I’m on a mission right now.
And part of this mission is doing something I have not let myself do for over a decade: enjoying the food I eat without any guilt afterwards.
I come back to My Body & Soul once again. When I started that project, I had gained some “grad school weight” (I don’t know if that’s what it’s called, but it’s a thing – it was for me, anyway) and I was simultaneously learning and unlearning a lot about Islam.
The truth of the matter is many Islamic teachings go against what modern society tells us we should be aiming for. With respect to eating, fasting is a highly meritorious act of worship. And yet we live in a world of gastronomy, bombarded with images telling us to EAT. Yet also simultaneously telling us that our bodies should look like we don’t eat at all.
Hijab, as a concept, is supposed to take us above that and move our focus away from our bodies (and nafs quite frankly) and back to God… and yet, here I am, a headscarf-wearing woman who wants to be thin but also wants to be above the fray of caring about image. I wear the headscarf out of a sense of religious duty and devotion, but I haven’t fully embraced its greater purpose.
This year, as I know I have mentioned before, marks a full decade of my 100+ pound weight loss (officially in August). But I’ve always hated that I’ve had to use that +, that it couldn’t be an exact number. Because each year I have been in a “thin” body, my body has been telling me that this new weight of mine is not the weight I should be. I used to think it was due to lack of willpower that I had regained some weight. But I know now that I have been fighting against my body for a decade, if not my entire life. I kept telling myself, “I’m not anorexic or bulimic and never have been. I also don’t over-exercise.” But just because I am not underweight doesn’t mean that I am the best weight for my body. I hate to admit that and I have been unable to admit this until recently. Honestly, I don’t know if I truly believe it. What I am doing right now is a bit of an experiment.
Even though gaining weight for someone who is already at a normal weight sounds weird (like why would anyone do that?), I know things aren’t the way they should be. I’ve been masking it for a number of years. The comments felt good, I won’t lie, and the fear of getting comments in the reverse make me want to not leave the house. But I know the biggest battle I will have to face, at least when it comes to my body, is being okay with being at a higher weight that for the past decade I told myself was too high, not good enough.
So much of my self-worth is tied to my weight, what size I wear, how my body looks in comparison to other women around my age (and even younger!).
But I don’t want to care about those things. They aren’t important in the grand scheme of things. This cognitive dissonance is just not sustainable.
I find it rather amazing SubhanAllah that in the year of my 10-year anniversary of weight loss, what I am doing to “celebrate” is to gain some weight. I can’t help but find the subtle humour in all this.
I may not have the result that I am seeking by doing this little experiment of mine, but I know that I must face my fears that will come with it, regardless.
I am not letting myself go completely.
I am not a failure for gaining 10 pounds – and never was.
My worth does not come from the size of my pants.
I can’t live my life out of fear of what someone might say – those are the types of people who are going to find some fault regardless.
This is what I tell myself on an abstract level. But I haven’t truly embraced it, because my actions have contradicted these affirmations. Now the rubber will have to meet the road.