I recently made an impulse buy of a series of Cozy Mysteries by Sylvia Selfman on my Kindle, since I figured for $1.99, it was hard to go wrong. But I reconsidered when I started reading the first one, Murder She Typed: An Izzy Greene Senior Snoops Mystery and became instantly aggravated with Izzy, the heroine.
From the very beginning, Izzy is hyper-fixated on food. In the opening sequence, when she thinks she’s about to die, she doesn’t have any thoughts of loved ones or reflections on her life, only a lament for not eating more chocolate cake that morning. Then the second chapter talks about her distress at the signs of aging and how a candy bar and cake were required to alleviate her depression over wrinkles.
In fact, almost every page of the book contains some reference to Izzy trying a new diet, forcing herself to exercise, and/or “failing” the diet by eating sweets. And this all seems related to wanting to be thin enough to attract men.
I realize the author probably meant this to be humorous, but I found it terribly depressing. is this really how most women think? I tried to remember back to my own weight and food obsessive days, but I feel like even then I had some other concerns and interests. Or maybe it was meant to be ironic, but even so, it had enough truth to make me uncomfortable.
I therefore cheered when for one brief moment Izzy isn’t fixated on food because she has more important things to worry about – namely, that someone is trying to kill her.
It got me thinking how we all have more important things in our lives than the constant worry about weight, and whether or not we should have sugar. We could, instead, be thinking about our health, families, relationships, emotional fulfillment, connection, the state of the world, our jobs, or simply having fun and relaxing.
But here’s the catch. it’s often easier to focus on the food and weight than those bigger, more important things.
Those can be scary if you look at them closely because you don’t know where that might lead you. You might find that you’re unhappy with part of your life, or how things are going in the world. Once you acknowledge that, though, you might feel compelled to do something to change it. In that case, sticking with a focus on diets and weight might be disheartening but at least it’s a known entity, and something we can theoretically address on our own, unlike, say, mass species extinction or political unrest.
This may be easier, but that often that’s only true in the short term. Long term, this focus can have other damaging effects on us, physically as well as emotionally and spiritually.
From my own perspective, the more difficult path has been better and more rewarding. I only hope that I continue to remember and focus on those more important things.