No, not THAT (although that is still very important, IMHO, and part of a happy marriage/partnership and now, according to a bunch of studies, REALLY good for one's physical well-being!), but the bigger It.
Life. The Universe. Everything. (And thank you again, Douglas Adams!)
OK, maybe not that much. But in terms of my own health and well-being, I'm starting to understand things more.
Yesterday we were in the car staring at the literally hundreds of santas running around San(ta) Francisco. (More on what the heck exactly THAT was about later.) I noticed that many of the females were sexy Santas, while the guys were more funny/creative santas.
And that made me sad. Because, yet again, the guys were having fun while the gals felt they HAD to be sexy.
But I also caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror, and was a bit shocked; how did I get so TIRED-looking in 5 years?
I mean, I KNOW how it happened; there are 2 main reasons, and they are very adorable and energetic.
But there's another part of it.
Somewhere along the line I bought into the idea that because I am a mom, and post-40, I am no longer attractive. Granted, I DO NOT miss the days of catcalls and subway gropes, but that doesn't mean I had to buy a ticket for the express train to Frumpytown, does it?
I think it started as a healthy rebellion: I was pregnant with WG, LG was not even 2 years old, I was exhausted, and I quit acting. I had an excuse to NOT pursue the Unattainable Hollywood Beauty Ideal. I had reasons for not being a working actor. I didn't have to deal with ALL THAT CRAP anymore, and it was liberating!!!!!
Then, for a few years, I was genuinely, truly, too exhausted to make an effort. I didn't go anywhere, so why bother with new clothes and makeup? For 6 years I didn't sleep through the night, sat up with screaming, crying children, schlepped them around to all their various schools and therapies, and didn't work outside of home. I had no friends, no social life, no LIFE beyond the kids and their needs. Who had the energy to figure out personal style? I just wanted a nice long nap!
But now the kids are a bit older, they spend most of the day in school, and I not only have jobs, I have job INTERVIEWS coming up! And nothing to wear! My makeup style is from 1992, my hair sits on my head like Medusa on a bad snake day, and my face looks like something out of "Dawn of the Dead." I live in workout pants and hoodies.
I looked at myself and saw someone who had given up, and that made me incredibly sad.
I don't believe that how we look is the be-all/end-all of who we are. But I DO think that we ALL have the right to feel good in our skin, and if a new pair of jeans or a jacket or a different hairstyle helps, then why not? This is not about getting a boob job so I can "feel good about myself." (If you think you need a boob job for that, you're better off spending your money on a good therapist. Just my opinion.) This is about NOT wanting to disappear anymore.
I'm tired of trying to be invisible. Of pretending that my thoughts and feelings don't matter. Of making everyone else so much more important than me.
Of being afraid.
It's time to be BOLD!
It's also time to take care of ME. Yes, I want to lose weight (still!), but I want to have ENERGY, dammit! And if that means avoiding certain foods and gravitating towards others, so be it! That's EXACTLY what IE is about (that was a bit of a light bulb for me). Finding the things that are going to make me feel GOOD! Yes, I CAN eat a huge bowl of pasta, but if it gives me the worst acid reflux of my life, do I really WANT to?!?! Do I want that chocolate that's just OK, or do I hold out for the really good stuff? Eating that bagel with cream cheese is totally fine on my day off, but before I teach, I should probably go for the egg, egg whites, spinach and avocado. It's YUMMY, and it'll keep me going a lot longer.
Do I really need to work out 12 hours a week? No! In fact, that's probably one of the reasons I put on all that weight. It's time to shake things up a bit. Go for shorter, more difficult, more intense workouts that will pep me up and make me strong.
And RIGHT NOW, I need to give a HUGE shout-out to my girl Charlotte form The Great Fitness Experiment: her book is out (available at Amazon.com!) and I received my copy just a few days ago. I'd also just started reading "The Female Body Breakthrough" by Rachel Cosgrove and following BODYROCKtv.com, both of which I read about on Charlotte's blog. And they all say the same thing; long, steady-state cardio workouts can do more harm than good. AND they cause weight gain! Which is why all those loooooooong-a** bike rides I went on no only didn't help me lose weight, but helped lead to the gain! I think from now on I'll ride my bike, swim, and hike for FUN, and stick to interval and weight-training for help with re-shaping my body.
(And Pilates and yoga? They are, for me, preventative medicine. It's what will help keep my muscles and bones strong, my posture tall, and prevent injury. I wish EVERYONE would do Pilates and yoga!)
(Oh, and Charlotte writes that the Step-Mill is the modern-day equivalent of Sisyphus; LOVE it, lol!!!!)
So this is me, back from the dead. No longer accepting that exhaustion is my natural state of being, or that this extra flesh is inevitable AND makes me a less-worthy human being, or that a pale face with under-eye circles the size of a galaxy is just How I Look Now. I'm not gonna run out and pay exorbitant fees on a makeover; I'm going to talk to People Who Know About These Things. Like my sisters-in-law, and the ladies at the makeup counter at the mall, and others I can find.
Because the only thing I'm giving up on now is giving up!
OK, so the Santa thing: Turns out there's this (apparently) worldwide movement called Santa Con. some cities around the world choose a day, and whomever wishes to participate dresses up like Santa and goes on a citywide pub crawl. hubby and i were wondering why all the santas seemed to be converging on the bars, and now we know.
There are some rules and guidelines. It's OK to be a bit naughty, but not downright mean. Treat other pedestrians and the bar staff well. be courteous. Take cabs!!!!!
They also recommend comfortable shoes, as there is a lot of ground to cover and much walking to be done. At least, in the beginiing. Some folks looked like they were ready to be poured into a cab. Taxi cab, not cabernet (Waka waka!)
So if you're interested, google Santa Con and see if there's one in your city!