Thursday, July 12, 2007

Wonder Woman

I've been on crutches for less than a week and I'm feeling increasingly and decidedly un-wonder-woman-ish.

I'm currently reading The Body Project. Fascinating stuff, especially for someone who is a living history hobbist. The book observes the progression of woman's "body projects" from Victorian times to the late 1990s. The premise is that as women have become more "liberated," they have become increasingly more obsessed with their bodies.

Makes perfect sense to me.

Growing up, I was encouraged (by the media, mainly) to dream big. Women could have careers and families! Hurray! Go women! WooHoo!



And let me tell you why.

There are still only 24 hours in each day. And only 7 of those days each week. And only 52 weeks in each year.

So, where the women in the 1950s (and before) were able to have one full-time job - being parent/spouse/housekeeper, the women today are expected to be parent/spouse/housekeeper AND hold down a 40+ hours a week position.
And not only that - said position should be a "career." Meaning that women should be devoting numerous hours above and beyond, so that they can become respected/reknown/worshipped in their chosen field.

Sorry, am I the only one who's missed where this is freeing?

Now, some women (of which I am one) are lucky enough to have a partner who wants to share the load of being parent/spouse/housekeeper. And that is wonderful and I absolutely love him for it.

However, ingrained in my brain is this notion that I can do it all. Not only can I do it all, I should do it all. And not only should I do it all, I should do so with a smile. Oh, and by the way, I should also be thin and beautiful, too. "Bring home the bacon; serve it up in a pan" baby.

I tried living this (misguided) ideal. Gave it my all for many years.

Until the stress triggered my eating disorder.

So I had to choose. If I continued to "do it all," I would eventually kill myself from malnutrition. There isn't enough time in the day to do everything AND take care of myself and since I was so obviously failing at doing everything, I didn't feel worthy of being taking care of (by myself, let alone by anyone else.)

SuperWoman and almost certain death at a young age or SimpleWoman and possible long life?

Hmmm... Tough choice.

After three long years, I have become very comfortable with my decision to become SimpleWoman. And the simpler the better.

I've said it before - life isn't about numbers. Well, a corollary to that is:
life isn't about how much we can accomplish before we die. For what good are these accomplishments if we don't take some time and bask in the glow?

All accomplishments count. I'm proud of myself for giving birth to my son after 15 hours of labor (a major event in my life, to be sure.) But I'm also proud of myself on days like today, when I've desperately wanted to write down everything that I have eaten and will eat (so that I can reassure myself that I haven't overeaten and/or restrict)and I don't (I'm writing instead.) Subconsciously, I recognized that I was stressed (lots to do at work before a long weekend) and instead of coping with the stress by obsessing about food, I used a different mechanism. I'm writing this post.

For me, being able to take the time to assess my mental state, choose a healthy way to adjust it, and acknowledge (and celebrate) the accomplishment of it all is absolute freedom. Liberation to the nth degree.

This is life at its best. And I am basking in the glow of every minute.

How many SuperWomen can say that?


Eve said...

Dear Jeanne,

You are so wise. It's wonderful that you have realised the value in stopping to take time to "smell the roses", as it were. SimpleWoman? No way! SmartWoman, I say.

Enjoy that glow!

Sarah said...

wow, I just got an image -- can you imagine how much quicker therapy would be if our therapists had lassos of truth like WW?

Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman.
All the world's waiting for you,
and the power you possess.

In your satin tights,
Fighting for your rights
And the old Red, White and Blue.

Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman.
Now the world is ready for you,
and the wonders you can do.

Make a hawk a dove,
Stop a war with love,
Make a liar tell the truth.

Wonder Woman,
Get us out from under, Wonder Woman.
All our hopes are pinned on you.
And the magic that you do.

Stop a bullet cold,
Make the Axis fall,
Change their minds, and change the world.

Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman.
You're a wonder, Wonder Woman.

Jeanne said...

Thanks, eve! SmartWoman - I like that a lot!

sarah - I forgot about the lassos of truth! Those might make therapy quicker - if the therapists knew what to ask.
But then, my therapist often said that our minds will only allow us to remember what we are strong enough to handle, so would that put a wrench in the lasso? Hmmmm... an interesting thing to think about.

Thanks for the lyrics!

carrie said...

I was thinking HealthyWoman. ContentedWoman.

This is what I'm striving for. Contentment.

It's wonderful. ;)

Jeanne said...

Yeah, contentment is a wonderful thing. May you reach a place where you feel and bask in contentment, carrie!

carrie said...


Any woman on crutches is a WonderWoman. I've been there, and I can't imagine having a kid and being on crutches.

Pat yourself on the back, girl.

Jeanne said...

Thanks, carrie!