At first I was going to use a picture of me from my “skinniest” sickest time – to illustrate the point that I still looked pretty normal – but then I realized that I’d rather illustrate this with a pic of me now. These guys remind me every day why I work so hard to be happy, healthy and present for them. I’m so glad I “failed” at anorexia!!
Well you never looked THAT skinny. In all my years of recovering from my various eating disorders, this was probably the most painful thing people said to me. It was as if people were telling me I wasn’t skinny enough to have an eating disorder. It was also a brutal reminder at how much I’d “failed” in my goal to get that skinny. I tried! I did all the stupid tricks you read on websites and magazine articles. (What, those cautionary stories aren’t meant to be how-to’s? Oops.) And while I did get pretty thin when you compared me to, say, Victoria Beckham or Angelina Jolie I looked like one of those human-shaped pillows for lonely people to cuddle with. And they live that way! For years!
Sitting cross-legged on a twin bed, giggling about cute boys while the summer evening breeze swirled around us — it had been a long time — a lifetime — since the last time I’d done this. Yet there I was on the eve of my baby sister’s graduation (am I allowed to still call her my baby sister now that she’s a legal adult?) sitting in her room and listening to my sister and her friend whisper about love and longing and uncertainty. In that golden moment I was struck by how divinely beautiful they were. And it wasn’t just the smooth skin, shiny hair and flat tummies that come with being 18. It was that magic that happens sometimes, when you see someone with their guard down, and you glimpse the beauty of an ageless soul. They were hope and talent and potential and joy and laughter and sparkling eyes and so, so beautiful.
Then it all came crashing down. (And not just because one of my boys yelled through the door that he’d clogged the toilet and while trying plunge it he’d only made is spill all over the floor. Although that did happen too. Sorry mom and dad!) As I watched, my sister and her friend began to talk about their insecurities, what they’d been told about themselves, what they believed to be true. I realized that even though I saw two gorgeous creatures, they didn’t necessarily see it in themselves.
Stretching out the kinks at a truck stop in Iowa after two days in the car. This week I’m on the road with my four kids and two nieces.
She is the CUTEST. So I’ll be MIA this week, frolicking with my kids, laughing with my parents who are finally empty nesters after 35 years (!!) and trying to give my sister allll the college advice (which thus far has amounted to “never say no to riding a mattress down a mountain in the middle of the night” and “don’t postpone starting final projects.” It’s ok, she still loves me.). In the meantime I have some fun stuff to share:
Fitsugar sent me* a complimentary “must have ” box for June, to try out their box o’ the month club. It came with all these fun goodies:
Our neighborhood has a pool. I’ve never lived in a place before that has one and I have to admit it’s pretty rad. Not for me necessarily – I still hate swimming – but my kids love it and it’s an easy, fun way to get them outside and moving. It’s also fun for me to get to know other people in the area, especially so I can have conversations like this one:
New friend: I’ve seen you at the pool a ton and yet I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in a bikini!
Me: And you never will!
First, as part of my religion (I’m LDS a.k.a. “Mormon”) I choose to stick to one-piece suits. And second, I’m finally at the age where my increasing fear of melanoma and my decreasing ability to care what people think of me intersect! Wooohooo!
I should probably tell you what I was wearing when this conversation happened: An Athleta UPF 50 jacket-dress thingy with long sleeves and a high collar, ankle length running tights, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and so much sunscreen I should buy stock in Banana Boat. I did also happen to have a swimsuit on underneath although it’s anyone’s guess why I bothered at that point. (I think it’s because I’ve been peeing properly for so many decades now that it’s obviously time to up the difficulty. Also, it’s not as hot as you think. Promise!) In other words, I looked like a complete dork.
Bucket lists are as popular these days as prison tattoos and while I love the idea of having goals and dreaming big, just because something is on The List doesn’t mean it’s a Good Idea. So here are 10 things that if you really want to do, then go for it but if you’re only doing them because everyone says you should then you officially have my permission to scratch these off your bucket list with no guilt. You can still be a fitness nerd in good standing!
(And now the part where I confess. I have done every single one of these things. And I’m not sorry I did. But I pretty much did them the wrong-est way they could be done and I did get hurt quite often. So if you love these things I’m not telling you to quit them or that they’re bad – with the exception of #9 – but rather that if you want to try them, at least be smarter about it than I was!)
1. Do a mud run/obstacle race
Women ovulate. Sometimes we do it while walking down the street, during meetings, talking on the phone and even while we sleep. Oh hi mom! I’m good. You? Oh nothing much, just sitting here spontaneously popping out an egg and thinking fondly of you! In fact some of us are probably doing it rightthisverysecond and you wouldn’t even know it! Heck, we might not even know it! Just part of the magic of having lady bits. But some of us know exactly when the egglet is expelled because we do it while doubled over in pain. And up until this month I could only sympathize with that group of ladies.
I’ve always had wicked PMS – cramps, bloating, zits and, my favorite, the everybody-hates-me’s – but my actual eggsplosion has always occurred unnoticed. Occasionally I’d have some jealousy when my friends complained of having mittelschmerz but that was mostly just because they got to use “mittelschmerz” in a sentence. (Seriously, say it! Say it again! SO FUN.) Being able to detect one’s own egg-letting seemed like a cool party trick but I can already pick my nose with my tongue so I was covered on that front.
“You see my happy shirt?” The little girl’s insistent face pressed nearly up to mine before I noticed her, so enthralled I was with the book I was reading tonight at the library. Truth to be told I didn’t notice her shirt at all, at first, but rather her halo of little cornrow braids with various candy wrappers expertly tied in so that she looked just like a rainbow of Skittles. So I smiled. What other option did I have?
Proudly she unzipped her jacked and puffed out her twee chest, her toddler breath puffing into my face, reminding me that I still had a shirt to admire. The shirt in question was hot pink with a large smiley face emblazoned on it in black glitter. Her own broad grin echoed that of her shirt. “Well that is the happiest shirt I have ever seen!” I exclaimed both acknowledging and dismissing her in a single breath. Heaven knows I have enough insistent little faces to deal with in my life and for once they were busily reading their own books (which in Jelly Bean’s case entailed putting all the toddler board books into her tiny grocery cart and proclaiming “It’s on sale!” with each new find – wherever would she have got that from??) so would anyone begrudge me my ten minutes of peace?
From playgrounds to red carpets, selfies are everywhere these days. Unfortunately selfie etiquette hasn’t caught up with the trend yet, as evidenced by the student who recently tried to snap a picture of himself in the lap of a priceless 19th century statue — and broke its leg off in pursuit of an “extreme selfie”. I’d define that for you except that it just seems to be “an insane picture with my face in it so people can identify the body/law enforcement can locate me/I win parties”. (Side note: the part that bothered me most about Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons – sequel to The Da Vinci Code– wasn’t all the weird Catholic myths but the fact that all the main characters kept crawling all over famous ancient statues! It was brutal.)
But one moderately cuckoo dude with a Go Cam upped the extreme selfie standard to a new high (literally) with this:
Seriously, my palms are sweating just looking at this picture. The video version kinda made me want to vomit.
In an art house, hermetically sealed both from germs and the passage of time, this conversation happened:
“Yo, did you see the thigh-gap on that chick last night?”
“The big space between her legs! It’s the must-have accessory of the year. All the girls want one.”
“Yeah, I kind of thought so too.”
“And kind of sad.”
“But hey, you know what would really help women feel better about their bodies? If we made a movie that objectified them! And then lopped off their heads! And took away their voices! How better to make them accept their bodies than by showing them that’s all they are? The ladeezzz are going to loooove this!”
“Ooh and let’s film it in that awesome early-70’s porn style! It’s super flattering and we can have a sun setting into the ocean BETWEEN HER LEGS.”
Okay so that may not have been how this ridiculous thigh-gap movie was born but honestly that’s the kindest way I can see this thing coming about. How else would someone have thought “I need to help women feel better about their legs” and come up with THIS?? (Watch the video below at your own peril. I am not responsible for any rage-induced aneurysms.)
I can still vividly remember her face — her dark hair curling around her face, her hands gesturing widely as she told me a very dramatic story. I nodded and grinned. Then I remember her big eyes filling with tears. Wait, what? I wiped the idiot smile off my face and wracked my brain for the English translation of the word she kept repeating. Finally, after some interesting and animated charades, I realized that my high-school Spanish teacher had failed me miserably. He never taught me the word for miscarriage.
I’d been sitting with this woman in Chiclana, Spain, for half an hour, the whole time smiling and bobbing my head like a maniacal puppet, pretending I was following her. And the whole time she’d been telling me about losing her baby. (Don’t ask me how I ended up in Chiclana, talking to a woman I’d just met about dead babies. That’s a whole different story!) My point: I felt like a total tool. My real point: My Spanish was not as good as I thought it was and not remotely as good as I needed it to be.