It’s normal to want to feel attractive. Even birds want to ‘show off what they got.’ Lots of animals have various mating rituals to enhance themselves to attract a mate. Trying to destroy ourselves in some way is not normal, and I can’t think of any other animal in the animal kingdom that would go through great efforts or any efforts to self-destruct or distort themselves.
Well, animals in the wild anyway. One of my friends had an obese cat that scared me. It wouldn’t leave the bathroom when I needed to use it, and it ‘growled’ at me when I tried to shoo it out, so I had to pee with a massive cat watching me.
There are so many people going under the knife to defy effects of aging, and women spending probably billions on beauty and anti-aging products. It seems that just we aren’t happy with ourselves. The beauty industry often takes advantage of our natural tendency to want to feel attractive into something perverse where we have to be something we’re not to be beautiful. There are a few movie stars who I think looked better when they were more natural. By more natural, I mean with the nose and lips they were born with.
What I’m not talking about is not caring, having visible arm pit hair, or something like that. Maybe some people don’t think I care because I started using a fanny pack when I go for walks, but I do care. It’s just different now. I used to iron my clothes. Now I hang things up right out of the dryer. If I’m going someplace special, I’ll shave my legs. I dye my hair. I eat mostly healthy, and I exercise.
But I eat too much, and I’m working on figuring out why. I’m tired of using chips and salsa as a shield and armor. I’m not obese, but I’d be healthier without a few pounds. What am I trying to protect myself from? Why is part of me afraid of my own beauty? I don’t know yet.
I’m ready to swim deep and get to the root of things. I know that eating too much is how I’ve comforted myself, and I’m ready to find healthy ways to soothe myself, feel protected, and celebrate accomplishments. Going deep requires endurance and going to depths beyond where light has reached, and I’m not sure what I’ll find, but I’m ready to uncover and hold my own natural beauty like the precious gift that it is.
It is normal and healthy to want to feel beautiful and attractive. I don’t want to be something I’m not. I just want to be unafraid of my beauty. I’m different than I was when I was 20. My beauty is not the same as it once was, but I believe that every human has something beautiful to celebrate and that includes you and me. Right now. Let us all be unafraid of the things that make us beautiful.
I really admire how some curvaceous women, who aren’t rail thin, can wear two-piece bathing suits and not care what other people think. I have never worn a two-piece. For years, I didn’t swim because I didn’t want people to see me in a bathing suit, and I missed out on so much fun. I love swimming.
It took me months to sign up for salsa dance classes because I thought I was too heavy to dance. Now, I dance, and I swim as much as I can. I’ve come a long way. However, I still have my struggles.
Right around the time my marriage was ending, I started learning to love myself more. I lost 60 pounds. I know what it’s like to feel overweight and overwhelmed with every ounce of my being. Recently, I gained back about 15 pounds, and I’m working really hard to like myself as I am while making changes to slim down. I know where I’ve been and where I never want to go back to. I decided it’s time to get serious about my health, and I’ve been floundering a bit trying to do this on my own.
Every time I gain weight, I know that some part of me is spiritually out of balance and that I’m not listening to my own feelings enough. As a mom and a naturally nurturing person, it’s really easy to serve others before I serve myself emotionally.
But serving myself some emotional nourishment is the key to not starving for some peace of mind. When I’m starving for some mental rest, I eat too much. I know this. For most people, running is torture. For me, running is how my mind and spirit blossom. Without some exercise, part of me withers like an unwatered plant. Running coupled with a yoga practice makes me feel like hugging random strangers.
I recently moved and changed day jobs. I slacked off on both yoga and running, and I started reaching for tatertots and drive through tacos. This week, I resumed running but not as a punishment for anything I ate but as a way to clear my mind and have some alone time. Alone time recharges me like nothing else.
After one week of running, did I have eating perfection? No. But I feel more emotionally rested. I do know from losing weight in a healthy way before that getting to where I want to be is not a quick process, and there are ups and downs. Most importantly, there is no such thing as perfection.
I also know when to seek outside help. One thing that helps me is support, so I joined a group of like-minded folks, and a friend and I have been emailing each other our food logs every day. I’m at a place where I needed some outside emotional support to reach my fitness goals.
I hope that whatever is going on with you that you find some way to nourish your spirit. I also hope that if you need some outside support and encouragement that you ask for it because you are so worth it!! Change is hard but possible. Progress. Not perfection. BTW, this is a recent picture of me at a lake where I swam with my kids, in public, in a bathing suit. Maybe one day, I’ll actually wear a two-piece.
I hope my blog inspires you to believe in yourself more and feel less alone in the world. I, for one, am inspired by the imperfections of others who continue to rise up again and again despite life's challenges. May we find ways to inspire and support each other.