Numbers and self-worth

May 10, 2008 at 12:15 pm 6 comments

Yesterday’s thoughts on weight have inspired further reflection. When I consider the power that numbers have over us, it just seems insane. How many years did I step on the scale — several times a day — to monitor my weight? Those numbers on the scale determined my self-worth! I used to count calories as well. Those weird numbers determined if food was good or not, and if I was good or not. There are other numbers as well: salary, bank account, value of the house, price of the car, that apparently have something to say about our own value.

Remember the song I included in my post the other day — Daily stuff or: why am I not satisfied? That’s what it’s about. We try to compensate or build up our low self-worth with symbolic numbers. And what happens is, we invest these numbers with an immense power over us, and struggle each day in the hope of achieving certain ideals. Generally, these numbers are unattainable, because as soon as we reach them, we want more (or less, depending on the situation) — to the point of becoming addicted.

Clothing sizes are also numbers. Think about it. What are they for? Their purpose is to help us find clothes that fit us, rather than having to try everything on that’s hanging on the rack. Whether I am a 7, 9, 11, 12 or 14 doesn’t matter. It does not determine my value as a human being. It simply helps me find something to wear that will fit me. During the time when I began to lose weight, I greedily eyed the “petite” sizes, hoping to eventually fit into them. Now I know better — 5′ 7″ is not petite!

When I was really skinny, I can remember not going clothes shopping. I was afraid, because I didn’t know what size I was, and I didn’t want anyone to find out. (Not that I had much spare money to spend on clothes, since most of it went towards bingeing!) Yet I am just as guilty of proudly announcing my size to a woman who was a few sizes larger. As if that made me better or something, it gave me sick satisfaction! Now I accept myself as I am, and the competitive comparison is no longer necessary. On the contrary, I enjoy the company and presence of other women, and treasure each one’s unique appearance, without value judgment.

I don’t like giving other people control over me, and the thought of numbers having control over me is even less desirable. I grew up reacting, discerning my worth through the reflection perceived in other people’s eyes. My self-esteem was a situative variable that had nothing to do with me. That was a poor existence, and no numbers either way could help it. I always assumed the worst. Yet this very desire to please made me willing to undertake immense efforts to try and change myself to fit some predetermined image, size or number which had nothing to do with me.

My tendency towards faith in conspiracy theory supports the notion that this supposed importance of numbers regarding weight and size is instilled in women to keep them under control. Can you imagine the blast of energy, creativity and power that would be unleashed if women stopped expending so much energy and time on these numbers? Wow!

There is still a lot of anger simmering inside of me. Anger at myself for buying into this crock and being so deep into self-destruction for so long, and anger at my environment for promoting these plastic, superficial values. I royally screwed up a lot of things in my life because of it. I damaged my body, I betrayed myself, I barely remember my youth and young adulthood. If I hadn’t written so much in my journal, the gaps in memory would be much worse. True, I trust in the universe, and I am doing a damn good job at making the most of what is left, but sometimes it makes me want to scream. Still, let’s not forget the big picture. Everything happens for a reason and in the end it will all make sense. Remember, this is life now and we can reclaim it and enjoy it. And I want to have some fun!

I wasn’t going to include a song today, but two just popped into my head, so I’ll share them. Enjoy!
Rockstar (Nickelback)

I’m through with standing in line
To clubs we’ll never get in
It’s like the bottom of the ninth
And I’m never gonna win
This life hasn’t turned out
Quite the way I want it to be

(Tell me watchya want)

I want a brand new house
On an episode of Cribs
And a bathroom I can play baseball in
And a king size tub big enough
For ten plus me

(Tell me watchya need)

I’ll need a credit card that’s got no limit
And a big black jet with a bedroom in it
Gonna join the mile high club
At thirty-seven thousand feet

(Been there, done that)

I want a new tour bus full of old guitars
My own star on Hollywood Boulevard
Somewhere between Cher and
James Dean is fine for me

(So how you gonna do it)

I’m gonna trade this life for fortune and fame
I’d even cut my hair and change my name

‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We’ll all stay skinny ’cause we just won’t eat
And we’ll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger’s
Gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny
With her bleached blond hair and well,
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

I wanna be great like Elvis without the tassels
Hire eight body guards that love to beat up assholes
Sign a couple autographs
So I can eat my meals for free

(I’ll have the quesadilla, haha)

I’m gonna dress my ass
With the latest fashion
Get a front door key to the Playboy mansion
Gonna date a centerfold that loves to
Blow my money for me

(So how you gonna do it)

I’m gonna trade this life
For fortune and fame
I’d even cut my hair
And change my name

‘Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars …
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

I’m gonna sing those songs
That offend the censors
Gonna pop my pills
From a pez dispenser

I’ll get washed-up singers writing all my songs
Lip sync em every night so I don’t get ’em wrong

Well we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars …
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

Girls just wanna have fun (Cyndi Lauper)


Entry filed under: self worth/self esteem/body image, Soul Food. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Weight Mothers

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Aaron Wakling  |  May 10, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Good Blog. I will continue reading it in the future. Nice layout too.

    Aaron Wakling

  • 2. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  May 10, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Probably different numbers than you were expecting, but I’m glad you like it! 🙂

  • 3. SanityFound  |  May 12, 2008 at 6:45 am

    2 of my favourite songs 🙂 Now you have me singing Girls just wanna have f f funnn 😀

    Isn’t it strange how society brings those numbers into our lives, ever stand in a clothing shop only to overhear a mother telling her child “pull your stomach in for gawds sakes you look like a frump, a size eight is what you need to be not a size 10, yes we’ll take these, they don’t fit her now but they will” Sick isn’t it – I always want to take that woman and drag her in front of the mirror and say “Look lady look hard – take the splinter out of your own eye before you try take it out of your childs, instead of annihilating your childs self-esteem build it up” – Thats the nice version I can be an utter cow 😉

    Accepting the past for what it is, our mistakes, the things that happened and the life we lead is one of the hardest things to break free from. Am proud of you 🙂

  • 4. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  May 12, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Wow! Somebody is up early! I’ve never witnessed such a scene, but that is just awful! But knowing it exists, if I ever come across it, I just might say something. Things like that generally take me by surprise to the extent that I am simply speechless.
    Accepting the past and mistakes is hard, especially knowing that we can’t always make up for it. Things are the way they are. Thank God new things and people come into our lives to enrich them in other ways. 😀

  • 5. SanityFound  |  May 12, 2008 at 8:04 am

    Shhh it’s no wonder its raining cats and miniature dogs outside! Thank God indeed here

  • 6. diaryofarecoveredbulimic  |  May 12, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Thank you. I read this post a while ago, but now that I know you better I appreciate it that much more the second time around. So proud of you too! 🙂


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