Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fuck fat loss / You do not exist to be used.

Just read Fuck Fat Loss, and “You Do Not Exist To Be Used”: Dismantling Ideas of Productivity in Life Purpose by Gillian Giles.

Both have complimentary narratives on the body.

From Fuck Fat Loss:
For me, actually loving my body has come to mean honoring those things that I don’t totally understand, and practicing lots of non-attachment to outcomes related to its size and shape. I actually trust my body to do it’s job (which is to keep me alive, not to make me attractive to people who only have one idea about what that word even means). I believe it when it tells me it’s hungry. I believe it when it tells me it’s tired. I believe it when it wants to move, and when it wants to rest. Okay- I try to. It’s not always easy! No one taught me how to do that, In fact, I’ve been taught the exact opposite for my entire life.
...
I have decided that my job isn’t to discipline my body, my job is to care for it, to safeguard it, to be generous and gentle with it, and to thank it for taking me through my days. It is not my enemy. My love for it is not conditional on it fitting into a certain pair of pants, moving at a certain speed, accomplishing a particular task.
Self-love and self-care have been actively germinating over the last several months. They're a work in progress. Her post eventually references chronic illness as a caveat to "trusting your body" since it's a different reality. In my case, I can't entirely trust my body since I'm reliant on medication. My mind is fragile, and it's a constant. 

Having the ability to listen to your body is a skill as well. Especially if part of you has willingly forged a disconnect, a valley of small cuts. 

From You Do Not Exist To Be Used:
Unfortunately, shame, stigma and isolation are all too common experiences for those unable to keep up with the expectations of productivity. 
From a young age we are taught that our bodies and our purpose is to produce within effective normative means. That in order to be something of worth, you must prove productivity. The ideology of productivity in life purpose extends far beyond the school system. Expectations of productivity range from being able to get out of bed on a bad day, reproduce children, ride a bike or be successful in an academic task. In failing to be useful, we are told we are not of value or valued as less than. It is these bodies that fail to meet social standards of productivity that are most often marginalized.
Within the economic and social landscape, the bifurcation of the normative abled bodied citizen and disabled one creates an assumption that a proper citizen is an able productive one, that the economic and social value of personhood is conflated with restrictive notions of productivity. The result of this binary is that the disabled body is rendered as other, less useful then simply as just less. 
It is the inherent ableism of society, of capitalism’s productivity, that teaches us that we must be of use, that we are tools to be used to produce and that our entirety our purpose is hinged on a framework of productivity.
These are themes I've been struggling with over the last few years, especially this year, as I've been unhappy with my 9 to 5 day job. 

Working creatively has been hard. On bad days I feel useless, and I don't feel good enough to be making a living off my my creativity or whatever skills I have.  I don't always have the wherewithal to be pushed. 

I've also not had a "good" creative job with a competitive salary for the last decade. Right now I am still living pay-check to pay-check. I live in my mother's basement to pay cheaper rent. On bad days I feel barely employable and incapable of "taking care of myself" since I can't afford 800$ a month rent and the costs of living on ones own. 

When friends ask for services, I do everything for free. Yes, to help, but also because asking for payment is uncomfortable and I am not comfortable equating a financial sum to the quality of my workmanship. 

What I do these days is make small things for Etsy, letting that shop and culture dictate whether or not it i interested in my work. I am passive to the situation. 

Productivity is a difficult marker to step away from. Today I received new postcards I designed. I packaged them. I photographed them for Etsy. I posted them on Etsy and on my portfolio website. I shared a photograph over Instagram. I felt productive, and felt I could take an afternoon nap without guilt. I earned that nap, through doing something.

I would assess my my work-life balance as pretty good. Where I take issue is with the capitalization of my work, and the value of my productivity. It's difficult to think about and find my place in. 

I look at people I use to be friends with, who make a lot of money and are very productive and business minded, and I often feel shame around being lazy and not having lived up to any kind of potential I may have had when I was young and had energy. 

Though this may have been more of a sore spot in the past, these days I'm quick to dismiss it, since it's a question of priorities. We do the best we can. We prioritize daily (whether consciously or not) and we just get through the day. 

Being critical of the way our bodies are relegated to tools for productivity is important, since we do not have to succumb to that framework for our own self-worth, but it is difficult to escape altogether since we do live in a capitalist system, we do need to work to live, to pay the bills and to take care of ourselves. 

I have to take care of myself. And I'm not especially good at it. 

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