There is this strange phenomenon that seems to occur among the women of my community. Every Sunday we pray to “give us this day our daily bread”. Taken in the best sense we are praying for the ‘us’ that is the world. However, many of the women and girls proceed to return home to lunch, leave the carbohydrates untouched on their plate, deny themselves lunch all together, or bring it back up immediately after eating. We middle class Canadian women, completely foreign to hunger and lack of necessity, continually deny ourselves.
The lunch table is an extension of the table we left inside the sanctuary. How is it that the voice saying “my body given for you” is so easily overpowered by the billboards on the way home, the radio commercial in the background, the passing comment that reduces you to your appearance? Not only is the voice of unconditional love echoing through the ages drowned out by the cacophony of manmade expectations, but the same words of love transmitted through the voice of a mother, father, brother, sister, friend, lover, cannot match their pitch.
We are not what is expected of us, we never will be. If it has been formed in our minds that our value lies in being the curve-less skeleton we call feminine, what value do we have when every cell in our body will not allow us to meet this expectation? When our bodies want to expand naturally and round into life-giving potential our only choice is to protest with all our will: to deny the nutrients, to deny the life-giving bread, to watch natural fullness melt away with each tick on the scale, and yet to still see in the mirror a figure which fails to meet the expectation, to feel inside the secrets, the panic, and emptiness, to hear the praise and know the cost, to feel ourselves melt away with each inch from our waists.
And again we come to the table “given for you” the sacrifice of love, we take and eat this one small piece of bread, only to deny the extension of life and love at the next table.