Today I did something different. Today I did something I have never really done before. And it felt great. Today I broke a pattern that has existed for 15 years, or so. And here goes:
In the past two days, I had two different friends tell me within 12 hours of each other that I was "looking skinny" "had a smaller waist" and "was shrinking!!". While it felt good at the time, it didn't stop me from standing in the mirror 12 hours after that and being all self deprecating. I was looking at places that are still not as toned as I would like, and wondering if I have enough time before bathing suit season rolls up on me like a freight train here in AZ, to get an improvement in some areas, tighter in some areas, and find a way to hide or reduce some cellulite somewhere, or reduce that number on the scale... etc.
I thought of Erin Darcy. A Mom who struggles to not hate her body anymore, who due to the infertility she suffered for years before having her baby, is finally trying to appreciate the miracle that her body is, for what it has accomplished, instead of hating it cause it doesn't live up to some ideal of what society says she should look like. And her post here, inspired thousands of women, including me. And I was truly thinking of her when I suddenly told myself "STOP!" Why are you doing this...? Why are other people telling you- you look great and you are beating yourself up? Why are you dismissing people like the girl at bootcamp that says holy crap, I thought I was strong, but you are REALLY strong? Why are you being so mean to yourself. I knew right away that if I was listening to one of my friends say these things about themselves I would stop them. I would tell them they look amazing, that they are being silly and they are crazy. So why not tell myself too?
I looked at my body and said, shit girl, you carried and protected two LIVES in that body. You brought two beautiful children into this world by sharing your blood, your food, your body, heart beat and soul with them. You have had to gain 35 pounds twice to do it, and the last time was only 2 years ago. You were in labor for 24 hours with Ella and pushed for 3 hours to bring her here. With Ryen you lost so much blood during your C-Section that you still struggle with anemia two years later. I see that C-Section scar everyday in the shower and can feel the scar tissue behind it, holding me together. I have literally had my body ravaged to bring them here. I held them and laid with them and cuddled them and kept them warm, transferring my body heat to them. My miracle of a body automatically getting hotter or cooler depending on what they needed while holding them Kangaroo style. This amazing body of mine produced the milk and nutrition they needed to thrive. It passed on my antibodies and helped keep them healthy.
This amazing body of mine has walked 60 miles for breast cancer and then walked a marathon when I was 7 mos pregnant with Ella throughout the streets of San Francisco, also for breast cancer. It walked another 45 miles for Breast Cancer along the streets of Boston, and when I didn't think my feet could even walk another step I ran the last half mile of that 45 miles, impressing my very athletic sister :) I completed THREE Triathlons with this body. I ran a HALF MARATHON with this body. This body is strong and this body is able to be pushed as hard as I am willing to push it. And most important of all IT IS HEALTHY!!!!!! I am SO blessed to have my health right now. Any woman out there fighting heart disease, cancer or any other ailment would probably rather have my cellulite or flab any day over a sick body. So I told myself I was amazing and to stop being so mean to myself. And JUST to make sure I didn't slip back into my old ways later on in the day, I busted out my HOTTIE T-Shirt that I have worn maybe twice. I wore it with pride so every time I passed a mirror I would see it, and would not be tempted to criticize, examine, or ridicule myself.
And it worked. A little change of the mind is all that is needed to snap us all back to reality. Take everything we think we believe about what we should think about ourselves or our bodies and everything we think about what we HAVE to look like to be happy, and turn it upside down. Instead, RE-PRIORITIZE what is really important. Be nice to ourselves once in a while, cause we deserve it, and cause we are all amazing.