Husband and I celebrate five years of wedded bliss this December. With the big day comes big plans. We are hoping for a romantic getaway to celebrate.
We were ambitious a few years ago. We talked about returning to the South Pacific to commemorate the five year mark. Or maybe something new, like a two week long tour of New Zealand, Iceland or South Africa. A lot has happened between then and now; some good, some bad. The economy, my health, our dogs, our house, etc. We have adjusted our expectations and instead will be driving to our destination of choice. It won’t be as hokey as it sounds. Being smack dab in the middle of Northern California we are within driving distance of many amazing, unforgettable places. Places people the world over take on great expense and effort to visit.
I want to be sassy and confident, and drop fifteen pounds for this special getaway. I want Husband to look at me, to desire me over those four or five days, is if I’m the hottest thing to ever hit the earth. I will see it in his eyes and actions, no matter what. But I want to feel it.
I have a problem. I don’t think it will happen.
I feel like a biological disaster.
I want to somehow channel that hard, healthy body I enjoyed when I was twenty-five. Before lupus. Before chronic pain. Before all this crap that has taken over my life.
I sometimes pull out my old clothes, hold them up and say to myself “God, I used to fit into that?!?!?” It’s exasperating. I wish I can look on the bright side. My super skinny days weren’t all that. I had no ass and no energy. Okay, I still don’t have any energy, but you get my point. People used to look at me with sympathy. I didn’t know what it meant until much later.
I was happy when I abandoned extremes and found some measure of self love, put on a few needed pounds and found my happy weight. I estimate I’m probably ten pounds above that number right now. But I want to lose even more, to see if I can do it. Because I know how intoxicating it will be if I do.
I know it’s wrong to believe ten or fifteen pounds will make the difference. That it will make or break the experience of our time together, and all the love and celebration that comes with it. It angers me that the state of my ass, boobs, and waistline matter, how each one holds a certain power. Why is it so hard to accept what I have? That it is all beautiful and worthy of love?
The way I see it, I have two choices. I can set ridiculous, lofty goals to barely eat and exercise way more than I should, to somehow morph my nearly forty something body into the one I had at 25, and do it all without the resources of a Hollywood starlet. Or I can work on accepting what is, because what is really is fabulous, plus or minus fifteen. He likes it. He tells me every day, every chance he gets. I need to keep working on the self-acceptance thing and get on board.
I don’t want to be controlled by the numbers on a scale, and lose sight of all that is good in my life, how when it all comes down to it I really have so many of the things I dreamed about as a young girl, like passion, love and possibility.
Despite all the wisdom, the knowing what is right and what is wrong and how I should feel about myself, I still don’t know what I will choose. But I start today, with healthy, clean eating and exercise.
Let’s see where my plan, and my emotions, take me.
Photo Source: http://blushingapples.tumblr.com/
The love I’m supposed to have for my body.
The other day I plopped down on the couch, and I heard it. The sound of my thighs slapping together. An odd, disturbing sound that made my heart sink. I was beyond mortified. I panicked and looked around, afraid that my husband heard it, too. Then I remembered he wasn’t even home.
Really? I said to myself. Is this what it has come to?
Far too many times in my life unexpected things like this, even mean and unsolicited comments from others, have held a certain power. The power to ruin perfectly good moments, perfectly good days. The power to dismantle my self esteem like it’s nothing. The power to take away all the progress I have made on this journey to self love and acceptance. The power to make me forget all the amazing things my body can do, and how it is beautiful just the way it is.
There I was, forgetting all that was good and gorgeous about me. It is so easy to do.
He came home and found me on the couch, still freaked over my thigh moment.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
I stared at the ceiling. “I’m not liking myself right now.”
“Watch Jerry Springer. That will make you feel good about yourself.”
“That won’t fix it,” I replied, barely above a whisper, my voice quaking and on the verge of tears.
If he noticed my impending onslaught of emotion, he didn’t let on. “Come on, let’s watch anyway. We’ll feel like winners after seeing whatever cast of characters he has on today.”
I appreciate my husband’s sense of humor most of the time, on this day it was no different. But sometimes watching Jerry’s guests wax poetic about trailer park love triangles, pole dances and other colorful topics still can’t distract me enough to break the funk I find myself in.
I got up, careful to avoid another thigh slap heard ’round the world, and decided to spend some time on my laptop. I did an odd thing. I found myself browsing online images of curvy, delicious, feminine bodies. Maybe it was my subconscious way of feeling better, to relate to it somehow, to find some sort of validation. Or, sadly, my subconscious way of punishing myself, to potentially leave me feeling worse. I don’t know why I did it, but knowing how I can be, my reason for doing it, I thought, was most likely the latter.
An interesting thing happened.
It was actually the former of the two possibilities. The exact opposite of what I really expected.
My keywords of choice inevitably led me to classic images of none other than Marilyn Monroe. I can’t really call myself a fan of her acting, but I always thought hers was a sad yet compelling story; and I always related to her for one reason. The thing that made her an icon.
I came across an old favorite. It wasn’t Marilyn. Instead it was Norma Jeane. Casual strawberry blonde, before the coiffed, calculated, platinum blonde bombshell persona that made her famous. I looked at it, and unbelievably I saw myself. The single roll of flesh at her waist. The healthy, average size and shape of her thighs. How her arm wasn’t super skinny, but instead healthy looking and feminine. I took in the whole image. Soft. Inviting. Real.
It was me.
This is what I look like.
And it’s beautiful.
If you look at photos over the span of her adult life and career, you will notice that her weight fluctuated sometimes, just as it does for most of us. You can also see when she was troubled, when things in her life weren’t going so well; and the good times when she was on top of the world. But it always seemed the roundness of her belly, the shape of her legs and the softness of her arms remained a constant, all of it a part of her allure, which has remained with us all this time, fifty years since she left us.
If I can look at these photos and see a womanly beauty, then I must see it in myself.
This is me.
A somewhat slender waist with the right amount of softness.
My backside of delicious curves.
Ample legs that get me places.
A come hither smile.
No matter what, to someone we are perfect. In my world, I am married to that someone. I just need to work on knowing it in my dark moments, when a fat day creeps up on me. I need to feel it on my own, for myself.
Today is a good day. I am loving what I have. There will be days when the love isn’t there, and on those days I will seek out my inspiration. Marilyn, or Norma Jeane. Or any one of the millions of other beautiful women who look like me.
But today is today. I don’t need any help.
I choose love.