My thoughts for you, gentle reader, as you approach a New Year rife with resolutions based on the inherent belief that you are somehow failing, that you are insufficient, imperfect, faulted, deficient, pock-marked and jiggling your way to ruination… what if you’re actually pretty ok?
I am sore.
Because of yoga.
This seems like a cruel ironic twist, a mis-alignment of the universe. Yoga isn’t supposed to make you sore. It’s supposed to make you all zen, and shit. Like, ohmm, and “relax into the earth”, and “lift your heart” and feel the radiant bliss of the universe…
Ok, so maybe my heart weighs a tad too much. Or maybe it’s my boobs. Whatever part of me it is, it’s sore because it’s too big to heave off the earth and I’ve been doing yoga for the past week, and… oddly… loving it! I say oddly, because I am not an ohmm kinda gal. I’m a cream cheese on toast, kinda gal. Hence the boobs. Hence the yoga.
It’s a funny story, my descent into the yogic realm. It’s a story of self-perception and desperate measures. It’s a story of Almost-Fifty-and-Sagging-Dramatically-Southward. Are you Almost-Fifty? Are you Sagging-Dramatically? This story is for you.
Over the past few years… since I met the Man of Dreams… I’ve been gaining weight. With Love and Bliss comes cream cheese and gravy and wine and delicious moments of caloric carnage… which, when coupled with an Almost-Fifty body that cranked out four babies in its youth and which has developed an over-enthusiastic appreciation of all things gastronomic since it discovered mayonnaise and hot sauce… equals an unprecedented enlarging of various body parts that never enlarged prior to the Almost-Fifty status. I used to be able to lose ten pounds by watching Richard Simmon’s videos. No longer.
And, as I gained poundage, I kept telling myself that I would lose it… that I would start working out… after the winter, after March break, after school ended, after summer cooled down, after September was over… and it never happened. For several years, the appointed time to begin losing weight just never arrived. Like all good ‘Round Tuits, like my own self roly-poly-ing down a steep slope, it just kept lumbering away from me.
I knew I had to do something desperate.
Eat less? No. I hate less.
Personal trainer? No. I hate personal.
Gym membership? No. I hate gym.
Weight Watchers meetings? No. I hate meetings… but wait.
You can do Weight Watcher’s online. You don’t have to talk to a single soul. You can take your introverted chubby middle-aged spread and waddle it to the scale in the glow of your very own secluded private, personal computer screen. Score!
The funny part is that I was convinced I weighed 190lbs. Convinced. I’m six feet tall, and at my Skinny McSkinniest I was 155lbs, and I have emptied the grocery store of every package of cream cheese on the shelves on several occasions, so 190lbs didn’t seem out of the question. I did not own a set of scales, but when I judged the pudge, I was certain that I was topping out at the nether reaches of two tons. I weighed myself on my daughter’s scales and scoffed… scoffed… when they tipped at … about twenty pounds less than my estimate.
“THESE SCALES ARE WRONG,” I roared, like woman scorned. I was determined to be enormously overweight and no lying scales would prove me wrong, dammit!
“No, Mom, I’m pretty sure they’re right.” My daughter calmly assured me, unfazed by the waggling of my belly that I did in her general direction as proof of the scale’s trickery.
“THEY ARE WRONG,” I howled. “WRONG, I TELL YOU!”
“Mum, please stop chasing me with your belly. The scales are right. Want some chocolate?”
“YES I DO! GIVE IT TO ME NOW!”
Determined to prove my obesity, I bought my own scales. Brand new. Digital. These things tell you how much you weigh, how long your colon is, what color your great-grandchild’s eyes are going to be and the exact degree of sag in your left breast compared to the right. Fantastic. Infallible. Incontrovertible.
The ingenuous Digital scales laughed at me when I slapped them and weighed myself again.
The irrefutable Digital scales chuckled when I waggled my belly at them and weighed myself again.
I apologized to my daughter. I apologized to the scales.
And then, I apologized to myself.
My thoughts for you, gentle readers, as we approach a New Year rife with resolutions based on an inherent belief that we are somehow failing, that we are insufficient, imperfect, faulted, deficient, pock-marked and jiggling our way to ruination… what if we’re actually pretty ok? What if the image you hold of yourself is twenty pounds off the mark? And I don’t just mean weight, although it seems that January is the holy sanctum of Hate Thyself where body image is concerned… I mean what if you are misjudging your self, your kindness, your worth, your integrity, your value to the world and to those you love? I wish there were a Weight Watcher’s for the pounds of self-loathing we carry around with us. Shed it, rid it, assign a point value to every kindness, every moment of joy and good work that you do, and melt away the burden of thinking that you aren’t good enough, that you aren’t meeting some standard that only you can see.
It’s hard to change your self-perception. But that’s the beauty of “middle-age”, you’re only half-way there. You have time.
Believe the nice things good people say about you.
Say thank you to them, when they say nice things about you.
Allow nice things to feed your soul.
Eat cream cheese.
And then do yoga.
That’s why I’m sore, because I signed up for on-line Weight Watchers with a much healthier attitude about my realistic weight and I’ve lost about 10lbs over the last four months. It feels good. And now I’m doing yoga to build strength and chill out with the ohmm. And that feels good (although I’m not convinced that Almost-Fifty is as bendy as it should be.)
And I am trying very hard to revise my image of myself. In all ways.
Thank you for reading. Follow your Bliss, friends… Happy New Year!