So un-roasting. It’s the thing I do at the bottom of every post. But I’ve never taken the time to write about it in detail. I am here, blogging (not, you know, here in the world), because I get in a lot of fights. With myself. And I try to tell myself things that just aren’t true.
“You’re never going to amount to anything.”
“What are you WEARING? Are you kidding me??”
“Oh, that’s just like you. Forgetting where you put your wallet. AGAIN. Give me a break. Like I have all day to just wait around for you to get your act together?”
Sometimes it really sounds like an abusive relationship. Kinda makes you wonder where the line is. I mean, when does it stop sounding like an abusive relationship and actually become one? I would definitely never talk to anyone else the way I talk to myself. I wouldn’t even come close to that level of meanness and insensitivity. People have feelings, after all!
I don’t think I’m falling apart, or desperately in need of a lot of therapy, or seriously disturbed, or even very unconfident. I go out in the world and do things and succeed at things and feel good in my favorite outfits and do well in the occasional competitive environment (except for the pie-eating contest. That was a total bust. How do those little boys eat so fast??).
Actually, I appear to be pretty highly functioning and throughout my life, people have told me I’m smart and impressive and that I’ll definitely succeed at anything I put my mind to. And I have believed them. I still do, to an extent. So I begin to suspect that I might be sort of normal. That part of being a person (especially a woman), for many of us, is to fight that arrogant, totally condescending voice that chimes in when we look in the mirror, “Seriously? You’re going to try to part it like that? Do you even recognize how stupid you look? You don’t. Oh my god. You actually don’t! Ok, honey. Let’s start with how you definitely don’t have the chin for that. We’ll work our way up your face.” (The voice has a very developed personality, apparently.)
So what’s the answer? I’m sure there are a lot of them. But, being a scientist (ok, not really), I figure I’ll address the problem systematically. There are plenty of things I love about myself, I’m just not used to thinking about them in the same way. I’m used to being surprised by them. Like happiness just pops up of its own accord, while negativity is the steady, reliable companion. But happiness isn’t really such a mystery (my friend Emily is actually a happiness researcher. How cool is that?), and feeling good about yourself doesn’t have to be an unexpected treat. So, because I’m ambitious but not incredibly ambitious, I assigned myself the task of un-roasting. Of taking time to consciously identify something I like about myself every day. So far, it’s mostly been physical stuff, because the mean voice is more consistently critical of my physical appearance, but some of you have contributed un-roasts about other aspects of yourselves, and I like that idea. I think I’m going to start expanding my own un-roasts, too.
It sounds so simple it’s almost pointless. So you say you like something about yourself everyday. You can do that anyway, when you look in the mirror. But the thing is, sometimes it’s just better to write it down. To have proof of it. I want to have a record of all the things I love about myself. And also, even when I think I can just talk back to the mean voice, I often forget to. So I’m starting a quiet rebellion. I’m un-roasting myself. And that’s the deal.
And guess what? I think it might actually work.
(image source here)
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Un-roast: Today I love the way my body looks in the mirror at the gym when I’m doing those pull-up things on the big machine. There’s something strong and lithe about it, and I can see how everything gracefully connects. I also love my grilled cheese sandwiches. I’m not kidding, they are the best thing ever. As in, like, better than world peace. Ok, not quite that good, maybe, but they’re second best.
What about you?
P.S. Check out a recent post at Dances With Fat on a similar (the same, actually) subject.
P.P.S. Thanks to the reader who came up with the term “un-roast.” I’d like to take credit for it, but I’m too good of a person. So I can’t. But I’m not good enough of a person that I remember where I put her name. So if you’re out there, reveal thyself!
P.P.P.S. This is the last one, I promise. You can see yesterday’s piece on the Huffington Post, too, if you feel like viewing it in yet another setting.
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Virginia: I really do love my eyes, just for starters. They are at least three different shades of blue and that’s pretty awesome. (No matter what size my waist is.)
Rachel: Today I love my butt. I’ve got Jewish curves, and I don’t mind showing that off.
Wei-Wei: Today, I just like my body and how it works. I had an extra hour of dance class, making it 3 hours, and I’m surprised I made it through. Maybe it had to do with all the cake I had beforehand. (French chocolate, strawberry cream, and oreo cheesecake. Just in case you were wondering.)
I was wondering. Wei-Wei, send me photos of yourself with cake!! I want to see!
Everyone: Listen up. PSA: Subscribe to ETDC if you haven’t already and you like me, my writing, my face, or all of the above. I’m going to keep being annoying about this until I have a million readers. A million. Ok, maybe, like, 100,000. What? I dream big!