Please look at this picture:
And then please look at this one:
And last but not least, check out this one:
Now, show of hands: how many of you looked at that first picture and thought, “Ooh, Sun, you need to lose some matter!”? How many of you looked at the second picture and thought, “Ooh, Sequoia, you need to get rid of a few of those rings before swimsuit season!”? How many of you looked at the third picture and thought, “Ooh, Buffalo, you need to take a couple more laps around the prairie, baby!”?
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that there are exactly zero hands in the air right now, because that would be a little ridiculous. When you look at the sun and a comet zipping by, you think about space and maybe Star Trek. When you see the trees, you think about wisdom and maybe your next family vacation. When you see the buffalo trying to figure out a prairie dog, you have a little chuckle. Maybe you noticed a “big things and small things” theme as you were scrolling through the images, but I’m guessing you did so without any judgment–some things are just big, and other things are just small(er), and that’s just the way the universe is shaped.
So why is it, then, that we can’t quite bring ourselves to view pictures like this one with the same objectivity?
Sure, I understand all those things about the correlation between weight and health (I think some of them are a little overdramatic, but I get it). And I know firsthand that sometimes one’s size can stand between you and the things you want to do–for example, I’d love to go dogsledding, but I cannot do that until I get to a weight where it’s not just mean to ask some poor puppies to drag me through the frozen wilderness. It’d be convenient to be able to buy any clothing I wanted, right off the rack, at any store I happened to be in. It’d be nice to be able to kneel in the garden for a while, weeding and generally fussing over the plants, without my knees complaining.
So if you’re looking at yourself in the mirror and thinking, “Ooh, I need to lose some weight, ’cause right now I am a serious threat to the seams in that dress I own and love”, then I absolutely support you in your endeavor to become a version of yourself that is better suited to the life you want to live.
But if you’re approaching the world from an “I need to be thin because that’s how I’m supposed to look” perspective, then honeychild, hold onto your nifty hat, ’cause I’m about to blow your mind:
When is the last time you thought, “boy, that star sure would look better if it was a little bit smaller”? When is the last time you said, “That star has a nice twinkle to it, but it could stand to go down an order of magnitude or two”?
When is the last time you thought, “Man, I bet Orion is really frustrated with his belt size”?
Here’s what I’m driving at: exactly how much star stuff, would you say, is the recommended size-to-star-stuff ratio for a celestial being? Reckon there’s a chart for that somewhere, and star doctors flit around out there telling some stars to lose some flare? Maybe there are some starparazzi that hide out behind planets and wait to catch a photo of someone with flabby combustion?
Look, if you want to be a comet, be a comet. Zip around. Have a tail if you want one. If you want to be a prairie dog, go for it–be bouncy and do lots of running-chasing-darting things. If you’d rather chill in one place and beam warmth into the universe, do that. If you’d rather be tall and ancient and unfazed, rock it out.
But gosh darn it, stop defining yourself in terms of size, and start thinking of yourself in terms of your verbs. If your current shape is the one that you need for the life you want to lead, then own that. Put some clothes on your star stuff and truck it on out the front door with your head held high. If your current shape prohibits you from living your dream, then change it–bulk up, slim down, increase your endurance, whatever it takes, as long as it’s all done with the “safe, sane, and stable” mantra in mind.
But stop letting other people decide what your life should look like. It’s your life we’re talking about here; if your shape is appropriate for the life that makes you happy, then strut it! And if the goals that you have picked because you find them interesting require some modifications to your current arrangement, then start making those changes, because you want to–not because someone else told you that you need to have less star stuff in your stroll.
Because you don’t. You don’t need to have less star stuff in your stroll. You need to have exactly as much star stuff as is necessary to hold the spirit that is uniquely, brilliantly You. No more, no less.
And then you need to let it shine.