It would be really nice if someone could break down the American fixation or preoccupation on weight. I am currently in Los Angeles on vacation and just finished lunch today with one of my favorite people in the world, a previous "love of my life's" mother who I try to spend some time with every summer I return to L.A. I know, we stereotypically aren't supposed to love our mother in laws, and definitely aren't responsible to maintain a relationship with the mothers of lovers from our past, but you would have to meet this woman to fully understand how loving her is an undeniable occurance. Anyway, consider that backdrop for my larger point (no pun intended). When I meet my psuedo mother she greets me with a warm loving hug, and then says "You've gained some weight? It looks good on you." I didn't even hear the second statement complimenting me on how good I look, because this woman that I adore commented on my weight.
Now some of you may be surprised to hear me going on and on about my weight because traditionally or stereotypically men don't often discuss their weight, more so, not publically. Well, this man does, with the obvious question possibly being, why was I rattled by her acknowlegement of my weight gain (a mere 12 lbs over the weight she last saw me at... so don't crowd me too much about not being on top of my game). Another might be why was it immediately a negative, instead of a positive? Another could be, was she trying to be the focus of a blog (okay, so maybe that question wouldn't be so obvious to you)?
Any way, to be honest about it I must ask myself why my weight is so tied to my self esteem? Granted, when I buy clothes and start to be uncomfortable in them because they no longer fit, it makes sense that I might become somewhat preoccupied. After all, it means that I may need to purchase larger clothing, and soon, or I won't be comfortable physically, and will probably be uncomfortable spiritually and psychologically because of the way I imagine others witnessing my discomfort. Where does anxiety/paranoia orinate? In some societies it is a completely different dynamic, and girth has worth. This all brings me back to my sagging esteem, which transcends fitness and other's perception of that fitness. My diminishing esteem also makes me consider whether or not my weight gain is a factor of my inactivity, overwork which has me lazy after a long day, poor diet, social stresses, drop in self esteem due to others extraneous factors, seasonal realities (try living in the North Country and not be into winter sports). The bottom line is this, even after psuedo mom specifally reminded me of her having previously said, on numerous occassions, that I was too small and needed to gain weight, when I knew I had accomplished her ideal, it was still somewhat inconsequential in comparison to my ideal, that I don't want anyone noticing any weight gain, but any comment about a weight loss, is somehow received as cool. Weight matters are issues hard to resolve. Weight matters because so many of us have bought into some type of notion, albeit reinforced everywhere you look, that our weight makes a statement about us (albeit nobody can truly definitively articulate what that statement is). Weight matters because we convince ourself it does, and then reinforce that fact with judgments, while we fire up a cigarette, order a second drink, then a third, excessivly speed in our car as if the experts who set the speed limit were inept in not recognizing your skill, put on extra salt everytime we eat food -- without even tasting it, put on extra sugar in the same fashion, etc. etc. Somebody please tell me, considering all of this, why does weight matter, or why at times does it matter more than other weighty concerns?