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Loving the Skin I’m In

My thighs used to be like two friendly neighbors waving to each other across the fence. Evidently, they’ve grown closer over time because they seem to have moved in together. This would not be such a problem if there weren’t so much friction in the relationship. Cripes.

For most of my life I have been blessed with an easy-to-maintain, healthy body weight. I worked at it not one iota. My metabolism burned high. My addiction to drama provided enough “weight loss through chaos” to send me into sizes smaller than my bone structure every five years or so. I still own the skirt from the time my first marriage was ending. I weighed about 100 pounds. But, my God, I was an actual size 4! I know. I know! Sigh.

Then two things happened. I began to shed my codependent tendencies. I fell in love with a nice, even-keel guy, and we had a baby when I was 39 years old. I was happy. No more size 4’s for me. By the time I had my surprise bonus baby at age 46; my stomach muscles were behaving just like the pouched-out knees of my well-worn sweat pants—not so elastic anymore. My breasts and my soprano voice set sail together on a nice cruise from a perky high C, to a low b flat as I waved a tearful goodbye from the dock. Bon voyage! And it’s true; you do get more forgetful with age. It seems I’ve also misplaced my waistline.

I am now 52. That last baby I had is 72 months old. The extra 15 to 20 pounds I’m carrying around no longer qualifies as post-pregnancy weight. All my efforts to get back in shape without the help of my old diet aids (misery and crisis) have failed. I couldn’t even manufacture enough angst, or pester a fight out of my husband dramatic enough to lose a lousy five pounds. Damn these healthy boundaries! What I wouldn’t give for a little old-fashioned passive-aggressive manipulation about now. I’m sure that’d be good for shaving a pound or two. Alas, no one will participate–killjoys.

After several failed runs at diet and exercise, I noticed that my relationship with my body had turned adversarial. I didn’t like it anymore. My motivation for getting in shape was to defeat this new enemy. I exercised (if I exercised) to conquer my fat, to berate my soft belly, to vanquish my bat-winged “Bingo” arms to the church basement. But my body has proven itself a worthy opponent. It does not respond well to self-loathing. Go figure. No, literally, there goes my figure.

Today I came across a photo my daughter took of me this summer. One I would never normally share because it is not the me I care to acknowledge personally, let alone publicly. But today I felt something different when I looked at the woman in the photo. I liked her and her gray hair, her crows-feet, her soft body and her warm smile. I realize now that any changes I make to this woman, me, have to come from a place of loving myself, including the body I have right now. This body that has served me so well, doing the best it can with what it has been given to work with.

I think I’ll invite her out for a little walk. I expect we’ll get along well, she looks nice. I hope she has a good sense of humor. She’s gonna’ need it.

Mammaste!

Feel free to share this blog, and share it abundantly!

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. I admire your realism! Too often the time and effort spent hating your body or trying to “fix” something that probably doesn’t need fixing would be better put toward being the well rounded, loving person you seem to have found in yourself. That’s worth a lot more than a couple pounds!

    November 7, 2010
    • Thank you Amber!

      November 7, 2010
  2. Rosemary #

    Lori – not only is this a “so true” essay – it is funny, well written and should be shared with many — I find it really helpful for my own life! Blessings…. and seriously, try to get it published….

    Rosemary

    November 8, 2010
    • Thank you Rosemary. I love to hear when my writing resonates with others. It is true what Toni Morrison said, “The more personal the story, the more universal.” or something like that. It’s certainly true here. (Could I have gotten any more personal?) This post set a record for me in number of reads in one day!

      November 9, 2010
  3. Meg #

    Dearest Lori:

    Your wisdom, humor and beauty warm my heart. This piece is one every human being needs to read as an invitation to live gracefully into the body that carries us through this world. You are amazing my dear friend in all ways.

    Love ya!

    M oxoxo

    November 8, 2010
    • Oh Meg, so wonderful to hear from you! Thank you for your beautiful, supportive words. I miss you. I hope we have an opportunity to cross paths again soon.

      November 9, 2010
  4. Nice work, Lori. I think you have a book in you!

    November 10, 2010
  5. Hah! I just saw this link you left in your comment over at my place and it should come as no surprise that I had already read it. I discovered it right away and love the way you describe your thighs. I’ve got you saved in my google reader so I can see what you’re up too and I’ll be back to nose around more later. It’s pushing dinner time here in the UK and I need to go check on what’s happening in the kitchen.

    January 14, 2011
  6. Mariellen #

    I found you through your comment on Elizabeth’s blog. Such great writing! My two and your two bear a strong family resemblance ..although I wish I could say it was only the 25lbs.I think your approach is teh one that will work..and if it doesn’t at least you still have love in your heart. Namase 🙂

    January 15, 2011
    • So true Mariellen that if it doesn’t work, we still have love in our hearts for ourselves! Thank you.

      January 15, 2011

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