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Hey 19 : My Younger Body

I wrote a piece a little while back about my First Time. Yes, that first time ergo the capitals. The resulting response, especially from former boyfriends, was fascinating. As a young woman, I raged against the objectification of my body while simultaneously basing my self-esteem and power on the way I looked. Yet I can tell you, I have never thought that my body was anything to be that proud of. And I honestly can’t ever remember saying “I’m beautiful” or the word “enough” when it came to my body image.Hey 19 August 1985 Nags Head on Shalavee.com

Here I am perusing these images of my younger body thinking, what a daggone shame I couldn’t see how very lovely I was. Always adoring other bodies as “better”. Always in need of some improvement from tanner skin to less to pinch to whiter straighter teeth.

My fellow blogger and friend Heather Serody wrote in this post on her blog Big Girl Life, after a steady daily ritual of losing weight with exercise and eating right, she said she needed to go ahead and kill her weight ghost. She said she had arrived at a new norm for her expectations of her daily life style as being healthy, yes…BUT she goes on to say, “Until very recently (try last month) I always believed that despite any other efforts I was making towards being healthy, … I should ALSO be the weight I was in high school.” She concludes that she was imprisoned by a “success or failure mentality for decades”. She went and wrote that “ideal” weight down on a piece of paper and burned it ceremoniously. The ghost was killed.Hey 19 August 1985 Nags Head on Shalavee.com

Her takeaway was this. “Allowing the past to dictate my relative success or failure in the present time is nothing more than chasing a part of yourself that no longer exists…The culture of staying active and strong, when it gets implanted deep into who you are, frees you from all or nothing thinking. The big goal is to live an active life, eat healthy, and try to squeeze every drop of joy from living that truth.” Amen sister.Hey 19 August 1985 Nags Head on Shalavee.com

I will never be the weight I was when I was here at 19 or 25 or even possibly 30 again. I am resolved that the spastic little gal I was who smoked and was the energizer bunny waitress for all those years won’t be resurrected. And that’s fine by me. I’m making progress using the My Fitness Pal app and have already hit my pre-baby size 12. I can fit into my clothing again and that’s amazing. And I can proudly say that my heart, the one muscle that needs to be in shape with weekly exercise, is healthy and strong.  Hey 19 August 1985 Nags Head on Shalavee.com

Now is the time to make sure my head is also in the most beautiful shape it can be after so many years of low self-esteem. Seeing these lovely pictures of my teenage self has brought a new compassion for myself and all the young women of America who have fallen prey to the media’s self-image cruelty. And I killed my weight ghost as soon as I read Heather’s piece last November. Living in the now and being grateful for it is the gift I want to continue to give myself for the rest of my life.

How do you hold yourself hostage? If only I’d… If I could just… When I get to this point, I’ll …

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6 Responses to “Hey 19 : My Younger Body”

  1. Heather says:

    Shalagh oh my goodness! Here’s to killing off old ghosts! You’re simply lovely at 19, and still are. Full-circle. Thanks for the shout-out, it means a lot to me. Hugs,
    Heather

    • Shalagh says:

      Heather, I meant to give you a heads up but Easter happened. You are an inspiration darlin’ and don’t you forget it.
      Love and thanks to you,
      Shalagh

  2. Melissa says:

    Its funny I never met 1 girl who thought they, themselves were pretty. Imagine if we could age backwards, how much trouble would we get in? More than what we did that is for sure. Sophie asks me all the time what will I look like when I am older? Fascination, wonderment is her quest now. Since I have a daughter I reflect on how to keep her self image tip top. My answer is strength, physical. I am so glad she loves ballet. Girls who are strong, smart, happy are always beautiful. Ballet is important because she will have full control and knowledge on what her body can do. To revel in that, move like a boss. No one gets low self esteem when they are proud of their strength. Shalagh you were and still are beautiful.

    • Shalagh says:

      Yes, I know you believe in strong women. And yes, ballet gave me such a good sense of my body when I became awkward in my prepubescent body. Have you ever considered killing your teen weight ghost too?
      Thanks for the love and attention. I do so very much appreciate it.
      Want to see you someday soon.
      Love,
      Shalagh

  3. Amy Reese says:

    I’ll never be my college weight again. Nope, never. But I have a goal and I think it’s doable. The most important thing for me is to feel healthy. That’s great you’re thinking of your healthy heart. As we get older, our bodies change so much anyway. I look at older women who become skeletons. See now, we need a little cushion to prepare for that. 🙂

    • Shalagh says:

      The heart is the most important organ we have emotionally and physically, don’t you think Amy? And I will always advocate moving your butt because it makes me sleep better and helps with my mood, not to mention the taking these last pounds off. I am so impressed that you are running again. I love being outside and letting all the sights and thoughts stream. Unfortunately, I haven’t been running outside since I can’t remember. I’m always on the treadmill at the Y.
      Love Ya’,
      Shalagh

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