The struggle to accept my body in 2011

This post will conclude my public review of 2011…come on; ya know I can’t share everything! 2011 has been good in many ways, professional growth, dealing with old demons and a host of other things. There is one area though where 2011 wasn’t quite as good and that’s my body! After losing damn near 50 pounds and keeping it off for several years, my weight situation came to a head in 2010 thanks to what turned out to be double hernia repair surgery. What was supposed to be a quick fix and move on situation, had me laid up damn near six weeks and for months afterward I was still physically limited. You know the song…I gained weight.

I pretty much gained the weight while laying around, relaxing on pain pills spending too much time indulging in bad television and snacking. I figured as soon as I was back to full mobility, I would drop the weight. It didn’t happen and somewhere along the way after years of being a devoted member of Weight Watchers, I got tired of the weekly weigh in drill and said fuck it! Weight Watchers can be a good program, but I feel that it’s a crutch, for me the idea of weekly weigh- ins and tracking every morsel I put into mouth for the rest of life is frankly depressing.

So for the first time in heaven knows how many years, I have seen very little of Weight Watchers this year. Yay for me! Or maybe not! I am approximately 15 pounds over my “goal” weight according to those handy charts that tell you what you should weigh and I am struggling. On the one hand, I seem to have stopped the weight gain, for many months now I have maintained my current weight, I strive to eat decently and occasionally even move my ass. I admit work and family get in the way of my desires to move.  It seems the downside of living in a small town/city is that most exercise classes are pretty much offered in the evening, same time I am at home trying to get in quality time and dinner with the six year old.

I am a big believer in self-care and certainly taking care of my physical needs is self-care however as the parent of a small child, I am simply not comfortable being gone 1+ hours in the evening. Especially because on days I work from the office rather than from home, we have exactly 3 hours together. Some may say I am making it harder than it needs to be, but I know my child and considering her intensity, we need our time together. Instead I take a morning yoga class and try to sneak out for the occasional evening class but it most certainly isn’t weekly. Granted my yoga practice is more mental and spiritual than physical.

So I have been in a funk over the body, since this extra 15 pounds has gone straight to my ass, hips and lower belly necessitating the need to go up a few sizes. Growl. Lately though I have been pondering the mental issues of weight gain, why does my personal opinion of myself dip if I gain weight or soar if my weight dips. Am I not the same person regardless of my size? Mentally this makes sense but emotionally I am struggling.

I end 2011 not with the goal of losing this weight but with a desire to make peace with this body that houses my soul. To know that I am more than a set of numbers either on a scale or the tag of a blouse, to accept that who I am does not change just because I have a little more padding. I am tired of having my self worth tied into my appearance. Just as I struggle to accept my weight, it’s starting to hit me that I am aging. In my mind, I am still that lithe 20 year old, but that body does not exist. I admit in a society that prizes youth, accepting that one is aging can be hard. But again, am I not more than this physical container?

The older I get I am convinced that true wellness starts with our minds and rather than fretting over my physical state, I want to get my mind right and trust that my body will do what it needs to do when it’s ready to do it. In the meantime, I accept and acknowledge that it is a struggle.  So maybe in the end 2011 wasn’t as hard on my body as I initially thought.

Peri you b**ch….talking woman talk!

Today’s post is for the gals, specifically the gals in their late 30’s and beyond or for those who love such a gal. Granted if you are younger feel free to read because one day your time will come; by the way this post is not for the squeamish…nah, I am not getting super gross but this is a real talk post.

It’s been a while but can we revisit the issue of perimenopause, or Peri as I have taken to calling this wretched bitch. Yeah, Peri has me down today, add in this freak snow storm in late October and I am feeling like hot shit. I have a birthday coming up soonish, first of the year to be exact. All goes well it will be my last year in my 30’s and let me tell you in recent months, I am really starting to feel a shift in my body.

I always love when someone tells me I am not old, no 38 is not exactly old as Methuselah but let’s get real, 38 ain’t 18 and while my mind is young, my body is starting to let me know in subtle and not so subtle way that I am moving away from my youth. Back in my youth, my period was a mild inconvenience, yeah the cramps sucked but that’s what Advil was for! In the past year though my periods have started to consume my life, for starters these mood swings a week before my period actually begins are brutal! Just the other day, the Spousal Unit joked it was no longer I that needed a red tent but maybe he needs a getaway. Some women would find that comment sexist and get pissed but the truth is lately I get so uncontrollably ragey for several days that I want to run out of my own damn body! The unexplainable rage is scary; I call it the I don’t like anyone time of month…that is the truth. People just piss me off, their crime? They exist and that is all.

Let’s add in the fact that in the past year that once my flow starts, there is no relief until she is over. I mean really, how can you have relief when you are flowing like the Nile River? Once upon a time, a pad and tampon combined was just an extra added precaution to ensure no accidents. I am now up to super plus tampons and large pads yet in the first 36 hours of my cycle, I am soaking these bitches to completion in 2-3 hours. Yes, you read that shit correctly. Think about that for a minute…it means that if my flow starts on a day when working from the house is not an option, I live in fear of accidents.

Oh, I have talked to my health care provider, and we have discussed my options, hormonal options that might at least level out my personal river aren’t an option for numerous reasons. There were some other possibilities but thanks to that pesky factoid that I lack health insurance, most are way too cost prohibitive at this time. So for 6-7 days a month, I am a flowing river, add in the 6-7 days a month when humans annoy me, that basically means half the month now is impacted and driven by my hormones. It sounds funny but the truth is it’s anything but funny and had someone told me this shit when I was oh 30, I would have said you are fucking crazy!

I was in a meeting the other night with a gal dealing with hot flashes (she’s a bit older than me) and for all her misery, all I could think was if the hot flashes mean I at least lose the river flow, I will gladly embrace that stage of my womanly development!

Now that I have gotten down to the nitty gritty, let me ask why didn’t anyone tell us this shit? Seriously, why are women waltzing towards perimenopause so uninformed? It wasn’t until I started occasionally bringing this stuff up that I realized I was not special, that almost every women I know in my age demographic is battling some form of this peri madness. Yeah, we talk about the upside of hitting our late 30’s which is that sex is great, for many of us our drive goes up, up and away. Some weeks I joke with the Spousal Unit I need to become a cougar or some shit; everyone knows women hit their peak around this time. So yeah, that’s fucking awesome but then it’s completely blown away by this nasty shit. I mean raging sex hormones when the world is pissing you off is actually a fucked up combination. One minute you are screaming at your poor partner and the next you are like “come here and do me now!”

Ladies we have to do better, our daughters need to know that there is more than puberty and menopause. More importantly we need to talk about this stuff so that if nothing else there is comfort in knowing we are not the only ones. As for me, back to the fetal position and counting the days I am “normal” again.

PS: If you are in this age group and haven’t experienced perimenopause, you are a lucky woman and don’t tell me.

We no longer age, we just get younger

Am I the only one who gets bothered by the cheesy slogans that 30 is the new 20, 40 is the new 30 and so on? Seriously it seems that no one wants to get old, instead we all want to stay perpetually stuck in our youth, despite the fact that in many cases (not all) that with age we start to get some wisdom. Grandmas these days don’t want to be called Grammie, Granny or any word that might let folks know they are not so young. In fact Grandmas don’t even look like Grandmas anymore.

Its strange because I look a lot younger than my age but it most certainly is not because I have done anything to achieve that, more a result of my gene pool. This past week when my son (elder boy) was home, I encountered several instances where folks thought he was my husband and while some might find that complimentary, to some degree that bugged me. At first it was cute when folks mistook him for my brother or partner but the incredulous looks when I explained he was my son are starting to wear on me.

I suspect I may be one of the few almost 40 year old women, who doesn’t mind being my age. Its one of the reasons I hesitate to color my hair since the only outward indicator that I am not so young is the gray streak in my hair, it has character and despite my best friend’s insistence that I should color it, I say why? Why fear getting old?

I remember when almost 40 year old women looked old, now they look like they are 25, hello Stacey Dash? Problem is we spend so much time trying not to look our age and retain our youthful appearance that we seem to forget a key point and that is surely as we are born…guess what? We will all be checked out of this place at one point or another. In other words we are all  on train ride where the end destination is the same, last stop on the life train is a place called death. Its unavoidable, no one cheats death, it gets the best of us all. Rich, poor, black, white the one destiny we all share is that we will leave this place.

The quest for youth at times is mind boggling, get a touch of botox  only a few dollars, hair color, tummy tucks and so on…I’m sorry but its just too much for me.

I miss the ole days when Grandmas wore flowered house dresses and looked like Grannies and did nice simple Grandma shit like bake cookies and play silly games with the grand-kids, I hope that should I be blessed to grow old that I will be that type of Grandma. Nope, Grandma will not be 60 talking about I am still young, I will embrace being an elder, a crone…the last thing I want is to stuck forever in a youthful state.  Shit, getting old is the excuse I need to wear whatever I want and believe me….I will. Old folks also get to say whatever is on their mind, fuck niceties, when  I am 80, I will be the blunt old lady hopefully of sound mind spitting out truth.

So I say bring on the aging instead of praying for youthful looks, I pray to be of a healthy body and mind and spirit.