50/50: Learning to cut through the judgmentI’m worried about my puppy Meesha. She’s always been on the slim side, but recently I’ve noticed her hip bones jutting out and can even see her backbone.
By: Susie Ekberg Risher, INFORUM
Pounds lost: 10
Pounds to go: 40
I’m worried about my puppy Meesha. She’s always been on the slim side, but recently I’ve noticed her hip bones jutting out and can even see her backbone.
When I took her to the vet, they said her large frame has gone from 42 pounds down to 39. About $400 later, they say all of her tests are fine, but I still get a nagging feeling there’s something else going on.
Meesha was found four years ago running wild on the streets, and the moment I laid eyes on her I knew we would be together. It’s more than her beautiful brown eyes or her wild coyote build. It’s a feeling that we somehow found each other this lifetime so we can help each other. I want her to be happy; I want her to feel secure in the world.
I recently saw a photograph of a skinny underwear model walking down the runway with the caption “It’s crazy how when we see an animal’s ribs, hip bones and collar bones we think of it as sad and abusive, but when we see it on a woman it’s a form of beauty.”
What in the world is going on? People all over the world are starving, and we’re doing it for vanity. People are dying because they can’t get food, and we’re dying because we’ve somehow gotten the message that we aren’t good enough unless our clothes hang on us. Do we feel more worth if we can fit into a 00? Does it make us feel safer, more secure?
Ironically I think it’s because we don’t feel secure in who we are that leads us to make unhealthy (and sometimes unsafe) choices. We might not have someone close to us say, “Look at how strong you are! Look at how creative you are,” instead of, “You aren’t going to eat that whole plate of pasta, are you?”
How would you be living your life differently if you knew that you wouldn’t be judged or punished or neglected for the size and shape of your body?
Meesha suffers from anxiety from time to time, as do I. She’s a worrier, as am I. She gets nervous around food and doesn’t trust the world is a safe place, so she doesn’t eat. Or she eats too much then gets sick.
But I also see her exuberant joy as she races through our backyard, her ears back, her curly tail up, her strong muscles stretching. I see her tail wagging as she pushes herself into my leg for what I call our “five minutes of love.”
I have faith she’ll find her way to wholeness. I trust that eventually she’ll understand that no matter what she’s been through in her past she’s OK now and the world is an abundant, safe place of love.
I know my sweet puppy is more than OK. She’s perfect. She will put on some weight so that her hip bones don’t jut out and her ribs don’t show. She will know that she has a place in this world. And I know that my unconditional love and consistent support will help heal her.
She’ll look in the mirror someday and see her total beauty reflected back to her. I don’t think I’m talking about my dog anymore.
Susie Ekberg Risher is a writer living in Fargo. Follow her on a yearlong journey to lose 50 pounds – half through emotional work and half through physical effort.