I have a friend who said this first: “I wish I had a loved my younger body more”. God, I can relate to that statement – even more so today. While I weigh less and am far healthier than my younger self ever was, age might make you wiser, but gravity comes with age and it’s been gathering speed for sure in the last few years! (sigh, sigh, sigh)
I was an overweight child. And was ridiculed and bullied about my weight, by both family and classmates. It was a hideous existence for a child and only got worse as I grew from a child to a tween – to an over-sensitive teenager. I dreamed of being a tall, lithe beauty with red curly hair and green eyes. Given my straight mouse brown hair and behind-the-glasses hazel eyes – I really did know that my dream was, just that, a dream. But I clung to the dream so as not to blunder down the rabbit hole of self-hatred completely. (I would learn, years and years later, about RED hair dye and perms to become a “sorta” redhead with curls…more highlights than actual red hair, yet the curls did help seal the illusion.)
By the time I reached my teens I had become my own stalker…aka “my own bully.”
I didn’t hit my stride until I was in my early 20’s, during which I would lose over 100 lbs, briefly teach yoga and remove meat from my diet. (It would be later, at the end of my twenties, that I would realize and do anything about my dependence on alcohol and drugs – but that’s another post.) Time warp forward and I would relinquish gluten and most dairy as well.
Learning to love my body has been a life-long journey. Part of the journey has been to acknowledge and own my eating habits and to discover an exercise program that would assist in the ‘love my body beautiful project’.
Having been a ‘tomboy’ allowed me to test what skills I might have acquired by learning to play tennis, golf, ski and Rollerblade. Would becoming a gym-rat addict, running, aerobics, kayaking and playing a modicum of racket-ball do the trick in my 40’s? Would swimming, walking, biking, ballet, tap, yoga, Pilates or now Barre3? Really and truly, I enjoyed learning and doing all of these activities, but they certainly never helped me to “L.O.V.E” my body.
However, what those activities did do was to teach me that my DNA gave me a body that was durable, flexible, strong, and athletic; and has never quit on me. Four knee surgeries to repair meniscus tears, on-going chiropractic care to keep the spine erect, sore muscles and pulled tendons not withstanding, I can finally appreciate the body that was given to me.
“When a woman becomes her own best friend life is easier.” ― Diane Von Furstenberg
She is correct.