Sunday, October 16, 2011

A big ole lesson in self acceptance

Sometime last week or the week before (if it was over a couple days ago, it pretty much turns into the big abyss of  'a couple weeks ago') I went swimming at the Y.  Zane, Stori, Mamaw, and I packed our things up and went.  My bag got taken out of the locker and rummaged through.  Totally bizarre with the way this particular Y is set up...  Lockers in a public hallway across from family changing rooms.  Anyway, it did.  Nothing got stolen but everything was left on one of the family changing rooms' floor and wet and ya' know.. it never feels good to be 'searched' without your permission.

So that day we came in and I threw all of the towels into the drier for a few minutes to ya' know... dry them.

The next day was a Monday.  Which means I go to the Y for some weight lifting and such.

I was kind of in a little hurry that day so I opted against grabbing my towel out of the dryer.  Since I knew I was running late, I figured I'd skip my warm up and I'm getting used to my new weight lifting routine so I'm going a little slower.  I figured I'd work out lightly enough that I'd learn my new thing a bit better but not work up a sweat.

I got to the Y, dropped the kids off at Child Watch and fantasized about sitting down with a cup of heavily creamed decaf coffee and doing NOTHING all by myself for an hour.  I decided against the fantasy and got changed up and ready.  As soon as my foot hit the floor on the weights floor I was motivated and ready to go!  I forgot all about my plans and did my full warm up and went straight into the weights.  I hardly took breaks and kept my heart rate up.  I was feelin' awesome!  Such a hard workout and it was just what I needed.  Funny how hesitation works.  ;-)  I fantasized about taking the time off, but it was a silly little thought...

I was nearing the end of my workout when I realized my predicament.  I was in a full sweat, tired, and done a little early, 'cause I blasted through it.

And I didn't have a towel.

Now, if you've spent any time in a locker room you know good and well that there are a few people who are really comfortable with themselves.  Every time I see a nakie on the scale I think "Wow!  SHE is awesome.  Fearless, accepting, powerful"  And I know most of these women are a couple generations ahead of me and I think it was more common in their day to shower together in highschool and such.  I grew up, however, in times without showers in the locker rooms at school and I didn't participate in sports much at all.  So walking around in the buff around others just isn't in my toolbox of 'things I do'.

But I was sweaty.

I started to go back and forth about my options.  I had improv practice soon.  As it is on Mondays I get done at the Y, finish dinner (which I have to start earlier in the day on Mondays), connect with the kids over dinner, then leave for practice.  So.

I could not shower and get dressed and do my thing.  I wouldn't have time to shower at home, that's for sure.  Extra deodorant?  A touch of baby powder to absorb the sweat?  Hope no one gets close to me at practice?

I could shower without a towel and get dressed in the shower area while wet and sticky.

I could shower without a towel and prance my happy ass to my locker (which is clear across the whole shabang from the shower area).

I could go home in my workout clothes, try to take a 'bird bath' (ya' know... freshen up the important bits from the sink) and get dressed in regular clothes quickly at home.

As I pondered these options, they each had their drawbacks and their benefits.  My workout was soon finished and I was walking up the stairs and to the locker room, still without a decision being made.  I came to my locker, opened it, and looked into it for the answer.  And there it was.

I ONLY hesitated about the shower because um... I do NOT have a body for displaying.  And frankly, with the weight issues I'm currently dealing with I've got some serious shame about my body.  I always have, in fact.  I have intense body image dysfunction.  I have always concerned myself over if I'm fat here or there or if my skin is a little too soft here or there, etc.  Lots of women do, but it's clear to Jon and myself that this is a serious thing to me.

So if the truth is that even when I've weighed 110lbs as an adult and found myself to be a little too soft somewhere and at my new found 150 (yeah, that's right, I just told you how much I weigh.  And I'm embarrassed, but that embarrassment is silly and if I'm trying to write a post about empowerment and self acceptance then I darned better well be forthcoming) I can appreciate certain curves and softnesses that I never knew I wanted before I had them, then this whole body image thing is really just a mental and emotional space I can choose to be in or not.  Right?


And you know where I don't want to be?


Anywhere.  For any reason.

So I took off all of my darn clothes, and I grabbed my razor and pumice stone and I marched my happy, naked bootay across the whole locker room and into the showers and I cleaned myself.

Because no matter how much I weigh.  No matter how bumpy or not my thighs are.  No matter the shape of my breasts.  No matter the tightness of my belly.

I deserve to be clean.

And that's what it all came down to.  For me.  On that day.

My march to the shower was easy.  The locker room was empty.  And while I started the walk with anxiety in my stomach as I got there and realized no one was around anyway, I felt like a rockstar for doing it.  I was as chipper as a bluebird and even had the desire to sing in the shower.

And when I walked back, I held my shoulders back, my chin up, and again marched my happy, naked bootay across the whole locker room back to my locker.  I passed several women this time.  The anxiety was there.  It was kickin'.  But there was also the joy and pride in myself knowing that I was doing the exact.same.thing. I admire so much in other women.

Just being me.

In the flesh.

I don't plan on never bringing a towel again.  But I do plan on doing this regularly.

Thank God for my body and its ability to morph through life with me.  My mind has been different in stages in my life.  My spirit has risen and fallen with the tides of my experiences.  My energy and the way it is expressed has fluidly been with me in all of my changes.  And so has this body of mine.  Bless it for what it is at this time, as it is simply an interpretation of me.