Last week I was looking for a notebook for my oldest to take to Summer Camp so that she could keep a journal of her experience. I found the book and opened it up to see what was inside… it was a food and workout journal of mine from 2007… sigh… I thought I had burned all of those up a few years ago.
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since then… 2007 feels like a different planet; a different existence to me. I had just become a Mom for the first time and my body loathing was at an all time high. Pregnancy and baby delivery had not gone as I had expected. To be perfectly honest, I had always had this “earth-mother-goddess” picture in my head of being pregnant. I imagined candle-lit homebirths and breast-feeding extravaganzas and wheat-grass-smoothie making – the fact that I spent most of my pregnancy vomiting until I peed my pants, had an emergency c-section that all ended in unsuccessful breast-feeding attempts and a made me seriously ill incision infection -was very disappointing – to say the least.
As much as I have been hyper-critical of my body – it has mostly done what I told it to… When I lifted weights it got pretty muscly (I was too broken to see it), when I wanted to run a ½ marathon it put up with the training (I was too broken to appreciate it), then, I got pregnant and I had no control over it and was so mad at it for betraying me – notwithstanding the fact that I had been betraying my body for decades.
And here is the truth – I was so mad at my body for letting me down. We are made to have babies, we are made to deliver them and nurse them and have this wonderful hazy romantic memory of that time in our lives. Even worse? We are sold this fucking lie by Pampers and Johnson and Johnson and What To Expect that if you just do every little thing perfectly then every little thing will be perfect… Gawd, it sounds like the diet and exercise industry doesn’t it? All of these corporations taking our Womanhood and twisting it until it looks and feels nothing like what being a woman actually is. Smokes and mirrors being a woman in the hopes we will constantly strive to be “Stepford Wives”… images of PERFECTION. Manipulate and Criticize until we don’t even know what being a “Real Women” actually is.
Ah, but I know now that PERFECTION is a myth created by industries that want you to buy their shit. No one gets close to perfection with the right clothes, right purse, right yoga mat, right parenting style…. Again, PERFECTION IS A MYTH – but the closest thing to it is AUTHENTICITY.
And here’s another TRUTH. I don’t fucking care that I had a 1/4 cup of greek yogurt with blueberries on March 15, 2007! My heart is aching to know who I was on that day, or how I was feeling, or what my baby did, hell, I’d even be happy if I had wrote down the weather!
WE ARE WASTING OUR PRECIOUS SELVES BY WORRYING ABOUT HOW OUR BODIES LOOK and we are letting industries delude us into believing it’s about health. If you eat, good, nourishing food and move your body everyday… why would you need to record that? I suppose some would argue that it’s about “Accountability” for your health. To this? I say – why aren’t we learning to be Accountable for our souls? On your deathbed are you going to want your children to know what you ate on a Thursday morning 20 years ago? Or are you going to want them to read something that showed your heart and your soul? Are you going to want to leave a legacy of hustling for perfection. Or do you want the people you love to say “I KNEW her and I LOVED her spirit” rather than “I KNEW her and she ate a lot of Kale”…
Just before I delivered my oldest I went to a Counsellor to discuss my anxiety about becoming a mother – at the end of all of her sessions she has you select an Angel Card from a wooden box…. The card I selected had a picture of a tiny little angel with brown hair and beside it was the word AUTHENTICITY. Oh my sweet, baby girl was already sending me the messages to just be myself…. That’s why she was choosing me… because of who I was…
Maybe that’s the thing that I was supposed to take away from that experience…. Maybe my daughter and her beautiful authentic soul living inside me was just too much, too much for my psyche filled with lies and delusions and ridiculous expectations. Maybe my striving for perfection offended her so greatly that she needed me to know right out of the gate that nothing about her was going to be perfect – just perfectly authentic. And this is where the “AHA Moment” comes rushing in … when I smile and I know that this is in fact true. I still see it – from time to time – when I need things to be just right and she looks at me confused; for her “good enough” is not settling… “good enough” really is just that. And we all are – GOOD ENOUGH – if we let ourselves be. We are born enough. And most importantly? We are more than what we think we are, we are even more than we think we should be; and we sure as hell are MORE THAN THIS, more than a food diary, or a distance run, more than a number on a scale, more than all of our lacking…
So, I implore you… on a Monday morning after a summer weekend of possibly over-indulging; before you go Google all the ways you can lose weight fast, or tighten your tushy, or count your calories…. figure out who you really want to be – and then decide that this will be ENOUGH.