Friday, July 17, 2009

What lies beneath

I tell you, it is hard to look into the mirror and see the amount of damage that has been done to my body in just one year. The mental and spiritual stress affected my body in the worst way. My body seems to have aged leap years. Stretch marks are in places they have never been, cellulite in proportions greater than the cottage cheese content in Imelda's backup lasagna recipe, and eczema presenting varying shades of discolouration, dryness and severe itching to the point where I cut myself scratching to soothe the irritation. But you wouldn't believe the biggest challenge in the whole reflection episode: loving the woman in the mirror, no matter how disappointing the reflection.

This is the eve of my last Twentysomething year. Surely I have gained some body image insights in the years I have thrashed through the whole complicated issue. And no matter how annoyed I am now that the scale had not budged after intense dance classes this week, I still have lots to love. What do I love about my big fat, spotty, lumpy, stretched marked self?

1. I love the fact that I never stop trying. I never really give up...yes I may kind of zone out for a while and "let myself go" but I never let it happen indefinitely.

2. I love my eagerness to try new things, and to put my body through physical challenges like modern, african, belly dance, and yoga and pilates. I also want to try Tai Chi and some martial arts later on.

3. I love my sense of adventure. I like being outdoors and discovering new places, and being one with nature.

4.I actually like to be active and prefer to work in an active environment like broadcast production and photography, which require a tremendous amount of stamina and physsical fitness especially when location shoots come into play.

5. I love that I can make myself eat things that taste awful simply because they are good for me. I can and do excercise control over what I feed my body (as long as I am not in one of those zoned out modes).

6. I love the fact that I can go from smoking between 10-20 cigarattes per DAY and buying them by the carton, to coming home with less than two pack (not cartons) and not buying any cigarettes since I have come home. I have bummed two single fags since 2 Sundays ago.

7. I love the fact that I try to be real with me. I have my shortcomings and I am not afraid of doing the dirty work of facing them head on in the battle over my soul.

8. I love the fact that a shopping spree is no longer something that brings me happiness. I spend money on things that add significant value to my life. I no longer have credit cards and I plan to keep it that way for as long as I can.

9. I love my refusal to apologize for my presence. I occupy space, fat or skinny and I make no apologies for that. Yes the mirror image under harsh light may be a little daunting but there is a whole lot more of me to love than stretch marks, eczema and cellulite can interfere with. I am a woman, whose body changes through the different phases of life to which I learn to adapt and grow towards. I learn more about me in the tough times anyway...and that is when I have to really do resistance and circuit training of the mind, body and spirit. Guess what happens as a result? I get stronger and build endurance.

10. I love the fact that I have picked a man who loves me for all the goodness that lies within because as he often says "all beauties fade."

In spite of all the topical and superficial things we are blasted with by the media and their sponsors telling us that we have to look and dress a certain way to be happy, the truth is that all that is what it is-surface. Just like the stretch marks and the eczema. The real stuff that we are made of lies beneath. When we are balanced, grounded and centred, it all shines through.


Azikiwe said...

...and because you are cognisant of these ten elements, stretch marks will always be sexy on you.


Z said...

A bit late - but happy birthday. And I suspect you are well worth loving.

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