A new year, a new me..
Well no, not a new me, it’s exactly the same me as before although possibly my trousers are a bit tighter than they were before Christmas due to the copious packets of crisps and glasses of champagne I consumed during the festive season (what is more delicious than the combination of ready-salted and Tattinger? Except ready-salted, Tattinger and Smarties, perhaps). However, I’ve decided to break with tradition and not try to go on some mad diet, attend the gym every day, or declare this (as my father does annually) “The year of muscle definition”. It never works anyway and somehow I’m pretty much the same size and shape, give or take a bit of southward age-related droop, that I was when I was 18. I eat more fruit and veg these days (thank you, California) and I exercise more thanks to my dance addiction, but essentially I remain the same type; unable to deny myself that third piece of toast and butter and really, why the fuck should I? I work hard, I’m nice to my children and husband (most of the time), I try to add positive things to the world in my own miniscule way so if I don’t look like a supermodel, I’m not going to beat myself up about it.
There are plenty of other people who’ll do that for me, right?
I noticed, whilst standing in line at the supermarket today, that almost every magazine cover at the checkout was full of pictures of famous or semi- famous women in their bikinis and skimpy outfits and all the headlines were a commentary on their size and shape. The ones deemed overweight were vilified and ridiculed. The ones deemed ‘hot’ were lauded for their efforts, as if eating carrot sticks and spending all day preening themselves for the camera was worth of a Nobel prize. You buy the magazine on the strength of this media-fuelled bitchery. And it’s not confined just to the press. The interwebs, that great equalizer, now enables any tosspot to take a photo of some unsuspecting woman who dares to look less than camera-ready fuckable and post her on a public forum for the collective troll-cauldron to dissect with vicious, hateful commentary. In Nine’s grade, the little girls are already aware of who’s pretty, whose clothes are nicely put together, who is a ‘dork’ and therefore who is going to be singled out for insidious bullying by the more popular and less scrupulous children. It makes me sick to my stomach. That when I was a kid we thought that things were going to get better for girls, that we’d be valued more on our minds and abilities and less on our appearance and yet somehow a massive u-turn was made in the ’90’s and here we are, desperately, actively playing along on both sides of the equation.
So here is my resolution for 2014.
I’m not going on a diet. I’m not going to talk about how much I dislike the physical signs of ageing. I’m going to celebrate my joy in the physicality of dance, not my obligation to exercise because it burns calories. I’m going to wear whatever the hell I want and make sure I’m comfortable, amused, and feel good about myself. I’m going to throw away any socks that don’t match or have holes in them and buy new ones that are expensive and cosy. And next month on my birthday I’m going to make sure I have a tube of Smarties as well as a packet of ready salted to go with my bottle of Tattinger.
Happy New Year.