“The self-respect and peace of mind you long for is not out there—it’s within. I hate that, I resent that more than I can say. But, it’s true.” ~ Anne Lamott
I fired a part of me the other day that has been demanding I look a certain way, weigh a certain number, and be a certain size in order to be “enough.”
It happened in my closet as I was trying to put on yet another pair of tight pants and felt a twinge of embarrassment that they didn’t fit anymore.
I heard that voice say, “See, you’ve gained weight. How could you? Hurry up and cleanse so you can drop 10 pounds fast.” For the first time in my almost 49 years of life, I finally heard myself respond differently. “No more of this madness,” I said out loud as I grabbed a different pair of pants that were a size larger.
I picked up the journal where I had written my health and weight goals for the month. With fresh eyes, I read what I wrote. The goals sounded great on paper. However, I had been so busy trying to fix what’s on the outside that I was missing the entire point.
It’s an inside job.
Sometimes the longest road we can travel is the one we make from our head to our heart. Suddenly, what I had known in my head for years finally made a direct heart landing. My goals had become barriers rather than stepping stones toward what I truly desired from the inside out.
Our bodies are not problems to be solved.
Anne Lamott once said, “One of the blessings of age is you surrender to the truth of time and life that things droop and sag and it’s fine, and if you worry about it longer it starts to argue a wasted life. You can spend your life burnishing the surface, but in the meantime, you could be on the floor playing Legos with your kids and grandkid.”
I opened a blank page in my journal, took my pen to paper, and set out to write a vision regarding my health and weight aligned with my spirit. I prayed for a bit and meditated for a while, asking God to show me what I needed to know. My hope is that what landed will be of benefit in some way to others who grapple with accepting their bodies and this thing called aging.
The Juicy Beauty Manifesto
I am not the size of my pants or the number on a scale. I am not the comparisons I make or the body I had 20 years ago. I’m not my triceps or once-upon-a-time firm ass or the before-kids flat stomach.
I’m not how I look in my jeans or whether my stomach has a roll or if my hair is turning gray. This confining version of myself that determines whether I am pretty enough or strong enough or thin enough or sexy enough or busty enough…whatever the enough is for that day, is officially fired.
From now on…
I will sincerely apologize to myself any time I want to criticize how my body looks. I will stand still and wholeheartedly soak in the apology so I can continue to really see myself and love all of who I am. The truth is I do not have the body I had in my 30s because I am not 30 anymore. I’m almost 50. I will look at my curves and rounded edges with loving eyes rather than through a critical lens.
It is a privilege to age, one that I no longer want to take for granted.
And, when I look in the mirror at my naked body, I will stop focusing on what I see as lacking, and, instead, I will be grateful for this version of me. This older me, the one who is now filled with deeper wisdom and a more relaxed spirit. I have earned the lines under my eyes and around my smile. I have lived and loved. I have fallen and risen. As a result, I am softening, easing into a gentle way of living and allowing for more grace to move through me. It’s quieter here, simpler, and far more pleasurable.
I will embrace the beauty that is staring back at me and allow it to be enough. Whispering to myself, “There is nothing here that needs to be fixed. Nothing is broken.”
When I begin to find my mind wandering, I will ground it in appreciation for my health. I will give thanks that my legs can walk, my fingers can move, my mind is still sharp, my breath is deep, my eyes see, and my heart pumps. I will mindfully and lovingly nourish my body with foods that breathe life into it. I will choose to live from a place of health and wellness. Eating will be about nourishment, rather than trying to obtain some endgame result of a certain weight or size.
If I make food choices out of love rather than fear or deprivation, the results will organically happen. I will allow my body to find its natural place at this time in my life.
I will no longer scare myself with black-and-white food beliefs or messages.
I will stop telling myself:
“I will never eat that again.”
“Once I start, I can’t stop.”
“I can’t trust myself with food.”
I will replace those messages with:
“Relax, dear one, and enjoy. You can trust yourself.”
I will move my body in ways that bring me joy. I want to do the stuff that makes my heart beat faster and eyes grow wider. I want to do those things as often as I can, creating happy, pleasure-filled moments.
The illusion that if I reach this weight then I’ll be happy or stronger or prettier is just the lie I keep telling myself. As I get consumed with that message, I start to miss all the juicy stuff that beauty is really made of. That’s a price I’m no longer willing to pay. Are you?
Starting today, let’s:
Give away the pants that no longer fit and go on a date with ourselves to find clothes we love and that no longer pinch. Life is hard enough than to be wrestling with tight pants.
Put the scale away and start to focus on what we are feeling rather than what we weigh. It’s flat-out mean to be stepping on that thing day in and day out.
Shut down the critical voice in our heads and replace it with kindness, love, and praise, offering ourselves the same messages we would a child or a dear friend.
Stop dieting, cleansing, restricting, and beating ourselves over the head with a stick that we will never be enough unless we look a certain way. Diets don’t work anyway.
Uncover how to unapologetically love ourselves and celebrate growing older and embracing the perfectly imperfect bodies we all have a right to age in.
There’s nothing more beautiful than a woman who recognizes her own worth from the inside out. From that place she is able to get out of her own way and focus on love and service, living a life from her highest self.
Now that’s juicy beauty.
AUTHOR: ANNMARIE DEVLIN
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