01/12/2013 by syrbal
Some conversations had recently, or those overheard make me a bit crazy-aggravated. As in, I don’t really want a hunting license even though I do love eating venison, pheasant, duck, and quail. I want a license to slap the crap out of morons spouting utter nonsense and dressing it up in politically correct drag to sound like it means something real. Since I cannot do that without wearing a shade of orange that does NOT go well with my sallow complexion, I will settle for pulling off some pretty politically correct masks to reveal the shit beneath.
Like when a fat psychology student (Yes, I said it, FAT. Scarcely out of high school and sadly, badly huffing-and-puffing-for-breath overweight!) told my very in shape disabled veteran son, age 35 this year, that he has “an Adonis complex” because he spends an hour or more at the gym several times a week. Now, my son, with injuries that will never heal and will only get worse as he ages (kind of like some of my own) goes to the gym and/or works out at home for the same reasons I do: to keep our physicality FUNCTIONAL. Of course, both of us like to be strong and look good, too. But the primary reason is, we KNOW the hard way what NOT being fully physically functional feels like. We do not like it.
Also, both of us find working out is a great stress relief and it battles depression. And yet, more and more often, I find there is an all too common habit in America of basically branding anyone working for health, strength…and by extention, beauty, as being the bad guys, the “sick” ones in some sense. As more and more Americans get fatter younger, it is becoming popular to tell Americans who work to stay in shape that THEY are the ones with body image issues. Now, I know all too well that America isn’t the place to be moderate…everything is shoved into the extreme ‘ends’ of whatever is under discussion. So as soon as someone says, “Hey, there is nothing wrong with me wanting to keep my body in shape,” everyone decides it means being an anorectic Kate Moss woman or an extreme body builder.
It does not. My son inherited my side of the family, a lean athletic body; he works very hard to keep a good muscle base; but he will never be the guy with the 60″ chest and such. He has a 48″ chest and 20″ biceps, his waist is 32″ or a bit less; he weighs in between 175 and 180 most of the time. He keeps his upper body as buffed and built as possible to make up for his damaged legs. Similarly, because my cervical spine (neck) is badly screwed up, as well as screwed together into mostly one immobile piece….which risks the vertebrae of my thoracic spine, I work hard to keep my body musculature strong enough to hold the battered bone together and be able to do the things I deem integral to life.
My son IS in spectacular condition, statistics rates his physicality in the top 2% on the planet and he is not a competitive body builder, nor does he intend to be. I am 60 years old and not in anything like top shape. I am almost 20 pounds over what those damned insurance charts the Army used say I should weigh for my height. My BMI (not a thing that is accurate or perfect in use) is about 26 or 27. But I am very strong for a 60 year old woman who has had two spinal surgeries. I can walk damned near all day. I can pretty much heave around any piece of furniture I own alone at need. (And yes, that photograph up there is the most current one of me, taken last night for this blog post. That is what a sixty year old body being worked regularly, but not starved, can look like, America. Not perfect, but good enough! No photoshop, no plastic surgery.)
I think America does have some body image issues. But not the ones that get the news, not really. I think we have a huge population of people who know next to nothing about real nutrition. I believe we have a food industry that likes selling us unhealthy crap to make money, while they think adding soy or green tea or some other faddish bit of bullshit to it entitles them to label it “healthy”. I think there are un-admitted issues like the role of high fructose corn syrup and appetite-ramping qualities of modern wheat that are affecting Americans and others in really dangerous health changing ways. But I also think America has a “justification” problem, as in any little half-assed theory will be engaged to justify something that is made of something that should be sprinkled on strawberry beds in fall along with the winter-time mulch.
Students in psychology, or nursing, or “physical training” (for pity’s sake!) who are not merely overweight, but verging on obese need to know their reality checks are bouncing into the STRATOSPHERE when THEY suggest that they are the norm and my fit and dedicated son has a “Adonis complex” of body image because he is fighting to stay healthy enough that his life-altering injuries do not dominate and shape the rest of his life. And then the next straw man argument I get whenever this topic is even tangentially touched upon? I get told I am a skinny bitch who hates fat people.
This is very much not the case; as I said, I am not skinny. I don’t hate fat people. I do intensely dislike ANY person of ANY size who does nothing but bitch continuously about how much THEY hate THEIR own body while doing nothing to CHANGE what they dislike. Either shut up or put up, ok? As far as what I consider attractive? I care far more about good posture and body carriage than I do precise weights and tape measures. I like my men meaty, thanks. I’m going to give you entirely too much information here, don’t faint. If I put my teeth in the guy’s shoulder, I sure as hell don’t want to chip a BONE!
And since I am one of those people, in spite of an absolutely faithful monogamous hetero marriage, who is not ashamed to say a good-looking woman turns me on as much as a hot guy….I have varied tastes there, too. I think Catherine Mannheim is delectable. And I’d steal that wife away from Michael Douglas, too, were I free and clear of having ever said “I do.” I don’t like women who look like I might break them, perhaps in another story-line I am a Klingon?
So don’t give me any shit about being a fat hater. I’m a bullshit hater. I’m an excuse hater. I’m an existentialist who is fed the fuck up with people calling shit “shinola” and getting away with it. Think it, say it, do it, live it, BE it or stay out of my reach. I’ll cut that damned mask off your face and hang it on my wall for a decoration!