Monthly Archives: January 2016
I, like most of you, have an over idealized view of beauty when it comes to myself, actresses, women on the street, you name it. We’ve been programed our whole lives to have this view. Skinny, almost to the point of anorexic, perfect hair, flawless skin, Barbie like proportions, and despite all my beliefs not to fall for it, I do. I look at myself in the mirror and I think I want to look like Kate Hudson. I constantly have to remind myself that the women we see in ads, in movies, on TV have a job to do, and part of their job is to work hard to look the way they look. My job is to be me, and be proud of it, so that my daughter will do the same.
But when I do look at my daughter I see sheer beauty. Yes, she is classically beautiful, and that is not just this mother saying so. But I’m not talking about her face, or her perfect little proportions. And as beautiful as she is on the inside, I’m not talking about that either. I’m talking about the mechanical work of her body. I’m in complete awe. I can see her muscles forming and growing stronger as she learns how to do more things. I look at her and I see what the body was built for doing. I see that she listens to her body and eats what she needs to and then stops. She pushes herself to strive for more physically because it’s fun and why not try, and then she listens to herself when she suspects it might be just a toe over the line.
I often wonder when I lost the ability to truly listen to my body. How has that instinctual message gotten lost? I know when I’m starving, but I don’t know before then. I know when I am exhausted (okay I’m a working mom, I’m always exhausted). I know I should try to push myself during my workouts, but then I feel tired and I don’t. In other words I don’t listen to the mechanics of my body. I think part of the awe I have for my daughter and her body is that I see it as it should be. I see real beauty in how the human body was designed. I want to treat it with the utmost respect. I want it to function at the highest performance not just because I love and respect my daughter, but because that’s what we should do. We would with a luxury car, with our house, so we should with our bodies as well.
The next question, then, is why don’t we feel the same way about ourselves. Why don’t I see my body as this perfect, amazing machine and all the things it is capable? Why don’t I treat it with the same respect I would a Lexus? I have no problem shoveling a bag of Cheetos into my mouth instead of premium gasoline (sorry peas and carrots). Are the Cheetos so yummy that I forget to listen to myself? YES. When people/memes/FaceBook tell me to respect myself, and respect my body I think “ahhh shut up, I do.” And truly I do. I am proud of who I am. I do show respect for myself in a million different ways. I just fail to think of my body as a machine that needs respect to.
I’ll be honest, I don’t have a solution moving forward to do this. I mean I can think to myself with everything that I put into my mouth “is this respectful of my body” but then pizza is just yummy, and I’ll eat it. I have some strongly formed habits which have seriously outweighed my body’s natural ability to tell me to stop. I will, at times, think it’s time to respect myself physically, and I will work to break my habits, but it won’t be overnight. In the meantime though I will hold true to what I do love and respect about myself. I will focus on the positive. And the better I feel about myself the more it will encourage positive actions.
When I eat a pizza- no not a slice, a whole pizza. I love every minute of it, and then a bit later I feel sick. When I eat ice cream, followed by chips, followed by cookies, followed by cheese the same thing holds true. I love every minute of my eating, and then I feel sick. I inevitably vow I will never do this again. And then a few weeks later rinse and repeat. Some would say I don’t treat my body with respect. Others might say I just don’t listen to my body, and may others would chime in with I’m emotional eating. In the moment I’m doing it because I am enjoying the hell out of what I am eating and it tastes damn good. That’s it. I’m not thinking about my confidence, or my emotions, or what it will do to me later, I am simply thinking yummmmm. Okay maybe I’m also a little bored, but more so…YUMMMMM….
The thing is though I do have respect for myself. And, really, I am quite confident. And more so I’ve come to terms with my emotions. Yes I eat out of boredom, but I make the bad choices because YUMMMMM. I’m kind of okay with this.
I have a friend who won’t eat all the things she enjoys around others. I have another friend who said she is the same way. I myself have gone out at lunch while my husband is at work, bought and eaten an entire Home Run Inn pizza and then thrown away and cleared the evidence. (Side note for those who haven’t tried Classic Frozen Home Run Inn pizza- DO IT-). I always think I’m an adult. I don’t need to hide my choices. Why am I ashamed? When my husband kills a steak, and then a full bag of chips in one sitting he doesn’t hide it from me. I don’t sit there and judge him for it. No I think “why am I ashamed to do it.” And really why am I.
I want us to get over it. I want to reclaim our adulthood and not be apologetic for it. I’m healthy. I’m overweight but damn I’m healthy. I walk an average of 12,500 steps a day. I eat fruits, and whole grains, and lean proteins, I just also eat a bag of chips, or a whole pizza every few weeks. I don’t need flack. And I don’t think you are giving it to me when I actually think about it. Really am I that important that you are paying attention to what I am eating. HELL NO. So here is my goal for you and me and everyone else. Next time you want to order dessert when you are out- order. Next time you want the next slice- take it. Then maybe the next day have the fruit. Again I’m not advocating do it all the time, I’m just saying own it. Be proud of who you are. I think it will make a change. When we are proud of who we are we feel better. It’s not okay for us not to be proud of ourselves in our own skin. So for today I ate junk. I’m going to finish with Chinese food tonight, and I will probably finish the rest of my vacation eating what I want. And I promise not to shy away from it!
Growing up I remember getting asked who my role model was. I never really had one. I always just wanted to be me- or Barbie with the body and the boy and the dream house and all those careers. (I didn’t care about Ken’s anatomical problems in those days) I feel like role model is a tough label to give. To me it implies that there is only one and that is who you should look to be like. I still stand by my little seven year old self and just want to be me.
But there is something to being inspired by someone. Again, looking back, inspiration was something that was huge and in the moment. In my adult life there is that inspiration. I get a compliment with work and I think I am going to kill it and here is my grandiose plan. Or it’s January 1st and I’ve laid out a million ways I am going to get in shape and there is no way I can fail. These are all inspiring moments. But I’ve also come to listen to the more quiet moments that inspire. I have been thinking about what inspires me a lot lately. Probably due to the New Year, but then last night I was inspired again by a friend reaching out to thank others for their support in her recent journeys.
Years ago I got a call from her that woke me up way too early in the morning for me (so like 10am) Her boyfriend just texted her to break up. Besides this being such a shitty thing to do, they were living together, they had been together for years upon years, she took care of his kids when they were in town, and he was in his 30s. Too late to be acting like a teenage boy. I jumped up and ran to her side to help her. She was simply amazing. She hosted a bunch of her friends the way a TV mom would. She was gracious and beautiful and smart, and sad. I’m assuming, knowing her and the situation, she was probably fuming as well. BUT that was not what stuck out. What stuck out was just us having the greatest time with her that day. I know she was heartbroken. And I know there were tears and there was anger because who wouldn’t have it. But she never strayed away from who she was at the core, even at her saddest or most angry moment. In a million years I couldn’t have spoken so eloquently about this time at the time. But since then I’ve reflected on that memory so often. It always just stands out to me.
Yesterday I realized all the poignancy of why it has stuck with me. She inspired me. She inspired me all this time. She reminded me to hold on to me no matter what happens. She reminded me to find joy even in the worst of situations and to laugh at the ridiculousness of life. She taught me to open my heart to friends when it feels like closing for other reasons.
As I am on my high for my resolutions for the year, it’s nice to hold on to the quiet inspirations as well. The ones that don’t affect me in the moment and yet I keep coming back to. I hold on to those tighter. I like them better. They are more realistic. And they cut much more to the core of who I want to be and what I want to do.
So big and small what inspires you?