Vital Writer

Rachel, Untethered. Where spirituality meets zerofux.

I can’t believe I have to write this again!

Comedian/Author Jenny Eclair
Whelp, god did a good job pushing me over the edge today. I cannot believe I have to write this again – almost twenty years after publishing my book I’m Beautiful, Dammit! whose title was inspired by the song performed by Uncanny Alliance at the Aids Dance-a-thon I attended in NYC in 1993. I was floored and lifted by the lyrics,

I’m not to short
I’m not too tall
I’m not too big
I’m not too small
Oh lemme start lovin’ myself!

. . . sung by the brilliant boa’d chanteuse to live house beats in front of a frenzied crowd of dance maniacs. It took on a vibrant meaning inside of me that drove two careers across nearly three decades

Okay, so here I go one last time and you mark my words: 
there’s nothing wrong with my body, dammit!

After twenty years of personal growth exceeding my wildest dreams, successfully meeting, marrying and staying married to my right man, birthing and raising two healthy boys, nine years of achieving my highest professional dreams. After a two-year pandemic of horror and fear recalibrating us (I thought) to care less about the BS and more about what actually matters (love!). After George Floyd’s murder, racial reckoning, mass shootings, amping climate crisis, flood, famine, drought, surviving peri-menopause and arriving at menopause:  I thought I’d finally learned to give zerofux about the small stuff, and instead scale down to caring only about what truly matters. But nooooo, here comes the system to slap me right back into my place: a woman with the wrong body. 

 ( ( ( sigh   ) ) )

Ten pounds heavier and one inch shorter than my pre-pandemic, pre-menopause body.

I had to see these dismal numbers reiterated to me twice today. Twice. First a home visit by the life insurance company to make sure I’m not too sick or obese to be the benefactor of my husband’s new policy. And then later at our trusted state Health Institution where my family participates in a fitness program we enrolled in to pull my youngest son out of his pandemic-induced weight gain. At the check in we all had to succumb to various degrading biometric measurements including a barefoot ride on the body-composition-o-mometer, replete with ridiculous gaming handles that dictate to an electronic screen the (supposedly) exact fat/muscle/water content of each quadrant of our bodies. Oy vey.

Terry, my technician, is embarrassed and dare I say slightly afraid and nervous as she timidly reads the report to me, “Too high of a BMI, and you’re overweight,” she reports practically under her breath while averting eye contact because she knows it’s so offensive to be saying this to me.

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me Terry, I so badly want to blurt out. I instead take a deep breath and stay quiet. Here I am a 54-year-old strong, proud recently-croned woman, celebrating the one-year mark of shutting down my lifelong fitness career which pushed my body to the edge – finally able to quit driving myself so hard. And I’m being told I am overweight.

“I don’t think you’re fat,” she continues. 

Terry, I don’t give a fuck what you think, I so, so badly want to scream. But instead I again take a slow deep breath and try to compose something better. I opt for, “Terry, don’t take this personally, but that’s so fucked up.” 

“Well, there has to be some standard,” she uncomfortably murmurs, half apologetically, and hopefully ashamed. Terry is a fellow aging woman. How can you say this to me Terry?! And I wonder to myself, Why does there need to be just one standardHow can there be one standard ? Who’s body is the standard Terry?  You’re harming people with this ‘standard’ Terry!

And Terry Technician, you’re telling this to me this – a woman who cooks every meal from scratch from a local organic farm share for God’s sake. A woman who doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, doesn’t drug, doesn’t scroll or troll, who studies A Course in Miracles, who walks an hour a day, eats no processed or fast foods, and is practically the poster woman for health of body, mind and spirit. To be told as a 54-year-old, 5’6”, 161 pound menopausal woman who’s devoted her entire life to fitness and well being that I’m overweight is just flat out obscene. 

To be reduced to wrong. After having written a book on body image, dedicating two careers to inspiring people to love the bodies that they’re in. After having tried my whole life to change the size of my body through over-exercising – as insidious and shape shifting as exercise bulimia is. After coming to terms with the fact that my body is shrinking in height and expanding in width as I age – just like everyone else’s. After having literally just looked up the book Older & Wider and chuckled at the brazen audacity of the author’s full frontal bra and undies shot. 

And even though Terry Technician winced as she said, “The numbers show that you’re overweight,” she did say this. She had to say this: it’s written into the programming.

I then informed Terry Technician, “These tests are bogus: they told me the same thing when I was all muscle at the height of my fitness career in L.A. twenty years ago.” Terry was clearly uncomfortable, shifting in her seat, glancing away, visibly disturbed to have to upset the fat lady. 

What do you think this does to women when you tell them this All Mighty Health Institution? We’ve been tyrannized our whole lives with the proverbial carrot in front of our nose — that someday we might be lucky enough to have the right body. Oh the treacherous hypnosis we’ve undergone, the tragic waste of sacred life energy we’ve lost to this un-winnable game. 

Fuck that! I quit!
Comedian Jenny Eclair How to be a Middle Aged Woman (without going insane), and author of Older and Wider  

Scoping Out: There’s always something people are struggling with: money, relationships, work, career, family, friends, spouse, car, house, possessions. This money-making, mind-controlling trap of We can imprison you right inside your very own mind, inside your self loathing and self hatred, is done intentionally to capitalize on our vulnerabilities and weaknesses and to profit off of us all. 

The Body Shame Profit Complex” is what Sonya Renee Taylor succinctly coined it in her book The Body is not An Apology. You can have it all, the whole damn American dream:  health, wealth, status, job, family, love, safety, shelter.  But if your body is not right you will sit in a self-imposed mental jail of dissatisfaction, you will be miserable and you will buy all kinds of stupid shit to try to change it. Our patriarchal, capitalistic, fear-based systems all prey on this. And to be sure, it is systemic: it is written into the system that my body is wrong. It is baked into the cake of our society. Our precious unique energetic signature in physical human form, reduced to rubble. How fucking obscene.  

PS. After two days of raging, I had a sit down with my PT friend who happens to work for said Health Institution. She told me that the infamous body-composition-omometer that deemed me overweight is a known joke among her fellow coworkers who were all systematically labeled obese by it. WTAF?!

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Rachel, Untethered
Spirituality meets zerofux