OK, bear with me…
Lately, I’ve been thinking about diet culture as a soul sucker and a mansplaining monster. When I had that vision in my head, I immediately thought of Ghostbusters (“I’m the gatekeeper, are you the keymaster?” Classic).
It took hold of me so much that I had to stop writing this email and go watch the movie. I started thinking about monsters, harbingers of doom, and why the female Ghostbusters were so controversial (like, why??). It created the perfect metaphor for what you’re about to read.
So without further ado, let’s go there…
Diet culture is The Soul Sucker™ that feeds on women. It eats our lives and steals our energy.
It’s a powerful, malignant force that gets its claws in us unknowingly, through no fault of our own, when we’re born into this world (because, patriarchy).
The goal of The Soul Sucker™ is to implant in us a desire for thinness like it’s a basic instinct.
But, it’s not.
The Soul Sucker™ possesses us to speak the language of dieting…
…“I ate so good all week, now I’ve blown it.”
…“This pizza was worth it.” (Worth what? I urge you to ask yourself.)
…“I shouldn’t eat that!”
And perform the behavior of dieting…
…Vowing every January to “lose the weight once and for all,”
…Public declarations of “success”/”failure,”
…Choosing a salad at a restaurant because, optics.
It forces us to live under its dictatorship where what we eat and how we treat our body is intertwined with a desire to be smaller.
It domesticates us by manipulating our natural instincts of hunger, fullness and ultimately, freedom.
It is an insidious harbinger of destruction that slowly sucks away our personal power by depleting our resources. Under its control, our independence and personal sovereignty is stripped away.
The Soul Sucker™ – a.k.a. diet culture – boxes us into a cage and tames us.
The bars of our cage grow thicker over time as the gatekeeper – the prison guard of patriarchy – depletes our resources further by keeping us fixated on who we “should” be and how we “should” look.
Perfectionism, the belief that nothing you do is ever good enough, and self-doubt, the belief that who you are is not good enough take hold.
The gatekeeper is a diabolical force and puppet master that keeps us trapped in the cage by continuing to impose more rules and expectations on who we need to be: a caregiver, hard worker, mother, health-enthusiast…
…and while we’re at it, we have to have a Pinterest-worthy house, shellac mani and be game for hot sex on the regular.
We unknowingly consent to staying in the cage because we believe our only path to freedom is to comply. To follow the rules, preen and fixate on our exterior appearance, the size of our body and the food on our plate in the hope that we can demolish the shame The Soul Sucker™ and gatekeeper impose on us.
These forces manipulate us into believing that we’re in control – that once we shrink our body and perform the illusive vision of perfection we will fit through the bars of the cage and be granted freedom.
All the while what’s happening is that the cage is closing in around us.
Women become more and more tamed…
… what we think and do is prescribed for us – what we eat, how we look, how we live and what we do with our body. It’s too much or too little and never enough.
…what nourishes us is compromised because we’re investing all of our time, money and mental and physical energy into trying to win the praise of the gatekeeper.
And our soul gets depleted…
…we lose touch with who we are – the things inside of us that give us grit, purpose and conviction.
…we lose touch with the things that truly bring fulfillment to our lives – connection, freedom, creativity and independence.
It slowly chips away at our sense of worth and makes us feel like we’re inferior unless we follow their rules. Like we’re a problem that needs to be fixed.
Listen up, YOU are not a problem to be fixed.
These cultural forces have drilled these toxic beliefs into your head and it’s not your fault.
You are a bold, brilliant, and fiercely passionate untamed woman who can DO and SAY anything.
I know it and I know you can believe this too.
Vanquish The Soul Sucker™ by rejecting the rules, reclaiming your resources and burning down the gatekeeper’s fortress of unrealistic expectations.
See through the bullshit illusion of perfection and decide to opt-out of the game in order to unhook The Soul Sucker™’s claws from your back.
You can break out of the cage…
…by rebelling against the status quo.
…by reclaiming your autonomy by rejecting diet culture and reigniting your instincts.
…by standing your ground and letting your whole self be heard and seen.
…by unhooking your value from what other people think.
And by knowing and believing that you are worthy and enough just as you are.
Because you are.
At any size.
I want you to break out of the cage and feel yourself start to burn with conviction and purpose for the things that truly matter.
I want you to know your gifts lie in your compassion, persistence and courage.
Not the size of your body.
I want you to feel your soul ignite and become restored.
I want you to experience untamed joy and freedom.
That’s You, On Fire.
Let’s burn it down (and take breaks to go watch 80’s movies),