I like to think of myself as a reasonably smart person. I know I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. I have a couple of uni degrees but they aren’t science degrees or anything. I’m capable of logic and reason. I’m old enough to know that happiness has very little to do with how I look and much more to do with how I feel.
Which is why I’m bewildered that ahead of what is sure to be a series of stressful family events in the next few months my default response is to lose weight, so I’m better able to cope with facing those who don’t think much of me. I’m disappointed that my reaction to stressful events is to prepare by trying to change how I look and over-thinking my outfit.
When will I develop grown up ways to handle conflict?
Call it vanity, call it insanity, call it whatever you like. I know how shallow it is. And yet I’m still unable to stop myself from eating like Michelle Bridges and exercising like the Commando in an effort to prepare myself for the inevitable confrontations that will occur at these events.
The Mamamia Book Club Podcast, trying to be all Michelle Bridges.
Regardless of the progress women have made when it comes to looks, body image and mental health, I still feel more confident ahead of difficult events if I am a couple of kilos lighter and if my biceps flex when I reach for a carrot stick that I will daintily dip into a bowl of hummus, unlike how I eat carrot sticks and hummus at home whereby the carrot stick acts as a spoon and the amount of hummus I end up eating defeats the purpose of it being included as a “diet” food.
My family situation is a bit of a mess, that’s not what’s upsetting me. I’m old enough to realise that most people, by the time they hit 40, have a bit of a messy family situation. It’s too hard to explain. It’s complicated and decades in the making. Suffice to say that instead of looking forward to the two family events happening over the next couple of months and involving people whom I love like I love my own children, I’m freaking out.
Thus the diet.
Thus the exercise.
Thus the search for the perfect outfits.
Thus the embracing of spray tans.
The fact is that the better I think I look, the better I will be able to cope with the drama of each of these days and even though I resent the fact I am buying into this belief, I’m just not in a good enough place to challenge it and to be proud of my curves.
I just want to look awesome. Somehow I feel as though in the perfect dress with the perfect hair with toned, brown thighs I will better be able to deflect the death stares, the nasty comments and the confrontations that will occur after the people with whom I am no longer close.
Is it less about vanity and more about a childish belief that by dressing up I will have super powers? Is it as innocent as that?
Oh my gosh. Light bulb moment. I am trying to become….Wonder Woman.