Brain Exercises

Here’s the deal, if I would’ve decided that my blog days were for Mondays, you might be getting a very different post. Last Monday, I felt jaded and cynical and basically wanted to go live under a rock. It is always interesting to me how quickly our thoughts can change. How, just one sunny day can make a difference. Lucky for all of you, today’s post is the culmination of good ass television (that’s the technical term if you didn’t now), sunshine, MY FIRST WHALE SIGHTING, and youth. There are other things I could sprinkle in there, but those are the main mood changers. Of course, for the purpose of this blog, I am mainly going to focus on that good ass television. As y’all know, I can’t discuss the good without the bad. (This could be the most dramatic blog yet.)

There is a lot of bad television I could write about on here. I am basically the queen of bad TV. I watch these TV shows knowing full well how toxic they can be. Case in point, The Bachelor. The Bachelor is drama gold. All you really need for drama is to put a bunch of strangers in a room and boom there will be drama. BUT THEN you have them all start dating the same person. Pure. Gold. Many of you may or may not know that The Bachelor received some heavy backlash at one point because it is super white. Like whiter than an Irish person in the middle of winter (I’m Irish, so it’s okay. PS Happy St. Patty’s Day). Then they got Rachel Lindsay as the bachelorette and she was a queen and, coincidentally (not really), the first black bachelorette… on the 13th season. It took bachelor nation quite some time to own up to their lack of diversity, but once the conversation started they couldn’t put it away. We were then graced with Rachel. Even though, I disagreed with her decision, she made a great bachelorette. #teampeter4life. Now, there is a new conversation I would like to start with bachelor nation.

It may surprise you when I say I want to go on the The Bachelor. I can’t think of anything more exciting than trying to find love in front of the nation. Plus, like bomb-ass dates that you can’t really get anywhere else. I also figured if I can’t find love the good ole’ fashion tinder way, I could try my hand at that. Of course, the thing that plays over and over in my head is that I don’t think there has ever been a bachelorette on the show that is over a size 4. I am sure you can see where this is going. “If I lose weight, I can find love!” Apparently, all really is fair in love and war. I guess it’s fair that I didn’t feel worthy because of my size and wanted to change everything about me. I guess it is fair that only thin girls should get a chance on the bachelor. What guy would pick the bigger girl anyhow? WHAT A CROCK! **Catch that Three Men and a Little Lady reference**

I had these thoughts all last weekend, dancing around in my head. Wondering what the scale would say on my next weigh-in day. Did I lose 100 pounds this weekend? I sure hoped so. “I wish I wasn’t fat.” STOP. “I wish I felt worthy.” STOP. “I wonder what I will look like with less fat.” STOP. “What if I lose the weight and I still feel unworthy?”

STOP.

Then it happens. Tuesday. I wake up with the same thoughts, but end the day with a completely different head. “Why?” you might ask. That’s right, more television. I have cable now, okay? This show, unlike the bachelor, reminded me that I am more than that damn number. In fact, I am a human being. SURPRISE! Not a robot. So, if you aren’t watching This Is Us, I urge you to catch up. They just ended the second season, so you have plenty of time until season 3. You’re welcome. *Minimal spoiler alerts ahead* This last episode was about Kate (played by the ever-so-lovely Chrissy Metz) and her wedding day. Honestly crying just thinking about it. That’s how you know it is some damn good writing. For those of you that don’t know, Kate is plus-size. Here I am ruminating about how I need to lose weight to find love and then I see this beautiful women in this beautiful wedding dress and I started to cry. Representation matters. I know it’s a fictional show and Kate is an actress and she wasn’t really getting married, but it made me hit the breaks. It stopped my toxic bachelor thoughts dead in their tracks. It turned my “I need to lose weight to be on the Bachelor” to “LET FAT WOMEN GET A CHANCE AT LOVE.” Maybe we could start it trending? They had #bachlorsowhite last time, so I’m thinking #bachelorsothin? Open to others though.

On the most recent season of the bachelor, Seinne Fleming, a black woman, shared that as a kid she didn’t see women like her find love and that impacted the way she saw herself. It made me think about the plus-size women I have seen find love on TV. I could only think of one, Sookie St. James, played by Melissa McCarthy, on Gilmore Girls. She wasn’t the leading role, so I tried to think really hard of a main character. Fat women, when I was a kid, weren’t the leading roles. I am happy that we are seeing a change in this category, but it is still nowhere near where it could be. The lead roles need a diversity makeover, IMHO. However, as I was watching Kate get married I thought to myself, some young girl is watching this and is being told that she can find love. That her size does not determine what she deserves in life. What we ingest, not just through food, but through everything we see and/or feel,  shapes how we see ourselves. Our reality is subjective. We are influenced every day, in a million different, little ways. Honestly, I am glad I had those negative thoughts because it is so easy to fall into those patterns of hate and self-loathing. What is not easy is turning on those thoughts. The more I have those thoughts and the more I can interrupt those thoughts, the stronger my brain becomes.

I often remind my clients that we are apt to think of the negative before the positive because back when we were cave women and cave men it saved us. Every day we were on the lookout for danger. Now, these thoughts are the danger. It takes a lot of effort to say STOP to those negative thoughts. It takes even more effort to challenge them. Just like running a marathon, the training is slow and steady. Each time you challenge them your brain muscle does a little “the beach is that way” flex. When TV and books and friends challenge us, it only makes it easier for us to do the same. (Oh, and please note that when I say challenge it is the literal opposite of trolling.)

I also get the pleasure of working with youth, so I can encourage these brain exercises at a younger age. I feel lucky to do that. I also feel lucky because in a time and place where the news creates these negative thoughts, (i.e. will there be a nuclear war?) I get to go into work. I am reminded that the future is sitting in front of me and they make me feel so safe. No matter the terrible political climate we have now, I am so hopeful for a better future.

I encourage all of you to go find those things that challenge your negative thoughts. Find evidence to the contrary. And if you’re anything like me, the best way to suck the venom out is to breath first, think later.

 

Author:

I like short walks on the beach & feminism.

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