I've been thinking a lot about comparison lately. Many body-positive bloggers spend a fair bit of time talking about not comparing yourself and your body to other folks and their bodies. I think that's reasonable and right. After all, we're genetically all very different and complex, and a strict comparison of yourself to others isn't an accurate measure of your worth as a person, nor a fair comparison at all.
However, what if the person you're comparing yourself to and feeling sad about is a past version of you?
My body has been through a lot in the last few years. Roller derby, Paleo, CrossFit, Whole30, then a pregnancy and miscarriage. All of that has been very rough, both physically and emotionally. As a consequence, I've put on some weight, especially since the pregnancy.
It's very hard when I see past pictures of myself, especially from 2013, when I was doing CrossFit + Whole30 + Roller Derby all at once, and I am, noticeably to myself, a lot thinner and more toned. I feel like I've failed. Failed to stay slim and toned. Failed to have a baby. Failed to be super great at restrictive eating. Failed failed failed.
It sucks. This place sucks.
But acknowledging is that it is what it is helps. It doesn't do me any good to deny it. This is the journey my body is on. This is just one point in time. That was another. I can accept it.
It's not my job to be super thin right now. It's not my job to do another CrossFit Open (and not the season, anyway). It's not my job to add more stress to my life with more goals right now. We can't do everything all at once.
But I also need to acknowledge that when I was doing all that, it pretty much took over my life. When I was playing derby, doing a Whole30, and going to CrossFit 2-3x per week, I was pretty much only doing that. It didn't leave a lot of time for writing, making art, cooking, gardening, and all the other stuff I liked to do. It didn't leave much time for relationships and friendships either.
I'm a bit of a dilettante by nature. I like variety, and a holistic, well-rounded approach to life. The thing about fitness (and a lot of other things) is that in order to get a real foothold, you really have to devote yourself to your goals. You have to put in a lot of work and time and energy -- pretty much the lion's share of all those things. You have to show up consistently day after day.
I've been doing that for health lately, but not really for fitness. It seems likely that in the future that I will geek out about fitness again. Maybe when I'm not so injured, and a little less existentially tired. I can feel the stirrings of it again, as I read about friends' PRs and triathlons and other achievements. I feel super happy for them, no longer resentful or sad. And I think that's a really good place to start.