Oh my Gap yoga pants, I can’t believe the realization I just had! It feels sort of like when you plan two things for the same date and it is as if you are living in parallel worlds. You suddenly realize that, while you are quite the multi-tasker, it is doubtful that you can be at two places at one time. In a similar manner, I have been inhabiting parallel thought lives. In one, I am striving to balance the desire for a cute backside and the realities that baby-producing mayhem leaves “behind” (pardon the pun). This Amy longs to accept the aging process as a natural one; she strives to be healthy but not obsessive. My other self isn’t quite as mentally healthy; she gauges her state of “fitness” with the bathroom scale rather than how many laps she can run or how many glasses of water she has consumed today. She plays lip service to the ideals of healthy living but is tempted by web ads promising to help her “Lose Two Pounds in 45 minutes.” These worlds collided the other day in the non-fiction DVD section of my favorite library. (Fear not; no patrons were injured in the collision, only my wounded self-image.) I often try to check out fitness DVDs to avoid the purchase price of abs of steel and yet “keep it fresh” during my morning workout routine. As my hand reached out for The Skinny Bitch Workout DVD, I strongly sensed that my body image needed some serious realignment. It wasn’t the use of the b-word I found so troubling, but rather the s-word, “skinny.” My better self screamed at a nearly audible level “Since when did you decide that being skinny was the equivalent of being attractive?!” She was even tempted to call me the b-word, but in a loving yet in-your-face kind of way. This is not to say that skinny people can’t be beautiful. I have several friends who prove the two not to be mutually exclusive. Nor is this to say that being overweight, with all the health problems associated with obesity, is okay. But there is a great expanse between skinny and obese (again, pardon the pun).
When, exactly, had I strayed from the middle ground into a more extreme view of what I desire to be? I certainly would never set that standard for my daughter, yet if that is the bar I set for myself then my words would seem to be little more than lip service. So how does one land in the ever-elusive middle ground with out falling to either extreme? Darned if I know. It is certainly easier to spot the detours others take than seeing clearly my own wanderings. I wince when I hear friends articulate attitudes contrary to my proclaimed ideals of embracing the various proportions of bodies. But do I wince because they are wrong or because whether I like it or not, I fall prey to the same misconceptions of what our goals should be regarding the state of our physical beings. And that is the point, right? “Skinny bitches” desire to be desired and admired for their candy-coated shell. I can strive and sweat and that’s okay as long as it is with a higher purpose in mind. Just as I would not want to dishonor Christ with unhealthy habits of gluttony and sloth, I should not be dishonoring Him by highjacking the temple created for His glory. It all comes down to your heart. So from now on I’m sweatin’ for Jesus and not for self.