Talking About What Makes Us Vulnerable

I’m sitting here in my mom-van “stalking” my house as we have yet another showing and all I can think is “by golly, I’d love a shower.” I’ve been sick for almost two weeks and instead of feeling fresh as a daisy, I feel like horse-poo. We had a showing at 9am this morning and between getting three kids ready for school, dealing with Old Cat peeing on my bed again, and getting the house show-ready, the wiggle room in my day was under the “personal hygiene” category.

Sitting down the block, waiting for strangers to get out of your bathroom (and the rest of the house) can make a sick-and-possibly-stinky girl start longing for a shower, let me tell you.

Which makes me think about something I noticed the other day when I got out of the shower. (It’s okay, this is PG rated. Promise.)

At some point, my stress eating has caused my hiney to enlarge and not in a JayLo/Kardashian way. Nothing like a white and comfy robe to show a girl how things are really looking these days. If only the Stay-Puffed look would come into fashion.

I’m only partially lamenting this middle-aged body and here’s why: it is what it is. I don’t want to look 18 again and that isn’t my reason for writing this post. Instead, I’ve been thinking about something about bodies and how we talk about other people’s bodies. How our bodies and how we feel about them is one of the ways that we are very vulnerable. That’s why I’m writing.

If I were to land myself on some weight loss themed reality show, I’d have somewhere between 15 and 25 pounds to loose. Which, for some folks, is a laughable amount. And I totally get it. When a person has a significant amount of weight to lose to get to a healthy body weight, hearing someone lament over 15 pounds seems like something s/he should probably just shut up about already.

Except, that attitude is so uncool.

Because it doesn’t matter what the digits say. What matters is how the digits make a person feel. And the feelings of frustration and hopelessness and self-anger are the same feelings no matter what the scale says. It’s like a plane crash. No matter what the extent of a person’s injuries, everyone on board still experienced an airplane crash and that is the real issue the survivors have to learn to live with.

When someone tells me to stop complaining about my body anger issues, it makes me equal parts sad and mad. Say I had a somewhat manageable disease like Type 1 Diabetes. Would it be okay for someone with less manageable disease like leukemia to denigrate my health issues because I wasn’t “sick enough”? Oh heck no. And I don’t think most folks would do that. But when it comes to how we feel about our bodies as extensions of ourselves and our lives, many folks think its okay to judge those feelings as if we have no right to complain about things.

What would happen if we change our perception of this scenario? What if we didn’t view them as complaining but instead as sharing a moment of vulnerability? How much more authentic would our conversations and relationships be? Or would they be changed at all?

I talk about my frustration with my body here and with adults because if I don’t, sometimes it feels like it pour out anyway. And, I try to not talk about bodies and body dissatisfaction around my kids because more than anything I don’t want them to end up with the same stupid hang-ups about themselves as I have.

So if you hear me talk about how hard it is to lose 15 pounds when you are an emotional eater, feel free to just smile and nod or even excuse yourself and go get a beverage. I’m not doing it to draw comparisons or to ask for compliments. I’m doing it because I process my feelings best by talking about them.

And for the record, I don’t care what my scales say. But I would like to get my abdominal measurement to a healthier size based on my physician’s recommendations. And those recommendations aren’t for me to get back to what I weighed at 18. Instead, those recommendations are based on what’s good for someone my height, age, bone structure, and life style.

Okay, I’ll stop ranting now.

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