Saturday, June 13, 2015

Own Your Body

Two days ago, I decided not to care and I wore a bikini at our neighborhood pool.  In the eleven years since I've had kids, I very rarely walk out in public without a shirt over my bathing suit.

About five years ago, we were on vacation in Malaysia and I saw a 70+ year old woman in a bikini (practically a thong)- she did not care about her cellulite or any other skin imperfection, she was with her husband at the beach and she was happy.  I thought, if she can wear a bikini, why can't I?
That day, I wore a bikini without a shirt and I felt free.  Since then, I have not really been around people I know without a shirt over my bathing suit.

You know what?  I don't have a bad body.  I should not be embarrassed by my stretch marks.  My slightly distended stomach and umbilical hernia were carefully curated over 45 months of pregnancies.

Wouldn't it be great if we could do anything and our bodies would be perfect all the time.  A mom gives birth and magically her body returns to normal as if it didn't just grow a 9 pound human being.  We eat whatever we want and our bodies don't extend.  We get burnt or cut, and scars just fade away.
Reality is we all have imperfections, some we've had all along, some we acquired along the way.  Own your imperfections.  But most importantly own your body.
Your body is yours and yours alone.  You may think your nose is too big, or wish for a smaller waist, or less curly hair, maybe if your eyes were blue, the world would be kinder- these things, they are what make us who we are.  I may not like that my stomach isn't as flat as it was when I was 25, but I'm a mom, I've had 5 babies and I'm OK with the fact that it will never be perfectly flat again.

The other day when I went to the pool without my shirt on, at first I was nervous, I started looking around to make sure people weren't giving me that "glance".  I made sure I wasn't being classified as the lady who was at the pool in a bikini who definitely should not be allowed to wear one.

I've watched a lot of episodes of What Not to Wear to know what's age appropriate and style appropriate for me.  I know the suit I was wearing was cute, comfy, and looked good (to me).  The bottom line is, I'm the only person whose opinion matters.  If I feel good, if I like the fit and style, then why should I even consider if other people are staring at me.  I know if people are making small talk about my body, then they are not really important to me.

I don't go to crossfit to lose weight from my body, I go to lose weight off my shoulders. I go to free myself of burdens of life that we carry day in and day out.  I work hard to make myself stronger and more capable.  I focus on numbers that I can move, times that I can finish in, not the ones a needle points to.  I am more capable now than I ever have been no matter if I'm 115, 135, or 155#- I'm going to own my body because it can do miraculous things.
Your imperfections make you unique.  Without them you would be someone else.  Own your body, own how you take care of it, and own what it's capable of.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Iron Sharpens Iron

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17
This verse means so much to me.  Over the last year, I've done a lot of soul searching.  I've really realized how important it is to surround yourself with people who bring you up.  People who make you want to be better, and people who allow you to make them better too.

Last year I made a choice to put myself in a better situation with more supportive positive people.    The first day in my new situation, I felt free and alive.  I had found my sharpening stone.

I recently bought myself a shirt, with the verse "iron sharpens iron" from a crossfit company.  I loved the parallel between the weightlifting and the relationship with human beings.  CrossFit is an important part of my life, as are people.

The day after I bought the shirt, I was reading in one of my books, and literally, no lie, the page I opened to was entitled "Iron Sharpens Iron".  All the hairs on my arm stood up!

The past year of my life, I have been sharpened so much, I have grown, and I have learned.  Mostly I have been freed to be me and see an even greater me.

Do your friends lift you up?

Does your spouse make you better?

Do your coworkers support you?

Life is too short to spend with plastic.  Are the people in your life strong, supportive, and challenging?  Do they make you want to be who you want to be?

As I've been growing into my own, one thing I've been realizing is we can't change everyone.  We can be supportive and helpful, but there is only so much abuse and complaining we can take before enough is enough.

If you want to be stronger, you need to sharpen yourself on something stronger and sharper.  If the people in your life are constantly bringing you down, it is time to move on.  You can be their iron, but if they are constantly coming back dull, it doesn't matter how many times you sharpen them because they are making you rust.

I used to be in a situation where I felt as though my friend needed me to help them through a tough situation.  But, what I found was the situation wasn't going to change, what did change was me.  I became more and more exhausted from feeling trapped into hearing the same miserable story day in and out, with no resolve.  I was allowing myself to be brought down by my friend's misery.  I was more frustrated, irritable, and tired as a result.  Once I removed myself from the situation, I felt happy and alive again!

You may feel like you are the iron for someone you care deeply for.  However, if they are constantly putting you in a position where you are the one doing all the giving, and you are left feeling down- it is time to move on.

Life is too short to spend it with anything less than the sharpest iron.

Put yourself in situations where you are surrounded with supportive, loving, positive people.

You are not alone, you can be better, there is always a brighter side- you go out there and you find your iron and when you do, you will rise up.