This is a fantastic article written by Karly Randolph Pitman of First Ourselves. Her company describes themselves as:
“Women untangling from food and weight stuff“. Love it!
I’m a fan of her candid style – admitting to unflattering physical changes others might find too embarrassing. Bits of this article are a How-To on accepting your body’s changes (we best do so ‘cuz it happens to us all!)
Here it is:
“One of the hard things about accepting our body’s changes is that how we think about ourselves – how we feel in our bodies – doesn’t keep pace with how we look in our bodies. You may still feel 20 on the inside, even though you don’t look 20 on the outside.
At first, we may be able to deny or ignore the changes in our bodies. Maybe we experience a slight weight gain; a few wrinkles; a spattering of gray hairs. But then the changes accumulate. Have you ever experienced one of those moments, when you look at the mirror, and suddenly wonder when you got old? Or when your body morphed into your mother’s, your aunt’s, or your older sister’s?
I’ve had moments when I’ve been startled by my body’s changes. The other day, I was leisurely shaving my legs in the shower when I came upon a mass of spider veins on the back of my knee. I paused, because suddenly I saw my grandmother’s legs, not my own. Or more accurately, not the legs I had at 20. I was more curious than disgusted. But it served as a gentle reminder that while beauty is to be cherished and appreciated, like anything in our mortal world, it is also temporary. One day I will have my grandmother’s legs, a full head of gray hair and not just a few strands; a face lined with the joys and sorrows of living.
I am okay with this. After all, I believe a body is meant to be used. I believe our spirits, our minds, our beauty is meant to be used. And like the Velveteen Rabbit, when we use our bodies, when we offer our wombs as a vessel for new life, when we offer our breasts to our babies, when we run and play and jump and dance, when we love our bodies by using them, they get worn out. They get shabby and wrinkled and dirty. Gravity takes its toll, as do the hours basking in the sun.
This is all well and good. This makes for a full life. This is a life well lived. This is a body well lived; a body well loved. (Yes!)
I love this quote, attributed to motorcycle racer Bill McKenna:”Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out and proclaiming, “Wow, what a ride!”
Will you be able to say that on your deathbed? Or will you have regrets: I never took that dance class because I felt too fat. I kept putting off yoga because I felt too awkward and uncoordinated. All those years I refused to go to the beach and wear a bathing suit? Oh, to dip my toes in warm salt water one more time!
So this message is a clarion call to live now, in your body: to use it up, to approach death with a sense of having wrung out every good and perfect thing from this life, including the earthly vessel that houses your soul.
But, that being said, how do you turn around those negative feeling when your appearance in the mirror causes you dismay? How do you accept the changes in your body with grace, ease and levity? One thing that I do is I find ways to tangibly connect my good feelings – those that still make me believe that I’m a hot, smoking, sexy young thing – with who I am now: a hot, smoking, sexy young thing… with a few extra inches, sags and wrinkles.
Today I met a girlfriend at Victoria’s Secret for some much needed underwear therapy. I felt so girly and young and carefree, diving into the underwear bins. It was the way I felt in high school, going to the mall with my friends. As I stood in my lingerie in the dressing room mirror, I felt hot & sexy. I felt positive about my body, like I did when I was 17, even though the image in the mirror has changed a bit. I saw the saggy, fuller breasts, the flabbier belly, the cellulite and stretch marks and wider hips, and yet all I saw was beauty. Why? I was connecting those good feelings of who I once was with who I am now. Better yet, I shared my experience with a friend – basking in her love for me at the same time.
Think of something that you loved to do with your body when you were a younger woman, or a teenager: Did you dance? Run track? Ride horses? Lip sync in a Madonna get-up? Stage fashion shows? Were you a gymnast, a soccer player or a basketball star? Now who says you can’t do those things now? You are all of the ages you have ever been. That beautiful teenager? The curvy new mother? The sprightly twenty something? They’re still there.
I love to run, not just for the mental and physical release, but because it makes me feel strong. Running connects me to the fearless, positive, go-getter I was at 15 and 16. It brings that girl into my present, feeding the me I am now with the me I once was - filling me with her strength, optimism and drive.
Connect your internal feelings with your external reality, so that the good feelings you have on the inside pair up with the good feelings on the outside. This is not about clinging to an outdated style, or trying to still look like you’re 18 even though you may be 38, or 48, or 58. It’s about integrating all of who you were with who you are; bringing the little girl who loved to play dress up, the teenager who could outdribble her brothers, and the young woman who danced all night long into the woman you are today, to make you a greater sum that the total of your many wonderful parts.”
Check out more great info on their website www.FirstOurselves.org.