“We think we’re made of numbers; percentages on tests, pounds on a scale, likes on a photo, price tags on clothes, but we’re not. We’re made of love, happiness and the way we laugh. We’re made of good memories and late nights. We have more substance than numbers.”
I saw this caption on an Instagram fitness page and it made me tear up. I recently went to the doctors and the receipt from my visit revealed my BMI. I was not happy with it.
Numbers dictate our lives and it’s treacherous for our wellbeing. How many dollars did I make? How many miles did I run? What was my pace? How much do I weigh? How many calories did I eat? How much weight did I lift? Numbers, numbers, and more fucking numbers. They ruin us.
I’ve done the most idiotic shit to make numbers go down. I’ve tried cigarettes to curb my appetite (and I’m a distance runner). I’ve ran 60 miles a week for months on a fractured foot just to lose some weight. I’ve spent hours at the gym when I should’ve been with family and friends just to be lean. I let the number on the doctor’s receipt ruin my entire week to the point where the voice I thought I’d defeated slipped back into my mind to tell me
And it’s all because I let numbers dictate my emotions. I think I am my BMI. My GPA. I am the miles I ran this week and the paces that I did. I am the amount of calories I ate today. I am the pounds on the scale. The dollars I made in tips. The price of my clothes. I am my weight.
Starving. Purging. Weighing. Measuring. Tracking. Tracking, that’s a big one. We can track our steps, heart rate, and calories burned all on our watches now because you’re a failure if you haven’t reached your 10,000 steps, right?
The world is triggering for those struggling with body image. We are encouraged to track, juice, diet, cleanse, detox, and measure. We our encouraged to believe that we are our weight. But our weight is a scanty little speckle compared to what we actually are.
When I saw my BMI, the voice came back. You should pick up bulimia again. Chug some diet coke for dinner. Pick up a pack of camels on your way home. That can be your meal. You don’t deserve anything more.
And there’s a voice like this for all of us. It believes we are made of numbers but we are so much more. You are not your weight or your paycheck or whatever number dictates your happiness. You are how you treat others. You are how you persevere through a shitty day. You are your grit. You are the way you smile when everything seems to go wrong. You are the way you forgive. You are the way you love people unconditionally. You are your favorite accomplishments and memories. You are anything you make yourself.
Just don’t be the god damn numbers.