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.
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