Thursday, 25 November 2010

From Strength to Freedom

First published 2007

At age 16 I was cute and sexy, so I was told – I thought I had fat ankles and bum. At age 21 I was through with several diets and still thought the same, always aware of my flaws. Looking back from now – gosh, I was cute and sexy – should have enjoyed it while I had it. Despite my worries I even joined the 80s mainstream and visited nude beaches and pools. Blissful times – bless us!

So I saw this cute boy at the beach. The haircut hilarious – his dad’s homemade scissor craft almost spoiled his chances – but that rear and these shoulders, …ahhh, and he was so young. How could I ever think that he would be interested? But he was!

We fell in love head over heals and I couldn’t understand that the one thing he loved most was my bum. I had these brilliant boobs at that time - not too big, not too small – and this guy was after the one bit I hated most, the one thing that was always in the way and didn’t allow me to wear nice clothes because they just wouldn’t fit.

Now we are married for more than a quarter of a century and until a few years ago I still didn’t believe him. He supported me through so many diets, although telling me that they weren’t necessary. He became chubby with me and now slim again – not by diet, though – and he claimed throughout that the rear is my best bit. Well the boobs have gone south meanwhile, so they don’t count anymore, but I find that the rear drifted the same direction – so, what’s to like about that?

Obsessions! Mirrors, windows, glass doors – staring at my image whenever possible, then getting depressed, like a self fulfilling prophecy.

Depression followed by food, getting fatter, depression, pretending to like myself because one has to pretend that these days: ‘I love my body the way it is!

‘NO,’ -  for crying out loud – ‘I DON’T’. I hate it, it has pains everywhere, I can’t do what I want to do because I’m breathless and stiff, a few more years and I will be in my menopause, then things might spiral out of control – panic mode!

At age 40 the decline got steeper. Why on earth does it always have to come to the worst before one actually does something about it? I could have saved me the depressions, the back pains, the lack of breath. And I could have saved me this staring around at parties in the hope to find at least one woman who looked more pathetic than I did.

I know, I know – there are people out there who have it worse. I know! I had everything I ever wanted: house, husband, part time job, garden, friends, ... But that is exactly what made it so bad. I had nothing in particular to complain about and was unhappy nevertheless. Meanwhile food had become the best of my friends. To whom can you talk about such a silly thing? People might just think I’m bonkers?

At age 43 eventually I found my path. It was right there in front of me, all these years. Remember his nice rear, and his shoulders? He was a bodybuilder. Not one of the meaty mountains. No, more like the Davidoff fragrance advert guy. And he taught me everything about it. I had worked out on and off, but never made it my way of living. Now I gave it a go and, … the result turned out to be a little bit different from what I had expected.

All my life was about belonging - even going to nude beaches. Gosh, everybody went there, no big deal – actually it was for me, but I never would have admitted to that. All the moaning about ‘I want to be able to wear this or that!’ and all the laments on ‘I need to look slim for this or that event!’, it is all about fitting in, isn’t it? We need to belong: ‘Oh, I so much wanted to belong’. I could have invented ‘BELONGING’. And then something amazing happened: I got muscles! Real ones! And I love them. It’s like creating a sculpture. I am in control. Eventually I am in control. What a great feeling!

AND…I am in control AND I am strong! I can do anything I want to! I am independent! The strength radiates into everything. I dare doing things I never dared doing before. All of a sudden ‘belonging’ is not an issue anymore. ‘Belonging’ is restrictive, what I want now is ‘FREEDOM’.

At age 46 I definitely don’t belong anymore. Some people look at me not really sure what to think – it makes me smile. Others, strangers approach me in the street to congratulate me on my shape - it fills me with happiness. Not wanting to belong anymore was one of the best decisions I’ve ever taken, apart from marrying my darling husband. Now I’m free to achieve whatever I want!

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