Summer’s approaching (or so I hear) and I went on a lovely, but blustery walk today on my lunch break. That wind though! Yikes. SUN, where you at, bro? It came out a little today and for that I am happy. I’d love some consistency though. Can I get an amen?
Anyways it felt nice, so so nice, to get out and walk and think and ponder. And at first the thoughts were pleasant.
Hey, look at that bird over there! A squirrel!
That home addition is really coming along.
There’s a puddle there. No problem, I’ll jump over it!
And the thoughts stayed there for a little while. Lighthearted and innocent, like fluffy little clouds.
But then, it happened. My thoughts started to turn on me. Like an overwhelming current, I got taken away to that overpopulated island of thoughts called: MY BODY. Yep, it’s that huge mass of muddled thoughts that enters the minds of most women wayyy too often. I’m pretty sure I think about it 85% of the time. Like, it’s what I think about throughout MOST of my day. Isn’t that sad? And, at least for me, it’s usually never good thoughts. It’s self-deprecating and mean.
Let me say this. I’ve been doing pretty well in terms of taking care of said body, actually dammit, very well. Since February I’ve lost 21 pounds. And I did that all by eating healthy and exercising consistently. Hell, I even weigh what I did as a high school swimmer, when I was a Grenadier at good ‘ol EGHS. But somehow, that just isn’t enough. The body I’ll be “comfortable with” is still sitting high up on a cliff somewhere. The place where John Mayer wrote, Your Body is a Wonderland. I still see thigh gaps, toned arms and long elegant legs and think: you will never have those. “Your arms are still kind of chubby. Your legs are awkward and full-looking. Will that cellulite on the back of my legs EVER go away? Why can’t my boobs be smaller?” (<—-yes, yes I mean that last one)
And then comes the whole bathing suit nonsense. I tried my red bikini on the other day because (yay!) I'm going to Florida in June. And despite having come so far, I still felt disappointed. "Your tummy is still a bit pudgy. God, you're so pale. If only I had longer legs and arms, then maybe the fat could be spread out and you'd look more thin. Tonight, you seriously need to do more crunches." Yes, these are things I think to myself. And I know I'm not alone. Not even close.
So I'm walking along on this walk I was talking about earlier and I'm feeling strength in my legs that I didn't have pre-February. I feel lighter when I take strides. And both those things are great. Those are things for which I SHOULD be rewarding myself. And I've come a long ways in terms of my fitness. I push myself in Zumba so hard, I do weight training consistently, I can run A LOT farther and faster, I can do 13 push-ups in a row! I ordered a FitBit!
Great, but the mirror is still my enemy. That 2 x 7 foot square that stares back at me daily. Will it ever not be? It doesn't seem like it. And how do we as women fix something that is so largely ingrained in our culture? In the deepest roots of our society, there it is: body-shaming. Like a big black hole. Because that really is what it is, a big gaping black hole. Nothing ever comes from it but nasty, dark feelings. What's the point of it? I don't know, but there they are.
My point? I'm going to start focusing on the good. I'm going to try. I'm going to try harder. And I'm going to keep pushing myself fitness-wise because that's what feels good. I'll never stop wanting those toned arms, that flat stomach. And that's okay I think. But maybe, just maybe, if I think more often, you go girl, it'll start to sink in.
We are inching along. Every so often I'll see a "body acceptance" video tossed around on Facebook. An Amy Poehler Smart Girls campaign or something similar. Here's my contribution. If you're working out and eating healthy, give yourself a hearty pat on the pack. You go girl. You are doing what you should be doing. Your body is a wonderland.