This won't be a long post.
I have lots of thoughts on bodies, and of course tons on my own. I spend a lot of time on my body: keeping healthy, usually unsuccessfully as I work uphill against metabolic disorders and hormonal imbalances; flexing in the mirror, feeling my body getting stronger but never seeing the results under that layer of fat that never goes away and I've never been without; trying to imagine what thin would even feel like and wondering how amazing my race times would be with 50 fewer pounds to haul over the finish line... and always of course bitterly jealous of anyone who has ever not had to live with all of the above.
This is what running usually around 20 hours a week, lifting heavy and often, squeezing in PiYo before bed instead of watching tv with my husband, eating a ridiculously clean, whole food plant based diet of only 1600 calories when breastfeeding and 1200 when not... and chasing after my four kids and four additional daycare kids daily gets me:
If you are thinking "if she just ate more calories, did paleo, was vegan, ate more healthy fats, ate fewer fats, drank these shakes or took these pills or read this book..." save it. I already have. I have also been employed by several gyms and have helped other people lose over a 100 pounds. Actually, I'd probably still be in fitness if a trainer and colleague didn't tell me that if I was going to be successful I would probably need surgery, and he was right. This is my lot. I don't love it, sometimes I hate it, sometimes I'm ok with it for a while because this literally has been my every day for so long and might be forever...
I'm writing this for a few reasons. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that a friend said that is wasn't until she started working as a doula and seeing other women's bodies that she started to feel better about her own. I think seeing what other women look like, whatever that is, is important. Especially what we look like after we have babies... see that awesome skin over my pants... even 30 pounds thinner that is still there. Turns out, you can't run or lift or kickbox skin off.
I also had a moment with another doula in a hospital room, I was already pregnant with my fourth and didn't know it yet, and we were talking about postpartum bodies, and people have surprisingly told me how fit I am and I really wanted to take a picture of my belly and post it... because in reality, I am always so tempted to show those people my belly and be like "this is what is smashed under my spanx."
But none of that was enough to grab a camera.
A friend that is a mother, smart, very successful and old enough to know better posted this:
"Why is everyone so excited over Cindy Crawford's baggy,post baby tummy and giggly thighs? Aren't more of you wondering why she didn't get a tummy tuck with all that money? Come on already. And honestly, its kind of embarrassing - I can think of several women I know right off the bat ( ___________ and ___________ ) who look 10x better because they WORK OUT - and ___________ has had 5 kids! I just don't understand the point of Cindy's pics. Are we supposed to feel better because she looks bad?"
It was such a blow, really, and I'm normally not that affected by internet ignorance. Maybe it's because I'm feeling particularly discouraged today...
But seriously... isn't it hard enough already?
It's nice to not feel alone, or weird, to know other people go through what you are going through.
That's not particularly what I felt when I saw Cindy's photo, I wasn't thinking "oh, she's just like me!" because you all have no idea what I would give for visual confirmation of my abs, I have never seen them. They are a myth as far as I'm concerned.
What resonates from me is the shaming. If this person that I know in real life thinks that of her... fuck... there is no hope for me. It's already soul crushing to go to the gym and know people assume you are at the beginning of a fitness journey when you are actually 14 years into and have figured out there is pretty much no destination... just this... forever... and you feel shitty about it. It's awesome to know that when you start to feel a little better, someone will be there to let you know "oh no... you still look bad."
I feel better now.