Every year I write out a list of resolutions, goals, things I want to accomplish and places I want to go. From December 31st to January 15th I push myself to eat better, work out every day, journal every day, go to sleep early and hydrate. By the 16th of January I’ve lost all momentum and suddenly I’m spending hours scrolling through Instagram with my 5th coffee in one hand and a bag of chocolate covered almonds in the other. I know a lot of people go through this too. They start the year with the best of intentions but the goals are too much, too drastic, too vain or too unrealistic when it comes to their lifestyle. Before they’ve even begun, their subconscious has already given up.
Before bed on December 31st, 2020, I wrote out 12 resolutions for this year. There’s one about writing and self-publishing, one about drinking more water, one about working out, one about eating better, and one about celebrating small moments. Reading them back this morning, I noticed that a lot of them were about my weight (because even when I write I will work out to be healthy I know I mean I will work out to get skinnier). Why do I feel the need to start each year with losing weight? Why do I feel the need to be smaller? What is wrong with my big hips, thick thighs, cellulite-infused ass?
The short answer is NOTHING. Nothing is wrong with the woman I was last year, nothing is wrong with my weight or pant size. Over the last few years, I’ve written a lot about my relationship with food and body image on She Does the City and Healthy is Hot. It seems like no matter how many times I write about this subject, I always end up less than impressed with myself. Some days I love myself, I love my fucking body and I am proud of how it looks, how strong and healthy it is. Other days I can’t even look in the mirror.
So yes, I should drink more water because all of the coffee I drink worsens my anxiety. Yes, I should move my body more because when I don’t, I feel unhappy and restless. I should eat less processed and sugary foods because they aren’t good for anyone. I should get outside more because nature makes my soul feel free.
BUT, what I need more than anything in 2021 is to unlearn. Unlearn all of the things that I believe about the way a woman’s body should look. Unlearn the idea that women should be small and quiet. Unlearn fear. Unlearn the idea that I can’t do it (whatever it is) even though I’ve never tried. Unlearn the idea that perfection is the ultimate goal. Unlearn all of the negative ways that I talk to myself.
My first step in unlearning is asking why. Why do I feel guilty about not wanting to have children? Why do I think there is something wrong with my body? Why have I been taught that sex is secret and taboo? What else have I been taught (either by society or by my family) that I don’t agree with or want to live by?
The next step is to relearn. Read about other women who have chosen a childless life, look at myself in the mirror and point out what I love rather than that I’ve been told to hate, and stop my judgements of others before they hatch in my mind. Continue to ask myself questions about anything that doesn’t sit right with my soul. Read about them. Place myself in uncomfortable situations. Take risks. Try. Question. Repeat.
So here’s to 2021 – my year of unlearning and relearning.