Read this if you wish you hadn't finished that last slice of pizza.
That's the word I've been chewing over lately. Sometimes literally.
When expressing myself and thinking about what I want in the world, stifled feels like a fitting word. My experience is not that different from others. This feeling of being stifled is especially true for women.
We're often told we're too much of something. Too bossy. Too fat. Too serious. Too emotional. Too silly. Too flighty. Too vapid. Walking the delicate line between being too cold and too emotional is impossible.
Because it's impossible, we stop. We barely walk at all actually because each step could make us fall.
Women learn at a young age to limit themselves. This often starts with food.
One obvious way we learn to limit ourselves is through dieting. Our daily walk on eggshells starts with each morsel of food that passes our lips.
At age 15, I have a distinct memory of enjoying a cookie. Some man noted, "A moment on the lips, forever on the hips" while he proceeded to eat his own cookie.
Because I was not an adult woman with the ovaries to say "fuck off," I nibbled slowly at the rest of the cookie. I promised myself it would be my last for a while. And that was when I learned that having what I wanted wasn't acceptable and it was okay for dudes to police my eating.
Years and years of this feeling of being watched every time you eat slowly wears down your psyche.
We learn by living this not to trust our bodies. Over time, we unlearn how to trust ourselves. We look outward to others to answer our questions. Or at least that was my story.
Years of ignoring hunger culminated in a total lack of attunement with my own needs and desires. Each calorie skipped was a daily reminder that my most basic instincts were incorrect.
As a young woman trying to navigate the world, I've been thinking a lot about what it means to have agency. What does it mean to ask for what you want?
It might start with asking for what you want to eat.
I hope you had a pleasant Valentine's day and President's day weekend. Self-care is important. Self-care, self-love. Whatever you want to call it.
A lot of people (like yoga instructors and crystal enthusiasts) talk about self-care.
It always sounds like meditating in your kimono after a luxurious bubble bath. I should say that I am terrible at self-care. I think most Americans are too.
That's the reason this post came late. Last week, I hadn't gotten enough sleep. I was hungry and promised to hang out with a few people. Having gotten up at 5 AM, I felt I wasn't honoring the tradition of self-care if I sat down and wrote on a Friday night, even if it was about self-care. How could I write a blog post about it?
Today, I am pushing past the pain to write.
Because that's what we do. The reason that most of us struggle with self-care is that we feel like our bodies are thwarting our productivity.
This is otherwise known as "protestant work ethic." American culture highly values productivity at all costs. The "protestant" piece of this definition alludes to morality. We work hard because we want the American Dream (which is promised to those of us who are willing). We also work hard because it is MORAL. We feel like we aren't good people if we're not working hard.
We are always supposed to be working. But, let's just say, for the sake of argument, that you need rest.
For example, we all know, that sleep is necessary. Not getting enough sleep is equivalent to being intoxicated.
How many times do you find yourself giving up sleep in the service of some big pay-off? Whether it was making a diorama in 3rd grade or answering emails at midnight, you've likely given up a lot of sleep for school, your career, or relationships.
We have been conditioned to DENY our bodies for the greater good.
Many believe that our bodies are impure. If we left it up to our bodies, we think there'd be nothing but looting, pillaging, and cookie dough binges.
This belief prevents us from loving our bodies.
Love is, after all, about trust. This is at the crux of intuitive eating. We need to re-learn trust and respect for our bodies.
If you want to feel better about your body and food, the first and most important step is LISTENING.
Next week, I'll talk more about what self-care has to do with intuitive eating. Sign up below to get the post emailed to you directly!
Here is a confession: I'm looking for a job.
As some of you may know, this experience is excruciating. It's filled with a lot of emotional ups & downs.
I find myself obsessed with dotting is and crossing ts. Or, nowadays, checking punctuation and removing the passive voice. Does my resume just not have enough action verbs? Maybe it's my formatting? Maybe I need another certification? Should I go back to school? Maybe I'm being too ambitious?
It reminds me of dieting.
This was how I thought of myself when dieting: I was doing everything just a little bit off. That was the reason why I "wasn't losing weight." I ate 12 too many crackers. Or maybe I'll add an extra mile to my run. It's because I ate 4 servings of vegetables instead of 5.
All the skinny women in New York City seemed like living proof that being skinny was an achievable goal. I felt like it was my fault that that I wasn't skinny. I was in control. It seemed like it was achievable.
Sometimes the truth is that we are not in control.
The mechanism through which most people apply to jobs is pretty broken. It's the farthest thing from meritocracy. It's usually nepotism or something like that. It's not about my action verbs or my certifications. So far, I've only been able to get interviews at companies where I know someone.
Diet's don't work either.
They don't take you where they promise they will take you.
It's not your fault that you haven't lost those 10 pounds. It's not something you did. It's not because you skipped the MCT oil. It's not because you ate 12 crackers instead of 6.
Just like it's not women's fault that they're not in C-level suites. It's not because we say "like too much." It's not like ALL WOMEN lack professionalism. It's not as if women leaned in enough, we wouldn't have a pay gap anymore.
If you're still stuck in diet mode, you can stop blaming yourself too.
The holidays have officially arrived.
Which means, as we discussed last week, that holiday weight gain talk has returned as well.
I'm happy to say this isn't Phenomenal Jane's first holiday season. So, we've got you covered with content.
Take a walk down memory lane and read some of the posts from the past! No ghosts but I do know there are a few Christmas Carol references.