Enough Already

enoughI think that one of the most damaging, despicable and erroneous messages that the diet industry uses to sell us their products that don’t work, is that unless we’re thin, we will never be enough.  Our lives will never be enough, our accomplishments will never be enough.

Sure you won a Grammy for your first CD and an Oscar for your first film, but are you thin?  You’re the governor of a state and people want you to run for President, but are you thin? You’re thin now so we expect you to maintain that obsessively so that you are never not thin.  You eat nourishing foods and move your body regularly, but are you thin? You’re a great mother but are you thin?  You’re a successful business person but are you thin? You’re 4 years old but are you thin? You’re 94 years old but are you thin? You cured cancer but are you thin?

Enough already.

Let’s take a moment to consider that this is an artificial construct.  That being thin is only valuable because of what our culture values at this time.  The body size that is culturally valuable has been different at different times, and currently varies tremendously in different cultures and under different circumstances.

Let’s also be honest that if our body doesn’t match the ideal body for the culture and time in which we live, that can well and truly suck. We have some options:  we can try to change our bodies, we can try to change the culture, or we can live outside it (somewhere on the spectrum from deliriously happy to miserable).  But I’d like us to consider something.  Consider that doing any of those things doesn’t change one simple thing:  We are, each of us, already enough. Our intrinsic value is already beyond measure and, though we can forget that or try to profess it away, our inherent amazingness cannot be diminished by an arbitrary cultural stereotype of beauty, or an industry that seeks to make us hate ourselves so that we buy their useless products.

Consider that we are not more valuable if there is less of us, or less valuable if there is more of us.

Imagine what our society would be like if we realized the value of all bodies.  If we expanded the concept of beautiful people to include everyone, thus rendering it both ultimately powerful, and completely powerless. Imagine how different our lives would be if we understood that comparing our body to anyone else’s is complete folly- as ridiculous as looking at two snowflakes and suggesting that one is more beautiful.

How would our lives be different, how would we use our time, energy, and money if we realized this one simple truth:  We are enough already.

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Published in: on May 27, 2013 at 10:09 am  Comments (17)  

17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. your essays are powerful and leave me with a wonderful feeling of peace. Thank you. (for the zillionth time) —Jen

  2. “…as ridiculous as looking at two snowflakes and suggesting one is more beautiful.” That is such an awesome metaphor, Ragen, I love it. And the folly is so apparent when put like that. I frequently tell students that we are all as unique as a snowflake. Yes, just imagine such a society where all snowflakes are valued. The thought makes me swoon. (And what Jen said!!)

    • right back at ya! :)

    • as ridiculous as looking at two snowflakes and suggesting that one is more beautiful. Yes!

  3. Thank you for this.

  4. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and you have helped me process a lot of the mixed messages I receive about my body every day and changed how I see myself and respond to others around. That’s powerful stuff. This post is one of the best I’ve read. Thank you.

  5. But… but… if we stop worrying so much about meeting an arbitrary and largely unattainable goal… we might DO something about stuff like ending poverty, reversing global warming (or at least slowing it down!), demanding industrial safety, providing useful medical care to all, creating spectacular art, or coming up with a plan for world peace! We can’t have that!

    Oh dear, once again I’ve gone and dripped sarcasm all over the floor. Sorry. I’ll just go and get my mop.

  6. We do more harm to ourselves with this hatred of our fat bodies than we’d ever do having fat bodies that’s the sad part.

  7. Thank you so much for posting this. I really needed this today.

  8. This post resonates with me so deeply I feel like I should have it tattooed on me or something.

    • perhaps a snowflake tattoo? The analogy is beautiful.

      • That’s a beautiful idea!

  9. I learned about being “enough” when I became aware of the size acceptance movement and joined like-minded people. I stopped worrying about weight loss. What a freeing feeling!

  10. I noticed that ‘you are not enough unless you are thin’ attitude on many weight-loss commercials. One where someone said they wanted to do a triathlon (the point being you can’t do one unless you are thin).

    One of my good friends did a number of triathlons and she is definitely not thin. She would still do them if he knees weren’t out of cartilage. (She is holding out on surgery because of her age, not her size. Each surgery will take away some of the bone, and she will probably have to so several over her lifetime. She is trying to conserve as much bone as possible.)

    I personally know many fantastic people at a whole range of sizes. The world would be much poorer place if the larger ones bought into the thinness crap.

    People have enough insecurities without ads and society feeding into this crap.

  11. I get very tired of the “useless until (insert whatever here)” and the “You aren’t a special little snowflake.”

    (rhetorical questions, so if you really do want to answer them go ahead!)

    First, please tell me how I am useless because I am not thin, or a male?

    Second. Please explain to me how I am not a special snowflake? All snowflakes are different, you very rarely ever find two that are exactly the same, I don’t seem to see anyone else like me, care to show me where that person is?

  12. The fact is: almost everybody has (at least) one fat person in their lives that they love. How can we buy into this “not good enough” stuff when we think about the fat people we love? I always think about my fat grandmother who was so strong, had 15 children, lived to be 90, bought a farm when she was 78, and took care of her huge garden and her cows until she was 89. She was impressive, that lady. If anybody tells me that something was wrong with her body and that she was “not thin enough”, I would say that they are CRAZY.

  13. It’s Memorial Day. I was just thinking I met a Vietnam vet who was overweight. One of my other friends who is no longer in the military is overweight. My former landlady could no longer fit in her WAC uniform. I’ve seen pictures of vets on TV at various events who were no longer thin.

    If anybody dared criticized these people for no longer being thin while we were talking about their military service, everyone else would (rightly) come down on them like a ton of bricks.

    So there is some sort of line that gets drawn. Having successfully completed military service seems to be on the other side. Especially if you were in danger during your service.

    I think that is the only scenario where people are not criticized about weight.

    Yes, I know people currently in service have a weight goal, regardless of whether they meet other requirements.

    I also know the ‘boot camp’ idea of physical fitness is popular right now.

    It is probably also true that fat shaming happens to these folks when they are out of uniform and it isn’t a day to recognize former military folk.

    I’m not really sure where I’m going with this, just the idea that there is such a limited time when you can’t do fat-shaming, and only for certain types of people. Otherwise, anything goes.

    Don’t we all deserve respect all the time for all the things we do?


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