't resist the temptation to hop up on my stump and promote dressing to suit yourself and express yourself, rather than dressing the way other people think you "should." So if you need a bigger size corset and you're good with it, then wear it in good health. When you're slimmer, take it in a bit. You'll get there, and you shouldn't have to put off wearing what you enjoy until you reach a certain magic number. Life is too short to put off having fun with Steampunk or anything else!

    One of the delusions we frequently seem to hold is that other people give a damn about what we do, and even if we're right on that and they do notice, what does it matter?

    PS: Doc Martens are the most comfortable shoes I've ever had - much better than the $200 orthotics my doctor prescribed for my "old lady" feet.
    2027 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/4/2012 8:54:52 PM
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