I have been making positive and slight-but-impactive strides in life lately. I find out officially by the end of this week whether I got into the course I wanted at University (Professional Writing&Publishing). This has spurred a somewhat panicked flurry of trying to read, watch, listen to, play and learn as much as possible before the constraints of a syllabus make it more difficult.
Two things in particular have birthed the thoughts behind this post, those being The Sims 3 (namely, the new traits&attributes you can assign your characters) and a wonderful blog I’ve been devouring the archives of, The F Word. The F Word is blog dedicated mainly to eating disorder education, fat rights and feminism.
I discovered the fat rights movement a couple of years ago, and due to where&who I was in life at the point, I dismissed it as not something I have to worry about, just yet anyway (not that it matters, but I am and always have been naturally slim; parental reports tell me this will not last beyond my 20s). The basic theory behind the fat rights movement is the same as any other kind of rights movement, whether it be animal or women’s rights: Every being has the right to exist, and not be judged due to their differences, whether it’s gender, religion or weight. Unfortunately, in Western society, we’ve made great strides with recognising other peoples’ basic rights (ie. Indigenous cultures, women, homosexuals – not perfect, but definitely improving), but discrimination based on weight is still rampant.
Okay, to get to the point of this post, on The Sims 3, while designing a Sim or having one grow up, you get the assign them a certain number of characteristics. These characteristics include personality, behaviour and physical traits, and range from Brave to Dislikes Children to Light Sleeper. These characteristics then effect your Sim’s life, including their lifetime dream, their job, their skills and their personal relationships. At no point in the game are you urged to change your Sim’s personality. It is an option, certainly, but most goals are to do with self-improvement and not self-destruction.
This led me to the most interesting thought: everyone is perfect just the way they are. There is no set ideal, physically, mentally or emotionally. I guess this is kind of a good follow up to my previous post about changing. I realise now that while you can change your attitude and behaviour, you can’t change the things that make you intrinsically you. And nor should you want to. Even what seem like negative personality points are still a part of you.
Take me for example: I have terrible anxiety. I inherited it from my mother (whether genetically or environmentally is not important right now). It has been so severe at points in my life that I was unable to leave the house because going out would be one long anxiety attack. Things are a lot better now, though. I’ve learnt to cope with the more extreme anxiety attacks, and while I still get anxious over things (driving ugh), I have ways of handling it now so that it is merely a part of my life and not controlling it.
For a long time I thought that I would be “cured” of my problems one day; I’d wake up and life would be clear and non-threatening again. Now I’ve learnt that these problems are a part of who I am, and while I may never be free of them, I can learn to live with them. So I say now to people I meet, “I have anxiety, and it’s part of me, and I do my best to keep it from ruling me”. I tell my friends: “I need a hug, I’m getting really anxious”.
That kind of acceptance is something everyone should feel about every aspect of themselves. The only exception I see is people who hurt others, ie. serial killers (like my beloved Sylar). But even in those cases, I am not saying that the person is bad or wrong, merely that work needs to be done on managing that aspect of their behaviour so that they do not want to hurt anyone else.
Whether you are tall, short, fat, thin, lazy, over-excitable, absent-minded, you are the perfect you, and that is what you will always be, and all you ever need to be.