The night before last, Josh's aunt invited me to a women's Passover dinner. For the last 15 years, they've been meeting in the week or two before Passover actually begins to have a seder dinner together, laugh and share their thoughts on the roles of women in Judaism. I was excited to have been invited, and I had a wonderful time at the seder. It closely resembled a traditional dinner, but with a greater emphasis on women in history, and how the lessons of Passover tie into the world today. For example, instead of just listing the traditional plagues in Egypt, like floods, locusts, etc., the plagues were related as events today such as limited abortion rights, domestic violence, an emphasis on unattainable ideals in the media leading women to have plastic surgery or suffer from bulemia or anorexia. I found the whole thing fascinating, and made all the more special since Josh's aunt and her friends had put the whole thing together themselves years ago.
One of the themes mentioned was also the idea of having "enough." Enough money, enough success, enough beauty, enough power, enough of whatever it is you need to make you happy. If you are always focusing on what you don't have enough of, whenever you actually get it, it still won't be enough. So you must learn to view the blessings in your life as enough- somehow.
This is incredibly difficult, of course. If anyone knows how to easily internalize that value, I'm all ears. I know that I have been battling my own demons of having enough for years. In the moment that we were reading these passages, I kept thinking about my internal obsession with being thin enough. I've touched on it before, and it takes a great deal of willpower for me to look past whatever flaws I see and focus on the positive.
Weight or size numbers don't matter, because this obsession isn't rooted in logic. I can tell myself logically that I am relatively thin, but when I look in the mirror and think that my pants look tighter, or that my thighs look thicker, it makes me want to scream. The only thing that has worked as of late, is the realization that when I look back on pictures from college, or pictures from my honeymoon, I see that in fact I was thin, and I still thought I looked fat at the time. In pictures from a spring break trip in my sophomore year of college, you can see my collarbones jutting out above my tanktop, and my ribs show in my bathing suit. Before I got married, I lived near Central Park and ran two and a half miles every morning before walking over a mile each way to work. I forgot to eat for several days in a row before my wedding day, and yet, when I got pictures back from my honeymoon, I was disgusted with the way my hips looked in my bathing suit. And that was 20 pounds ago.
I could strive to maintain an unattainable 20 pounds less, or to wish for a smaller size, or a different shape, or I can tell myself that as I look back now and see that I was just fine then, I am just fine now.
I stopped preventing Josh from snapping pictures of me in my bathing suit when we were in St. Croix, because in 30 years I'm sure I'll look back and remember what a nut I was to think I was overweight. And even if I don't, I owe it to myself to stop obsessing about it. My children might enjoy pointing at their mother's old-fashioned bathing suit and floppy pink hat and laughing. I have to believe when Josh says I am beautiful, and I have to accept that no matter what I do, there will be good and bad parts of me. The good has to be enough for me.
I am enough the way that I am. I have to learn to find enough in every area of my life.**
** Obviously, I'm talking about finding enough in a life with no serious problems. I hope this doesn't come across as my trivializing people's lives who do face difficult times.