It was when I was standing in the toothpaste and tampon aisle that I realized that the powers that be will try to sell us on anything.
Why else would the feminine hygiene market be trying to market us on a mini pads for a thong? I don’t know about the rest of my gender, the last thing I’m thinking of during that time of the month, is how I can find a way to wear the most uncomfortable undergarment possible.
I looked down at my own body and admitted there were a lot of days during the month I wouldn’t even consider wearing a thong, and most of those all of those days end with a ‘Y’. And as I snorted in disgust, I almost whispered those dirty words that everyone has uttered at some point in his or her adult life. “I hate my body.”
But I didn’t. I stopped myself. And, as I retreated to the safety of the toothpaste side of that aisle, I knew what they really trying to sell me.
I haven’t said those words more than once in the last six months. I haven’t abandoned them because I’ve lost so much weight that I love the way my body looks. The reality is, that even when I get to my goal weight, I’ll have so much loose skin from childbearing, breast-feeding, and carrying too much weight for too many years that wearing a thong even in private might give my husband reasonable grounds for divorce if his eyes weren’t so bad .
I eschewed the phrase during my first 7 mile run. For some people 7 miles isn’t very far, but for me it was a milestone. I was huffing and puffing the whole way, and when I realized the last part of my race would be uphill, I felt the words rising. I hate my body.
My feet became dead weights, and I slowed. It was as if my were body rebelling against the arrows I had just slung.
“What have I done?” It was asking me. “What have I done except carry you the last 40-odd years while giving you two healthy children – all without complaint? You have neglected me. You have gorged and let me grow weak, and I have served you anyway”
I came to a complete stop and looked down. It was right. If my body doesn’t perform to my expectations it’s because I haven’t treated it with respect.
That’s been changing over the last few months with better nutrition and exercise. But the change is not only physical. When I selected goal weight, it was not based on a jean size, it was based on a healthy BMI for my age. And I’ve come to realize that if I don’t love my body – at every size – how can I expect it to love me enough to carry me into old age and do the things that a body is supposed to do?
So maybe if they make a thong that’s comfortable for me and my body, I’d go for it. But what was for sale on that shelf in the toothpaste and tampon aisle, I’m no longer willing to buy.
I’ve helping a friend teach a class on the Art of the Blog for the last few weeks and another 2 weeks to go, and it’s kind of exciting for a number of reasons. One is, even though I do tech support on a daily basis, it’s kind of fun to come up with tech tips for something new and for an appreciative audience rather than a frazzled customer. The other exciting and slightly scary element was the fact that, aside from helping two kids navigate the rigors of potty training, I’ve never taught anybody anything.
I felt like I discovered myself as a writer when I attended my first serious workshop, and, even though I knew we were all different, a part of me always worried that everyone else would be a better writer. Ultimately they were better – better at writing authentically for them. The great thing about workshop last year and the blog class and Open Groups is they’re just like being in a 5K. Unless you’re in the running for the big cash prize at the end of the route, you won the moment you started the race. It’s not about the prize – it’s about going the distance. The only person you’re competing with is yourself, and encouraging the woman next to you doesn’t just help her, it helps you.
I’ve coveted a lot this summer: a smaller pair of jeans, a stronger body, a more active lifestyle, and that really cool running tank to wear for my first 5K in three years. I checked most of the things off my wish list by getting fit enough to finish the afore-mentioned 5K. However, while getting able to complete those 3.1 miles did indeed let me squeeze into a smaller jean size and a more active lifestyle, it didn’t shrink my body small enough to access the work of fitness high fashion.
As I was reminded during my search for the perfect tank top, an XL at the discount store is not an XL in fitness (or designer) wear. I could have worn one of my old t-shirts, but the race was a family tradition that was being revived. I wanted something special.
I traipsed through online and offline offerings, rarely finding anything above an L or XL that didn’t fit or look more like and M. I was losing hope. I’d sweated all summer. Surely something in either of my sizes – old or new – wasn’t too much to ask. There’s every other option for active women, right down to a plunging, push-up sports-bra (still scratching my head trying to find the competitive advantage of THAT feature), but there was little for larger women who want to get off the couch (as we’re always told to do) and into activity.
So this year I did what I once did when I was too broke for store bought. I made my own. I’ve been finding my own groove this year. It’s off the couch, and dancing to that beat has done a lot more than just make me smaller. It’s made me stronger and happier and even more productive. So I made a shirt to celebrate this new life off the couch. It’s a change you should be able to celebrate at any size.
I’m putting my designs where my mouth is CafePress.com. You can find T-shirts and a few other items in sizes to fit most from 0-5X.
This may come as a shock, coming from someone who blogs (I don’t brag about it either) about being a bad housekeeper (blogs – not brags), but I am not naturally organized. Staying organized always seemed like a juggling act that required advanced skills. I pick my battles, but the need to organize my day is forcing me to pick a new fight with my life.
There are certain balls I can always keep in the air. Apparently having kids endows you with some hormone that keeps you from letting their priorities slip through the cracks (thank goodness), and the desire to eat regularly keeps me signed in at work on a daily basis. But the house, writing and fitness are a few things that tend to hit the ground more often than I’d like.
The house has always been the lower priority, but almost a solid week of intense cleaning and vacuuming dictated by a sudden flea infestation put it at the top of the list. With kid not yet in school, I’ve been able to juggle a few things, but fitness and writing have become casualties more than I wanted them to. A few days ago, out of desperation, I pulled out my organizer and created a weekly schedule.
The plan was to get up early and write, then exercise and then clean before the kids got up or had to go to school. The morning writing is relatively new – the morning thing is new. I’ve traditionally been a night owl, but last winter decided to try and change my body clock. It worked – sort of.
At the time, I was a serious caffeine addict. Over the summer, a change in my diet helped me mostly kick that habit. At first, I keenly felt the absence of my old stimulant, but better nutrition and fitness helped to compensate during the day. The one time of day I still notice the dearth is in the early morning, and I finally realized that maybe even moms need more than 4.5 hours of sleep a night.
Last night my body, intensely aware of that need was not able to convince my brain that it was time to shut down. Minute after minute passed as I watched my planned six hours of sleep dissolve into five and then four. In the past, I’ve gotten up and written, but the last few days worry has inspired my insomnia, and I did what I do best – worried. About braces for Jack, about the lemon I call a car sitting the driveway, and – naturally – about every flea (phantom or in-the-flesh) that might still be crawling toward our beds.
Finally, I picked up my alarm/organizer and, surrendering the idea of writing or doing yoga this morning, I set the alarm to go off an hour later. Then I scrolled over to the organizer trying to find another hour in the day. It took an inordinate amount of time to remember that once I would have used this kvetching time for creating, but when I did remember, it was an ‘A ha’ moment (the nearby slumbering Big Guy just incorporated it into a dream). Fortunately, I hadn’t scheduled worrying into my night yet, so the slot was free. Suddenly there was time in the morning to walk the dog, clean, get exercise out of the way, eat, get the kids out of the house, and get to work. And there was time to sleep.
This morning the alarm went off an hour later. There was an actual to-do list (something that’s only existed in my imagination until recently). Another hour later, the must-do’s were done. The worry was gone, and there was an unscheduled hour, so I sat down to do what I love to do best – write – and what could only have happened when I started to what I hate to do most – organize.