My body has changed purposes over my lifetime. From a vehicle of play to a ripe fruit. From an object of desirability to a life-giving childrearing machine. And now there’s this, the Pause. Devoid of my lustful worth or my miraculous baby making prowess, I am left standing large in the twilight of old age wondering, what am I supposed to feel about my body now?
According to positive psychology, I am forbidden to loathe my body. When I look down at my swollen belly where my baby factory once was housed, I know that this feature isn’t supposed to solely represent me. I’m also my mind. But in that same mind, I’m thinner, prettier, and different than this.
I’m also not supposed to want to fix this because I’m not broken. I’m human. I’m stressed-out menopausal post-pandemic woman. How do I turn this sight and the trigger to immediately need to fix it into a life changing dialogue instead?
I started by committing to radical self-acceptance, temporarily quitting the gym, and making sure that there wasn’t one stitch of clothing I would grab that was too tight and would make me feel bad or look too bad. I needed to quit the kneejerk mindset of exercising to fix myself. I held back even though I like it. Even though I know I need to be fit under my fat.
Once I had fought the urge to compulsively work-out, and I had the clothing situation sorted, then I began to see and feel the necessity to at least have a Household Chore Core to do things like carry laundry baskets and cat litter bags. And I always swear that exercise gives us the best sleep. I know exercise is a necessary evil.
During the last week in February, I logged back into my Fitbit program. And yesterday on March 7th, I went out for a half hour walk. The weather is becoming beautiful as I’m simultaneously understanding and accepting that I am where I am. I’ve been here before. I’ll probably be back here again. But Change happens from the inside out one habit at a time.
In an unexpected turn, I had an appointment with a new primary care person. I told her that I had come to understand that the anti-anxiety medicine I was on could have contributed to my weight gain and my loss of libido. She gave me an alternate prescription. In three weeks, I’ve lost three pounds, finally breaking the plateau that I had been on for at least a year.
I spent a lot of time and money on Noom last year trying to lose the weight. I wondered what was wrong with me. All year long. And in three weeks, I’ve shifted. And remember, this is without all of the exercise I was doing before. Sometimes there’s another reason that you can’t see yet.
I am working to see myself and my creative life as the miracle they are. I am willing myself forward at whatever pace I need to go at. I am working hard in all the realms other than my body to diminish the patriarchal spell of our bodies as our worth.
And I am always sharing this jumbly wumbly path here in case anyone else needs permission to walk it with me.
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