The quote was this:
“Our bodies are changing every second. Yet we take the body to be our Self; and, speaking in terms of it, we say, “I am hungry” or “I am lame;” “I am black” or “I am white.” These are all just the conditions of the body. We touch the truth when we say, ‘My body aches,’ implying the body belongs to us and that therefore we are not that.”
― Swami Satchidananda
Often in hospitality, I receive strange (to put it mildly) requests from customers. However; I’m not entirely blaming them as I myself, am also guilty of previously having altered a menu item (or ten). If you work in the industry or you’re anything like 99% of women, then you’re bound to be familiar with the following common requests:
“I’ll have a (insert meal high in fat and calories here) with a diet coke please”
“dressing on the side”, “no dressing”
“can I swap my potatoes for a side salad?” (as if eating potatoes is the ultimate sin)
The list is endless…
Arguably, the core of such requests is bad body image; a desire to be thinner in order to be more beautiful (a misconception, obviously, as recently highlighted by Meghan Trainor and co). I wonder, when did food change from a blessing, one to be savoured, looked forward to and most importantly appreciated, to a chore and/or burden which requires strategic planning to conquer? Intellectually, I understand it; media, photoshop, unrealistic beauty standards, celebrities with eating disorders, society as we know it (nothing easier than blaming society). That being said, we are all conscious beings. Ones who have the ability to think, problem solve and differentiate from the kinds of shit society forcefully feeds our brains on a daily basis and the “truth” or life as we know it.
In my mere 22 years, my weight has often fluctuated (as I’m certain so has yours). At times I have felt like a scarecrow and at others, I have not (to put it gently). Why? Because; life. In his book entitled Finding Your Element, Sir Ken Robinson states: “Life is organic, not linear”. Meaning; none of us can effectively predict our future as our lives are neither programmed nor deliberate. Instead, our lives (and our bodies) are in a constant state of transformation. Because; life. Deadlines. Heartbreak. Redundancy. Death. Bills. Assignments. Stress. Stress. Stress. Change. Change. Change. In my favourite book of all time, Eat Pray Love, Elizabeth Gilbert also reflects on this process:
“I look at the Augusteum,and I think that perhaps my life has not actually been so chaotic, after all. It is merely this world that is chaotic, bringing changes to us all that nobody could have anticipated. The Augusteum warns me to not to get attached to any obsolete ideas about who I am, what I represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may once have intended to serve. Yesterday I might have been a glorious monument to somebody, true enough–but tomorrow I could be a fireworks depository. Even in the Eternal City, says the silent Augusteum, one must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
“One must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.”
“Our bodies are changing every second.”
Today, to be thin is to be everything. Skinny is the ultimate aspiration. And. I. Loathe. It. Perhaps I would hate it less if I were skinny, if I were benefiting from the system, the game. But, you know, I could be skinny. I have been skinny before. I could devote all my time, thoughts, energy, life to it. But I don’t want to. Actually, I cannot afford it. YOLO (you only live once)? Heaven? Hell? Metempsychosis? Whatever your belief system, we can all agree life is inestimable, invaluable, precious, GREAT. Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging gluttony or ill-health but rather inviting you all to view your body with a different lens. You are entirely up to you. You are capable of endless wisdom, creativity, achievement. You are so much more than your ever-shifting weight. AK.