Round Breath

Maybe it’s because there’s the godawful term “thinspiration” out there in the vocabularies of so many who follow pro-ana sites. Or because it’s just such a bloody condescending term and I don’t think a campaign to bring “fatspiration” into the general vocab (unless it’s already out there and I’ve missed it). Or maybe it’s because I am feeling extra grumpy/cynical/weary these days about how much people I love and profoundly respect post on FB about their hyper-healthy workout lives. I’m pretty sure the last thing they have planned is pissing me off. They probably don’t even plan, per se, to inspire me to move my silly ass (though it’s a thing they’d justifiably feel pretty good about). I understand (or think I do–I could be making this up) that the FB-posting of running routes and mid-run selfies and workout check-offs are part of all these folks’ keeping themselves publicly accountable to their own important relationships with their lives/bodies.

I couldn’t give a fat rat’s ass about 99% of the sports news in non-Olympic years, and have friends who post a teeny bit obsessively about how one team or another. This does not bug me. I have other friends who post an awful lot about which beer they’re either making or drinking, Doesn’t bug me, either. If the worst thing you get on FB is a window into your friends’ benign obsessions/enthusiasms, it’s a mighty good day in the FB neighborhood.

But I’m pretty sure that I am not just inspiration-proof, I fear I’ve become inspiration-allergic-or-phobic (depends on the direction).

It is absolutely true that this is my issue, my hyper-sensitivity, not my friends’ insensitivity. That is to say, it’s my problem that the overwhelming majority of inspiring memes and posts on FB and elsewhere (about pretty much any topic) just make me want to throw something. But I’m pretty sure it is at least partially the result of people bugging me since I was 7 or so about my body, and offering me mountains of inspiration to lose weight, eat less, exercise more, change my body to suit some norm. Maybe I’m too much of an only-kid-head-up-my-own-introverted-snobby-butt kind of human. I know that I’m more often than not allergic to lots of bits of sentimentality–I spend much of the semester working at teaching my intro to poetry writing students the distinction between earned emotion and the sentimental. And most of the inspirational memes out there are fairly goopy. But it’s mostly the decades of people trying to “inspire” me to make my body fit their standards (verbally, physically, with reward systems, with come-to-Jesus meetings, with fear-mongering–you name it) that is at the root of my near total inability to believe that para-athletes/dancers/senators have anything to do with my life.

Mind you, I marvel at the guy who tap dances gorgeously with one leg ending in a peg, at Malala Yousafzai, at that Guinness commercial about the paraplegic guy’s friends who learn to play wheelchair b-ball. I tear up. My heart swells. I rejoice in these other humans’ lives, abilities, courage. But I don’t see them as having anything to do with me beyond deserving my respect and gratitude for the reminder that humans can be all those good things, no matter what the evening news might make me believe about the vileness of humans. It’s a human-connection thing. But Inspiration can bite me.



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