My New Year’s Resolution…

So, I don’t believe I’ve ever successfully stuck to a New Year’s resolution.  In my defence, I’ve probably made only half-a-dozen of them in my entire life, but I’m pretty sure none went anywhere.

But, this year I’m making one.  I’m actually almost a week late on this, which isn’t a good start.  But, I’ve decided that I want to do something, and it’s close enough to the new year, so I am.

I want to gain 10 pounds.

I can hear the eyes rolling.  This is amazing, both because blog technology hasn’t yet reached the point of audio-recording reader responses, and because eyes make little noise when they roll.  So, I suspect what I’m actually hearing is contempt and disdain (also normally quiet, yet conspicuously loud right now).

And that response, the negative “Pfft, what a stupid resolution” response, is half of why I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions.

Admittedly, the other half is laziness and indifference.

I see a negative response to resolutions all the time, though, and it’s a bit of a downer.  It’s not that people are being unsupportive jerks, though (“You want to go to the gym?  Why?  You’re too ugly for it to matter what shape you’re in.”).  Rather, it’s people who are being that odd mix of supportive and honest that sometimes comes off as condescending (“You want to go to the gym?  Why?  We’re all beautiful just the way we are!”).  Friends often think that they’re helping when they casually dismiss an attempt to improve:

Oh, it’s just a little gut.  You shouldn’t worry about it.
Lots of women are turned off by muscles, anyway.
I doubt your family really cares if you spend more time with them.
Why would you possibly want to learn Spanish?
I don’t  think you’ll be happier if you paint your house bright purple.

What they’re actually doing, though, is telling you that your own perceptions about your life, body, happiness, or whatever, are silly and wrong.  I tell people that I want to gain weight, and the eyes, they roll.  And, you know what?  If you’re trying to lose weight (or get fit, or be taller, or grow another arm, or whatever), you should understand what it’s like to want a body that isn’t the one you currently have.  But, instead, I mostly get, “Oh, shut the hell up and enjoy being skinny.”  I’ve written before about my (admittedly, probably not reasonable) body image issues, and the simple fact is that weighing more will make me happier with myself.  I don’t think that is such a patently absurd or self-destructive statement that it merits dismissal (in contrast with something like, say, “Microwaving my head will make me happier,” which really should get some negative attention).

I think it’s actually very sweet that friends will, when confronted with another friend’s self-conscious imperfection, attempt to convince him that it’s not worth worrying about.  Self-acceptance is a really valuable thing, which very few people have.  But, since I’m not going to have self-acceptance any time soon, I would like to to be self-conscious at a more ideal weight.  Who cares if I don’t need to gain ten pounds, or even if I won’t look any better if I gain ten pounds? Who can say what makes each of us happy?  If it doesn’t hurt me, doesn’t hurt you, and doesn’t involve children or cute animals, then it’s all good, right?

I think  that New Year’s resolutions should be less about fixing ourselves (something that is probably impossible for most, and potentially misguided or even harmful) and more about setting a reasonable goal and being pleased to reach it.  And, as such, even silly, trivial, or patently unnecessary goals are still valuable in the sense of representing an objective, and subsequently an achievement.

Therefore, in addition to gaining ten pounds, I also resolve to be more supportive of other people’s New Year’s resolutions.  That sounds reasonable, right?

I still hear eyeballs rolling.

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