What is a real Woman?

Am I a real Woman?

“Real women have curves.” You hear this from many different places. As “plus size” women do we try to over compensate by declaring ourselves better for having curves? Are we fighting against what has made us feel rejected for so long?

By saying real women have curves we are enacting the same “us, them” attitude that has gotten us into this mess in the first place.

Real women come in all shapes, sizes, sexual orientations, races, talents, likes, dislikes. In fact, I would really like to take out the word “Real” all together. It implies that the opposite is somehow fake in some way. I have many friends without curves and I’m pretty sure they are real and I’m pretty sure they are “real” women.

Am I being too serious? Can’t we joke? Yeah, I mean believe it or not I am a jokester. But, as a society we have taken appearance and telling people what is or is not good wayyyyyyy beyond where it needs to go. But this is a serious issue in society and people do end up with eating disorders as a result of societal judgements. What role could humor serve though? Could making this issue more lighthearted among friends relieve some of the tense energy around it? I would say…maybe…and know your crowd.

I joke around with my friends all of the time in fact. We joke about our bodies, and everything really. But, to make wide-spread judgements and campaigns about what a real woman is or is not isn’t too funny to me.

So don’t worry  anymore, get out there. Be a woman. Do your thing. Owning your “woman-ness” has nothing to do with curves or not.

A Dance of Sorts…

You dance with me as your words flow from your heart.

We embrace in a way that is so profoundly familiar.

Your hand on mine through conversation.

I can sense you here and now at this moment because I know you.

Other people might never understand.

Maybe I don’t understand either.

Isn’t it nice sometimes to put aside reason and flow with the moment?

Although a definition is forming, you offer none to me.

Nor do I ask for any, as this might change the perfect moment.

In this time you are you, and I am me..and somewhere somehow our worlds are colliding in a dance.

We dance because there is a rhythm. We dance because there is life.

We dance because the music guides us to our place.

When the last note is played we realize the music plays on.

And then we start the dance all over again.

And your hand touches mine but still I have not seen you.

Embracing my body and bathing suit season…

Embracing my body and bathing suit season…

 

Just let it go…..Let what go? What does letting go feel like? Why should I let i go? Don’t I need to hang onto it? If I don’t hang onto it will I be safe? What am I safe from? Am I REALLY safe if I hang on, or am I hanging on to a false sense of safety? If I don’t let go, what will that be like? Well, a lot like right now and how does right now feel? Well, it feels like I am death gripping so tight to a hope for a reality that is not my current reality, and might not even need to be my reality if I just opened my heart a little bit. No, letting go feels like living somewhere outside of now. But, what about now? Shouldn’t I be able to have now? Shouldn’t I be able to string a thousand nows together and create a piece of art? I think so. What kind of art will I create? …art makes me happy….

Weird…I thought all those things I wanted so desperately would make me happy?

Maybe, you should be happy anyways, and then what follows will be way for meaningful. oooooo, THAT’s why you want me to let go. 

 

* I am 100% aware of how fast and chaotic the above thought process appears…and for good reason. It is. It is not calm. It is not peaceful. It is disorganized and disjointed. But, it is mine nonetheless.*

I have just given a snip-it into my mind over the last year or so of trying to let go of some damaging beliefs about my body and my world. Fascinating I am sure! I have no idea if anyone reading this can decipher it, but I’m ok with that. Maybe then I have successfully painted the back and forth chit-chat rattling away in my “youngish” brain. I think what is most apparent is fear and thinking that if I can just get to a magical spot or goal THEN I will reach the golden egg of happiness and self-acceptance.

For the purpose of this blog, the thing I was always searching for wasI “reaching my goal weight.” I am talking about fitting into society’s version of a “sexy sexy” body. OK? get the picture? (I put 2 sexys in there to really highlight having a sexy sexy body.) I am talking about EVERY single diet commercial offering us what we have always wanted: LOVE.

L-O-V-E.

Unconditional Love FOR OURSELVES does not come conveniently packaged in a 100 calorie package. It can not be found in an app where we measure everything we put in our mouths. Our self-worth is not measured this way. GUESS WHAT? Here is the good news: you are already worth 100% of what you are externally seeking. It is there. It has been there this whole time.

So, what does this have to do with bikini/bathing suit season??? Well, I came to realize something. Basically, for my whole life except now, I have been always trying to lose weight for something. I have a wedding coming up: better lose weight, I have to see old friends: should probably do a cleanse. It’s almost summer: maybe I should sign up and start tracking points…. When I think back on how much energy I wasted doing all of that shenanigans, I feel a bit sad really, and it’s ok to say I feel sad. I feel like I wasted parts of my life. You know what, I already was a hot sexy mama in my own way. And even if I wasn’t I can tell you in the most recent past, that I usually didn’t lose weight. In fact, all that focussing on dieting really lead me to gain weight. There was a point in my life, when I controlled every piece of food, and ya my weight. However, I usually felt starved. Constantly starved. I felt starved for love, for satisfaction, to be thinner. I felt starved for connection, for expression and most of all I think I felt starved for myself. Helllooooo self where aaaare you??? I am here a little voice would tell me. Sometimes it told me lies like, if you lose 20 pounds then you will find a partner that will love you. Sometimes, those lies still creep in. I take an honest look at them now. They are not as scary. Because, they are trying to tell me something I need to hear.

I recently read that sometimes when people emerge from a place of pain or darkness into hope again, this can be one of the most traumatic times. It sounds contradictory, but I now believe it to be true. As I emerge from this place, I feel such deep gratitude, but yes, I mourn those years I spent hating myself. I also feel fear. What is next? I am still afraid in many ways to truly let go. Like, if I do not control everything, then I will be vulnerable. Well, that’s why I am still on this path. That’s why this is all a journey.

I am excited for this bathing suit season, because I am excited to swim, to feel the sun on my face and to find enjoyment in all of my favorite things. I did not see ,that to come first from this place is the only way for me to go. I thought if I stopped trying to lose weight and have the perfect body, I was giving up on myself. The opposite is true. Every time I looked in the mirror and said, “yuck”, or pinched my skin, covered myself up, or avoided seeing friends out of embarrassment. THAT is when I was giving up on myself. THAT is when I was slowly bit by bit losing me.

Please do not think “I always think WOW I look great in my bathing suit look at me!” I am not always like you are beautiful, look at you! NO, still those voices creep in. Still, sometimes I compare myself. Still a group of women sitting around talking about their weight and dieting CAN trigger me to second guess myself. But, then, I goto a place of the second best thing. If I can not get to “I look absolutely fantastic right now”, I can at least get to, “I accept you as you are right now. I accept that I love you self. I extend so much freaking self-compassion towards myself that I usually can not help but snap back into reality.”  If not, I usually just wait, or surround myself by positive people. Like I said, self-compassion isn’t easy.

Sayings about living in the present moment do not just exist because people like clichés. I will tell you, I actually historically rejected clichés, I like to think I am original(sometimes illusions are, ok. Just kidding.). But really, enjoy this moment. Enjoy whatever body you have. It does soooooooo much more for you than look or not look good in a bathing suit.

 

Here is a quick list of 10 things not related to the appearance of my body that I like about it:

1. Holding my nieces and nephews little hands when they are crossing the street.

2. Planting any kind of plant— making a garden.

3. Using my eyes to see all of the rich colors of the world.

4. Using my ears to hear the music that expresses the soul’s desire of another human being.

5. Painting.

6. The fact that I held my grandmother’s hand so many times, that I can still remember the touch of her skin.

7. The blood running through my veins carrying messages and nourishment to my cells.

8. Dancing.

9. Holding a baby.

10. Petting an animal.

 

When I look at this list, I remember when I made a similar one years ago as I began to look at my self-image. I think back and ya I thought these types of things were great, but I still really really # 1 wanted to be thin. I guess why I write that, is to say, that progress can take time, but it is possible. Nothing about this journey is easy. But, as I sit here exciting to but on my new bathing suit and I look at this list, I am confident that change is a real thing. It just starts with one step at a time.

 

Happy Swimming!!! And happy Summer!

-No coincidence I love the water, being a mermaid and all 😉

-A Mermaid Named E.D.

 

Pondering the Mangroves…

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Ahhh the Mangroves. I have seen these trees many times in my life. I would mostly admire their intricate root structure, and the way they seem to grow directly out of the water, creating a land mass all of their own. I would notice the way the water birds rested in their branches waiting to see their dinner of fish swim by. I would marvel at the way these trees created a habitat all of their own and seemed to define the intracoastal waterway. I have heard, that to find refuge from a storm, they should seek the protection of the mangrove trees that have learned to adapt and flourish despite howling winds and blinding rains. But, what I had never heard of, until last year was the purely magically way a mangrove tree filters out the salt from the brackish water so that it may drink the water left behind. Unbelievable! I thought when I heard this. The miraculous ability of nature again blew my mind. Nature and these mangrove trees never fail to teach me lessons and remind me that miracles are possible. If you look closely, you might be able to see a few leaves on the trees that are yellow. These are the leaves that are “sacrificed” by filtering the salt water so that the whole tree can flourish. 

As I think about the mangrove tree, I think about sacrifices I have made in my own life. Have they always felt good at the time? Have I always handled them with grace or cheer? No…. But, looking back now instead of thinking of them as sacrifices, I don’t see them as black and white as I did at the time. Perhaps, I clung to things I didn’t need just because I had a hard time letting go, or maybe I had to make a difficult decision. Sacrifice…I ponder the meaning of this, as I am not sure I have a full understanding of its meaning. I know I am not willing to lose an essential part of myself just to make other people like me or approve of my actions. I have perhaps done this at times, and it has not gotten me anywhere good. I have, at times, gotten so lost in something, that I have forgotten to remember what is truly important in my heart. But, I do not think the mangrove is teaching about an unnatural sacrifice that in the end only injures. When you look at how it flourishes, you know it teaches a different lesson. It teaches about design and innovation. It teaches about resiliency and life lessons learned. It teaches how to stay strong when the storm rages on and how to draw nourishment from the saltiest of water. Perhaps, this is sacrifice, allowing oneself to remain dedicated even in the face of adversity and remembering to stay true to oneself and one’s purpose in the hardest of times. Thank you mangrove trees for getting my mind thinking. I already loved spending time on the water you call home, but now you deepen my experience even more as you reflect back to me the power of resiliency.