“Hey pretty,” and other stories from the battle of the bulge!
A Girlboxing reader wrote about the problem of looking into the mirror and shaking her head a bit at the body that stared back at her. That is a hard one to reconcile. There we all are working our bottoms off, eating one pea at a time and going through all the truly difficult work-out stuff, yet because we don’t look like the women adorning the cover of Self magazine we steel ourselves with a sharp intake of breath every time we look at ourselves in the mirror.
It reminds me of the Mighty Aphrodite speech I used to give my friends back in the day when I was — heck, in my early 40s and really full of things! (That’s another story for another day.)
I was going through a breast cancer scare at the time (luckily negative) — but went through one of those moments after the first mammo, when air seemed to be sucked out of the room into a kind of hush as the Radiologist and the Technician came back in to take yet another film. Days later in the waiting room before surgery to remove a bunch of nasty looking calcifications, my two oldest forever friends we’re trying to distract me with tales from their love lives (never a good thing, I can assure you).
Now both were in my estimation beauties. One had long blonde hair a body honed by a lifetime of tennis, racquetball, running, weight lifting and the most perfect shiksa legs you ever saw. The other one had more of an “exotic” beauty and happened to be in one of her thinner than thin stages. To remind you, we were all in your early 40s and yet all these two gorgeous women could talk about was how they hated dating because eventually they’d have to “show” their bodies to a new man. What?!?
Well, to say that I launched was an understatement, my basic point being you are Mighty Aphrodite, hear you roar! Truly. That body staring back at you in the mirror, the one with character and stories and loving feelings. The one that bore children or heartache. The one that fought illness. The one that gained and lost. The one that worked out at five o’clock in the morning and ran in the rain. The body with hints of ripples on your arms from slinging dumbbells or the fabulous movements of a Zumba class is, my friends, BEAUTIFUL.
Even when you hate that extra tire around your middle or my personal favorite, the “You’ve become one of those women,” statement from your doctor. In my case it meant confronting how I’d become my grandmother. However, there is still deep beauty in the saggy skin and cottage cheese that combine to make YOUR fabulous thigh. And to channel my grandmother even more you can go through the three stages of grief according to Lillian Miller: first you cry, then you get up and wash your face, and then you do. None of the seven stages nonsense for her. Life is too damned short and has a way of making you 57 before you know it.
So Girlboxing friends please give yourselves a round of applause for where you are in life — and the next time you look in the mirror blow yourself a kiss and say, “Hey pretty,” it’ll work wonders for you! I know that it did me.
Hear, hear! Love it! Clapping madly!
Thanks so much for this inspiring reminder, GB. We ARE beautiful, we are.
I once wrote a post about a home-made pink pantsuit my great-grandmother made me. It’s not *quite* the same sort of rousing affirmation for women’s beauty that your post is, but it did teach me something about appearances and peer pressure early on… http://www.theglowingedge.com/the-pink-pantsuit/
Love the column Lisa! Your description of the pressures of wearing homemade clothes to school really hit home. My mother used to make my clothes — and even wove the cloth. I experienced one part pride in her ability and about nine parts embarassment at not wearing store bought clothes.
The emphasis we place on such things really is over the top.
Thanks, as always for your great pieces!
Oh this has really touched a nerve with me. I feel like crying ready that. It is me all over, however, now I am grateful for the body that looks back at me that has allowed me to do so much… Thank you x
Thank you so much for that, Brenda. I have to say that you inspired me — and it just means so much that you’re find your way to your beauty!
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Thank so much for the mention and the link!!!
A brilliant idea – your Grandmother sounds like someone we could all do with listening to for a while! Sorry to hear you went through that scare, imagine that puts perspective on a lot of things
Yep, Grandma was one of a kind! She had little tolerance for nonsense and was a curious mixture of old-world sensibilities with a rather broad acceptance for the realities of life; hence she’d actually acknowledge that there was something to cry about, just not dwelling on it! As for the scare … one of a couple, but better to undergo that than the actual experience!