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.

dare to be different

New Ink

Fresh.

Colorful.

Memorable.

Designed with detail.

My body is a temple. A place of art. Unique as the person living under the skin. My ink tells a story or many stories. Some inked pieces are linked or overlapped while others stand alone in their storyline. Some are colored some are not.  Some fade while others stand firm. Some hurt more than others.

Tattoos are interesting. For some tattoos carry judgment on the person adorning them while others are curious about tattoos. Did that hurt? Why would you get that? You do know that is permanent? If god wanted you to have markings he would have gifted them at birth. I have heard them all. I have also shared my tattoo stories to many time and time again. Some show excitement. Some say now I get it. Others say no way. Some conversations ignite a passion to finally get a tattoo. A first for so many.

My body, my choice. My temple, my art. This newest piece is symbolic. I’ve been waiting for a while post-pandemic to get an appointment first of all. Then the timing just fell into place. An anniversary date. A symbol of growth. A unique piece of art. Plastered on my arm. Worn with pride. A reminder of so much. I just love my newest ink piece.

I was lucky enough to share my ink experience with a few gals. We laughed. We took pictures. We marked the spot so to speak.  We met some cool people. I should mention that all walks of life get tattoos and just visiting a tattoo shop is an experience that I encourage. From couples to moms and daughters to those celebrating another’s life are all at the shop for a unique piece of art. The tattoo artist creating that perfect image.

Years of inspiration will be drawn from this inked art as I push through life’s ups and downs. When I am old and wrinkled I will know I have lived my life to the fullest and captured moments or highlights on my canvas to share with others. These memories of life have value to me. The perfect keepsake.

I wasn’t even five minutes from the tattoo parlor when I was asked about my fresh ink. The placement was perfect. The design was just what I wanted. The coloring was spot on. The timing was right. My story continues. My ink will continue to evolve just like me.

author moments

Head and Shoulders

The slower pace of summer leaves more time for conversation.

Long car rides, leisurely coffee klatches, back porch dinners, sun soaking on the pool deck. It’s easy to get lost in our phones or pop in AirPods and retreat to our own little worlds. Somewhere on the long roads of Pennsylvania, my daughter told me we should really talk more on all these remote miles.

I searched “road trip questions,” “questions for moms and daughters” and finally found a long set. Just a few would send us down rabbit holes of stories, ponderings, insights, new opportunities to connect. Once the ball is rolling, it can keep going on and on.

“What’s your favorite body part?”

This question came up around the table with friends. It was one of those rapid-fire sessions, quick answers to “would you rathers” and the sort. I reflexively said the top of my shoulders and biceps. That little spot where the work really shows. There’s lots of things I pick apart about my body, but that is one place that makes me smile when I look in the mirror.

I am a slow thinker. Sometimes after a rapid-fire question session I’ll find myself thinking and rethinking my answers. While I do love my shoulders, really my favorite part of my body is my brain. I love it’s strength and it is the part of me that is truly unique. It can make people laugh and make people wonder. It has my empathy, my vocabulary, my insights. I think I could live without many of my body parts, but my brain is too precious and central to lose. It sees the world like no one else’s.

What’s your favorite body part?

challenges

Taking it on the Chin

Confession time:  I am a klutz in the gym.  OK, actually I am a klutz anywhere, but it seems to be more noticeable in the gym.  Or maybe the bruises are just more obvious evidence and reminders.

First, there were the bruises from learning how to do power cleans.  I’d clock myself in the area under my neck, leaving a nice big quarter-sized bruise.

Then, there were the shoulder bruises that clean-and-jerks left when I slammed the dumbbell too hard in transition.

The chin bruises are their own special kind.  I may have a permanent lump from doing jumping pull-ups and barely getting my chin over the bar, then hitting it as I quickly came down.

Two other scary ones happened on the chin, too.  The first was on my birthday. During the workout and we were racing to do as many shoulder-to-overheads as we could in a short amount of time.  We had to break up the sets too.  It’s hard to explain, but doing them quickly kept me from having to do more burpees or box jumps or something else ugly.  Anyway, one time I cleaned the barbell to my shoulders and then pushed it up as hard as I could, which was great except that my chin was in the way.  I smacked myself so hard I saw stars.  Thankfully I put the bar down safely and regrouped but what a bruise that was.

The final one I’ll share here was a huge lesson learned (and truly cements my mega-klutz-with-a-side-of-airhead status). In a hotel gym they had a large rack of balls of different sizes.  I thought to myself, great, I can do some slam balls.  So, I grab one of the bigger ones, lift it over my head, then slam it as hard as I can to the ground.  Of course, as you can likely predict, it was not a 20-pound slam ball, but just an inflated hard bouncy ball.  It bounced with force and hit me on the chin where again, I saw stars.  The lesson here is:  first, test new equipment.  Second, don’t do new movements in the gym when you are by yourself.  I seriously could have knocked myself out.

I love working out, I really do, and my body is capable of way more than I thought possible.  But deep inside, I’m still the little girl who perpetually wore bandaids on her skinned-up knees, Dad calling me “Grace” in jest of his stumbly, klutzy, accident-prone daughter.  Hope it made you giggle, or shake your head, or some of you maybe feel a little less alone in your clumsy.