The quote below is from an episode of the Modern Love Podcast from a few weeks back. It caught my ear immediately.
I’ve always wondered if love in a relationship should be enough to sustain it. I have found, in my experience, that it usually is not. That there is love and there is compatibility, and unfortunately the two don’t always line up.
This quote really embodies that understanding. The acceptance that you can’t help who you love married with the intentionality of choosing to stay in a relationship with someone compatible.
“You know, there’s these feelings, these emotions that we get from love and we can’t really help who we have those feelings towards, but we can help who we get into a long-term committed relationship with…” – Matteson Perry
This is the final week of my quoting from Roxane Gay’s newest book, Hunger. This week the focus is on doctors. Anyone who is fat has a story about a doctor who didn’t see them beyond their fatness. Last year even before I stopped dieting, I stopped seeing the very toxic doctor whom my parents had been seeing for years. She was the type of doctor who passed judgment non-stop (and not just about weight). Every time she saw my parents she told them to lose weight.
When I went to my new doctor, someone who seemed body positive from reviews that I heard, I asked not to be weighed. I told her about my disordered eating and how I was working on my relationship with food. She asked if we could talk about health, and I said not yet. She was kind.
Too often, doctors are not kind. Too often doctors see someone fat and they make a slew of assumptions. Whether those assumptions be that the person is disgusting because of their shape or what they must be eating. Whether those assumptions be that the person is unhealthy. Whether those assumptions be that the person wants to lose weight. Whether those assumptions be that the person was sexually assaulted. All of these assumptions are bad. If you are a doctor, I plead with you, stop making assumptions. When a patient comes in, don’t prescribe weight loss without hearing the symptoms. Really, don’t prescribe weight loss at all. Try, TRY to hear the symptoms without the weight bias coming in. Educate yourself. Read Health at Every Size or Body Respect or other books on the matter.
And for everyone’s sake, please don’t approve children’s dieting.
“I blamed my body for being broken. My doctor did not dissuade me from this, which was its own kind of hell–to have your worst fears about yourself affirmed by a medical professional who is credentialed to make such judgments.”
“I go to the doctor as rarely as possible because when I go, whether for an ingrown toenail or a cold, doctors can only see and diagnose my body.”
“Doctors are supposed to first do no harm, but when it comes to bodies, most doctors seem fundamentally incapable of heeding their oath.”
I first heard about boundaries about a year ago, when I was still seeing a career counselor. We hadn’t really been talking about my career for a while. But it would still be a few weeks before I would stop seeing her and start seeing a therapist whose specialty was more fitting.
Boundaries came up in the context of my family and food.
I had just stopped dieting not long before that conversation, and as I told my counselor some things that worried me about seeing my family in this new context, she explained to me that I need to set clear boundaries with my family. I need to tell them what I’m ok with their commenting on, and what is off limits for them.
I was astounded.
You see, I was brought up in a family with very few boundaries. I believed that if you love someone, there shouldn’t be any boundaries. I believed that wholeheartedly.
If you’re someone with healthy boundaries, you’re probably shaking your head right now.
If you are someone like I was, you’re either rejecting this notion all together or a light bulb just went off in your head.
I’ve been spending a lot of this year building boundaries with people. With my family, with my friends, with my therapist, and my coworkers. Sometimes I am more successful than others. But it’s been immensely freeing to be able to say no to people. That’s really all a boundary is at the end of the day. It’s a no. It’s a line that says I need you to respect my space on this topic.
A year ago I was convinced that needing boundaries meant I didn’t love someone fully. Now I’m realizing that boundaries just mean I love myself.
If you struggle with boundaries, there is a lot of literature out there on the subject. I read Boundaries by Anne Katherine and would recommend it. I also suggest you seek a therapist.