perspective

Body Envy

A recent conversation between friends turned to observations about an acquaintance of ours. In the past year or so she has become incredibly fit and muscular. The comments jumped back and forth: “Have you seen her?” “She is just a solid rock.” “I might have body envy.”

I thought about it and, remarkably, I totally don’t have body envy. At all.

I can look at her and think wow, she looks great. She is lean and strong. So it’s not that I don’t think she is in amazing shape…it’s more that I don’t have body envy of anyone.

Maybe there was a time when I looked at bodies and wished mine were different. But not now. Am I perfect? Nope. Mine is a body that has carried as much as 314 pounds (or more.) There is flab and extra skin hanging down that no amount of clean eating and gym work will ever take away. It’s me. It’s my story. Even though I am proud of my shoulders, if I lift my arms up there is a ton of deflated balloon skin that just drapes down. It is what it is. It is me.

It’s a choice for me. A choice to be comfortable in my skin. I’m pretty proud of where I am and what I can do. So no, I don’t have body envy. I wouldn’t change my story.

You know what I envy, if anything? A person’s spirit. Their soul. Their joy.

People with endless kindness. People with hearts for so many. People who always seem to find the bright side, even in the darkest of times. People who are caring, lively, giving.

Bodies are great. Goodness knows we need them and need to keep them healthy. But there are limits to what we can do to change them, especially after years and decades of experience (and, in some cases, enjoyment or abuse, depending on how you look at it.)

The spirit can always be made more beautiful.

perspective

Observation Overload

I was thinking about a title for this post for a few days. I wasn’t sure how to title it. Being stumped is not something that normally happens for me when it comes to titles. I’m a headlines girl for sure. Wonder why this one stumped me?

Nevertheless I found the title. Now I have to explain it. The observation deck can have multiple meanings for me. For some it’s a view point of sorts. From higher ground. Maybe it’s a skyscraper in a big city with an observation deck. Maybe it’s an observation point hanging over the Grand Canyon. A perch of sorts where one observes people, places, things, sports, and so on.

Recently I was at a tennis match and there was an observation deck filled with spectators. The elevated viewing area offered a different vantage point on the games as compared to ground level. This had me thinking about perches, overhangs, elevated surfaces which I might classify as an observation deck even if not elevated. An observing point for me. The list was endless.

The exercise bike on the second floor at the gym is a perch in my world where one can silently people watch. The bleachers at my kids’ sporting events. I always seem to pick the highest row to see the best view. Then I thought about other perches that may not be so elevated but that I would still consider an observation deck or platform in my life.

To give an example I have this photo below for you to visualize.

The bike view. Can you think of other moving observation platforms? A car. A plane. A train. A motorcycle. While moving what can you see different or up close to? Do you really need to be in a nosebleed section of the baseball stadium to observe the game?

I guess whatever platform or observation deck you have is fine. That’s why I named this Observation Overload. One thought spun in a million directions. For the purposes of this post, my observation point was ground level. Oddly enough I was in the muck of it all when I started observing busted biscuits. One here, one there, another over there. There were no Slim Jims just busted biscuits, the girl nearby noted. What on earth could I be talking about? People. Girls. Females. Fitness enthusiasts. Fun seekers. All with busted biscuits in different variations.

I was observing a bunch of girls, ladies and mature women actively participating in a movement activity outside. All from different backgrounds. Some thicker than others. Some more toned than others. Some older. Some younger. To my surprise, they all had busted biscuits of sorts. I didn’t coin the term but I’m sort of in awe of it at this point. A little distraction of sorts when I was served biscuits at the restaurant I was at the day I wrote this. 

One gal had busted biscuits thanks to all the beers she drinks.

One had busted biscuits because of child rearing.

One had busted biscuits because she recently lost a lot of weight.

One had busted biscuits due to settling over the years. Pretty sure she was in her 70’s. 

So many life reasons for the excess baggage also known as busted biscuits. Interesting odd way to phrase things but I was intrigued. I dazed off a bit in observation mode. Thinking. Wondering. Being curious in general.

Who cares about the busted biscuits? These ladies were moving. Some faster than others. Some with more giggles than others. Amazingly what they all exemplified was beauty. Beautiful stories. Beautiful memories. Beautiful people behind the busted biscuits. Beauty of being a woman with lived-in skin.

As a southern transplant one knows what busted biscuits look like. The container that opens up and oozes out with biscuit dough. I mean a southerner makes biscuits from scratch but a transplant can opt for the container or can of biscuits. The ones that ooze. 

Most people can’t get enough of a good biscuits. Well as a thick girl myself, I have busted biscuits. You know that troublesome area that seems to hold only all your bad choices, stress, aches and so on. Normally right below the belly button. Some call it a pooch. Some call it flab. Today somebody referred to it as busted biscuits. The term made me giggle. Why did I never think of that. It truly is busted biscuits. But nobody throws away the biscuits when they ooze out. They prep them for baking. They enjoy them.

Then I thought to myself I have busted biscuits. But so does every other woman out here. And that’s what is beautiful. Each container of busted biscuits oozed out their own way just the the special person carrying the extra ooze. They didn’t get thrown to the side. They were living their best busted biscuits life in their own skin.

As I drifted in the mind this day. I thought how much I like my busted biscuits. Unique to just me. How lucky am I? How cool is it that all these women get together, busted biscuits and all and just move. Just move that body in the fitness kind of way. Just because you have some extra biscuit ooze upon you doesn’t mean you can’t move or you’re not athletic. 

It just means you have a body that’s lived in. We are all made in different shapes and sizes. Everyone should embrace their appearance whether you are a Slim Jim or you carry busted biscuits.

Hope you enjoyed this lighthearted post about biscuits and observations.

perspective

New Year, New Song

It’s back to school, which means back to work for me. Summer was gone in a flash.

Each member of our school leadership team was asked to choose a theme song for the year. We got some examples to spur our thinking.

Music is one of my love languages – not just love, it’s any emotion, really. The lyrics, the melody of a song can convey meaning I can’t seem to put into words. Playlists can transport me into different eras, remembrances, states of mind. Songs mean much.

So a theme song for the year was a big decision. I tried thinking about it and came up with some possibilities, but nothing seemed to fit. As a singer, it was all about the lyrics. I’d think of a song that had a great chorus, but then there would be some lyric about drinking or broken hearts or something else completely unrelated to school. In that case, it’s a no go.

What was the message I wanted to capture? Resilience. Flexibility. Hope. All things that speak to me in this transition time. In addition, I wanted something upbeat and catchy to keep the mood light.

And then it came to me. The theme song from the classic 70s sitcom, One Day at a Time. Upbeat, catchy, short, sweet, with all the right feelings.

Here are the lyrics:

This is it.
This is life, the one you get
So go and have a ball.

This is it.
Straight ahead and rest assured
You can’t be sure at all.

So while you’re here enjoy the view
Keep on doing what you do
So hold on tight we’ll muddle through
One day at a time.

So up on your feet.
Somewhere there’s music playing.
Don’t you worry none
We’ll just take it like it comes.

One day at a time, one day at a time.

Many of the people in that room didn’t even remember that sitcom, much less the song. So, a chance for them to learn something new.

Even in the very first week of planning, this year has already thrown us some curve balls. We’ve gone from masks are recommended to masks are required no matter who you are and if you’ve had a shot. I’ll admit my chest and shoulders slumped when I heard we were masking again, but I had already seen it coming and brought my laundered masks to work. Life goes on. It does.

We will get through it. We will have to help each other. We will have to approach each morning with a fresh perspective. We will do the best we can. If we trip and fall, it’s up on our feet and at it again. Somewhere there’s music playing…

One day at a time. One hundred and eighty five to go.

adventure, perspective

Big Adventures and Moves

Summer of 2021 was full of big adventures. Lots of travel. Lots of adventures. Lots of big chess moves. Lots of learning. Lots of time to think and escape the normal.

I missed my dog Teddie a bunch. I wondered if the feeling was mutual. I made sure lots of people loved on my dog while I away but I was hoping she didn’t have doggie anxiety wondering when I would return!

Now that I tell you how much I missed my pup, I also adopted a new pup. Her name is Bear. Now I will have Teddie & Bear. Corny combo I know but the name was a group consensus. Oh the new adventures those two will have. The learning for all of us. The potty training. The sibling rivalry. As we waited for the arrival so much planning was underway. The pet supplies. The staging. Giving Teddie some separation time from me was part of that. Hoping all works out. Stay tuned for the Teddie Bear stories.

Travel. So many firsts. So many destinations. Some pit stops. Some short stints. Others qualified as vacations based on days away. I adventured with family. I traveled with friends. I met many new faces. I tried a ton of new things. I stepped out of my comfort zone to lean in when I needed to. I also spent a small fortune in summer 2021. However, I feel the time and money invested in memories I will cherish thus the money was well spent and so was the time. 

Growth. I made a big purchase. A sign of tremendous growth. Starting from nothing and building to something. What a feeling! I also sold a big ticket item. An investment hit its maturity time. A diamond hidden in plain sight. One overlooked by many but the one I eyed. Funny how one’s lens can differ in life when looking at the same thing. This makes me smile. I’ve worked my whole life to fine tune my lens of life. I see the big picture better now. I still need to check the lens often but I’m staying in tune where many will be content.

Hitting the pause button on a part of my life I’ve enjoyed for many years to stimulate growth in another. Will it pay off? I don’t know. That’s part of the adventure when making big moves. I kind of thrive in this chaotic space.

Wish me luck as I cross new waters and weather new storms. Physically and literally. I am writing this as I cross the waterway on the Cape May Ferry. A first time adventure for this girl. All aboard. The ship is sailing.

perspective

If a Tree Falls…

You surely know the only puzzler: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

What do you think? These are the kinds of questions that philosophers can sit around and ponder, quander, or some might say squander our time over.

I was thinking recently about the things I do alone. Most are more or less by choice. Many times I’d rather have companions along for the ride. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.

Individualist is strong in my enneagram. I am prone to do things by myself. Sometimes to a fault. Once in a while, though, it gets to me.

Take for example my recent triathlon experience. I was originally scheduled to do this with a few different people. For one reason or another, each of these people were unable to do it that weekend. I had a choice…go it alone or wait until another chance to do an event like this came along.

I was on the fence about it for a while. I really didn’t want to go do it by myself, but I also didn’t want to miss out on my chance to do it. I’m getting to the point with many things in my life where I say, if not now, who knows when the opportunity will come around again?

I ended up doing it and after I completed it I was glad that I did. Still, the experience would have been more fun to share with a friend. To ask if they had seen the turtle on the bike course and felt the same kinship with that slow moving animal. Did you smell the water treatment plant too? Yuck! How was the run for you? How was the swim? Did you do the water slide at the end? I might have been able to take some pics of them.

I do see the value in going it alone, but there is also beauty in shared stories, shared memories, shared moments. Both have value. Neither can be replaced.

After the race I knew I needed coffee. As is my habit, I looked on yelp and found a local coffee shop a couple of blocks away. Completely by surprise, I passed a mural by a well-known artist. I stopped to take a selfie with it, but of course could not fit in the amazing piece at arm’s length. Luckily a nice young man saw me. A military person from the nearby base. He called out and asked if he could take my picture for me. He said it was just so sad to see me trying to get a photo of myself alone. And he was right.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound? If you do something amazing and no one was there to share it with you, does it make a memory?

I’m grateful for the man who saw my struggle and helped capture me with my new set of wings. Hopefully next time some loved ones will also be there to share in it and we can lift each other up.