I was recently in Panama where it was sweltering and called for wearing bathing suits 90% of the day when not meeting sloths and monkeys, of course.
I, like most people, am not the biggest fan of bathing suits, especially when worn in front of others. However, a couple years ago I started saying eff it to most of my clothing discomforts, including shorts and showing my legs. So, ironically at 35 after three kids, I found myself wearing probably the skimpiest bathing suit I have ever worn. And it is definitely not possible to hide your stretch marks or cellulite in a bathing suit, but honestly, when have you ever looked at someone and judged them for having cellulite? I know I haven’t, so why would I be kinder to everyone else than myself?
It is a bit sad how quickly vacation mentality can disappear though because as soon as I was back, I was poking my stomach and hating the way my clothes fit and wondering why my triceps aren’t looking as fit as my biceps. But the same week, someone sent me an old picture of us, about 8 years ago, before kids, before turning 30, and when I generally had way more free time and I was shocked at how I looked. Seeing that photo jostled me back to reality and made me recognize how much I have put into myself. I may never reach and maintain my “goal weight” and I will probably always have cellulite and a bit of a tummy, no matter how little food I eat or how much I exercise. One thing that has changed is the amount of weight that I am lifting; in most cases two to three times heavier than when I first started LIIFT4. A pretty proud moment for myself as I have to acknowledge that I am physically stronger and I continue to work daily on my emotional and spiritual strength.
I have to recognize as well that having children has made me hyper aware of how everyone talks about bodies in general and how the conversation around exercise and eating well are about being healthier as opposed to being thinner. Raegan told me about how one of her friends at school called someone else fat and we talked about how that felt and how being a bystander to those kind of comments also feels. I think we all need to do better about being kinder to each other and to ourselves so that we remember how amazing and poweful and strong we are, stretch marks and all. How we all look different and that is exactly what makes life fun and exciting as opposed to having carbon copies of each other.
While my body and I have always had a tumultuous relationship, this body has birthed three beautiful humans, it has taken me to tops of mountains and hidden beaches tucked amongst caves, it has been pushed and shoved and name-called, it has walked and swum and danced, it has been a source of sadness and of pride, it houses scars and wounds and artwork, it has shed tears, but has laughed and laughed, and never let me down yet. I guess I really am as strong as a mother.