I have this old Nike Ad that I cut out of a magazine sometime in college (let's say 1994-ish) laminated and posted to my bathroom mirror. This is what it says:
A WOMAN IS OFTEN MEASURED
BY THE THINGS SHE CANNOT CONTROL. SHE IS MEASURED BY THE WAY HER BODY CURVES OR DOESN'T CURVE, BY WHERE SHE IS FLAT OR STRAIGHT OR ROUND. SHE IS MEASURED BY 36-24-36 AND INCHES AND AGES AND NUMBERS, BY ALL THE OUTSIDE THINGS THAT DON'T EVER ADD UP TO WHO SHE IS ON THE INSIDE. AND SO IF A WOMAN IS TO BE MEASURED, LET HER BE MEASURED BY THE THINGS SHE CAN CONTROL, BY WHO SHE IS AND WHO SHE IS TRYING TO BECOME. BECAUSE AS EVERY WOMAN KNOWS, MEASUREMENTS ARE ONLY STATISTICS, AND
So as we approach That Time of the Year (swimsuit season) I find myself reflecting upon those words yet again, as I stare down the barrel of 37 years and four kids. How can women find peace with their physicality? How do we reconcile all that we have to offer on the inside with what we see on the outside?
A friend once commented that she "didn't want to look good for having three children." She just wanted to look good. Period. Without the qualifier.
I get her point. In essence, they are saying, "you look good, considering...you've gained and (mostly) lost roughly 90 - 100 pounds, had babies hanging off your boobs around the clock for nearly three years (total), and have lost many, many critical hours of beauty sleep while tending to little people in the wee hours of the night.
But a compliment is a compliment, isn't it? Why can't we be okay with the qualifier? It's the reality, right?
It's not just the physical changes of pregnancy and motherhood, but add to that the new wrinkles, varicose veins, age spots, sun spots, and grey hair that is beginning to spring up.
I know I'm getting older, but when did I start to age?
I do hate numbers. Sizes are a joke (while I appreciate retailers new "Glamour-Sizing" letting me now fit into a size that I haven't wore since middle school, I know that it is a farce). I own a scale, but seldom step on it, as I still haven't figured out how I can gain or lose 5 pounds in any given day, and I refuse to let my entire day be clouded simply because I ate too much the night before and the wrong "number" is on the scale. Life is too short for that nonsense.
That's not to say that I have a complete disregard for healthy living. For my own physical health, for mental balance, and for my kids (setting a good example for them and so that I can hopefully be alive and well when they have their own children), I enjoy exercise and try to eat reasonably well. But I find it tedious when people are ruled by either. Not the folks that are in training for a marathon or a triathalon, but those who have little to talk about other than their bodies, other peoples bodies, how much (or how little) they worked out, or how much (or how little) they eat.
I would like to think that there is so much more to me (and you) than what you see on the outside. That I am not one-dimensional. There are many, many other more interesting things to discuss, ponder, marvel or fret over in this world than my stretchmarks or my butt.
Have we been drinking the Kool-Aid too long?
What are we really made of ladies?
Who are we and what are we trying to become?