Thursday, September 20, 2018

NaHaiWriMo 2018 #8: Monkeying Around + The Fight Against Perfectionism

Click the image to enlarge.
"So then I artistically blurred my photo to give a sense of moving back through time."
Nah. I moved my hand while the photo was being taken.
"But why would you want to use a photo like that? Any photographer worth their salt would delete it forthwith!"
I don't really consider myself a photographer. I'm a person who takes pictures because I enjoy it. 
This blurry photo isn't without its merits. It inspired me to create this Haiga of questionable quality.
Nobody is ever going to consider this to be a high-fallutin' work of art to rival the classics. But it is fun, and it illustrates the idea that you can make your mistakes work for you.
I have been battling perfectionism all my life. Embracing my mistakes is helpful for me. Perfectionism is an extremely destructive quality. I would like to share the ways in which it has harmed me from various perspectives.
In this post, I would like to share how physical perfectionism has caused untold harm to me and many others. Some of what I share involves my own perfectionism, and some of it involves the unrealistic standards which society imposes upon people.

On a physical level, we live in a society which demands that Number Twelve Looks Just Like You. We are supposed to aspire to a certain standard of beauty and fitness, and, if we fail to achieve such, we are deemed failures not worthy of even basic decency in the way we are treated by others.
However, rather than inspiring everyone to become super duper supermen and women, this attitude has a tendency to backfire. You end up with people who do not trust doctors because doctors continually shame them for their physical appearance or failure to be compliant with regimens that it may be impossible or intolerable for them.
So, instead of engaging in a program of regular visits to the doctor for preventative care and maintenance of chronic health issues, people avoid going to the doctor until they experience a critical problem. This helps no-one.
When my current doctor addressed my slightly elevated triglycerides (a common issue for diabetics) with "have you been indulging in treats?" I snapped. I said "I make twelve thousand dollars a year and generally eat only one or two meals a day. I eat what I can afford to purchase. I do not 'indulge.'"
In spite of the fact that this doctor is by far the most effective doctor that I have ever seen, I am considering going back to the guy who was burned out and had no fucks to give, because my current doctor has given me ample reason to mistrust her. The 'indulging in treats' bit is mere sprinkles on the body-shaming cake.
This doctor presented herself as offering a 'safe space' for larger people, and, during my first visit, appeared to live up to her promise. Thereafter, she suggested weight loss surgery and blamed my abnormal endometrial thickening on "obesity."
If you want your larger patients to believe for a second that you have any respect for them, you need to ditch the "o" word. "Obesity" is "other." "Obesity" is a pariah. "Obesity" is shit. "Obesity" is always said with a sanctimonious sneer. If you use that word, I do not trust you.
Abnormal endometrial thickening is correlated with a larger body type, but correlation is not causation. It is also correlated with being over fifty (guess I need to step into an age-regression machine), white (guess I'd better start tanning), and diabetic.
A larger body type is also correlated with type 2 diabetes. Again, correlation is not causation. I am inclined to think that abnormal pancreatic function is a strong contributing factor in both the tendency to gain weight and the endometrial hyperplasia. There may be a third factor which causes all of my endocrine issues. A heavy body type is correlated with endocrine issues, but it did not cause these issues. In fact, the reverse is true. None of my endocrine system works properly. It would be highly unlikely for me to have a thin body unless I were to become deathly ill, regardless of how little I eat or how much I exercise.
So, having a bench in your waiting room rather than just chairs with arms does not constitute offering a "safe space" for people of all sizes. I don't trust you, and that makes for an ineffective doctor/patient relationship, regardless of your ability to diagnose and possibly treat health problems.
People are not inclined to take care of things they hate, and that includes their bodies. While cleaning out my storage unit, I found numerous artifacts from the many years I spent trying to hate myself thin. Looking over the awful things I wrote about myself, thinking about all the money I spent playing a game that almost nobody wins, realizing that I caused wear and tear to my body equivalent to the harm done to it by the many years I spent working long hours at physically punishing jobs, thinking back on the times when I was sometimes spending five hours at the gym when I should have been spending that time with my son, I became extremely depressed.
To top it all off, none of this shit brought me to the goal of Magical Thinness, which would have won me the Handsome Prince with the Exactly Correct Body Fat Percentage, a billion dollars for every pound I lost during my incredibly successful "weight loss journey," fame and adoration of the masses, or anything but a far thinner wallet and a soul filled with self-loathing.
Thinspo is crap. Fitspo is crap. Dieting is crap. It's all harmful. None of it will bring you happiness, and it won't even bring you health. It will bring you self-loathing and turn you into an awful person that nobody likes.

Dieting is not about health. It is about perfectionism. The pressure to be perfect is purely for profit. Stop paying into a system that doesn't give a damn about you and thrives on your failure.

"In the long term, dieting is a spectacular waste of time for everyone except statistical unicorns." --Louise Adams


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