Technically, we are still in the season of Spring, but, I am already seeing them everywhere I go—especially in the gym.
Their eyes are big and filled with worry, their feet are three steps ahead of their bodies, and their minds are busied by the same thought:
Oh. My. Mother of sweet Nature—It's effing swimsuit season.
I can practically read their minds as they pass me by:
But, how is already here? When did this happen? It was just New Year's Eve and I had just joined a new gym! Yeah, maybe I never went BUT I still had plenty of time... Did you know about this? Why didn't anybody WARN me?? That's it—I'm moving into the gym. If you need me, I'll be sleeping in the sauna.
I know they are thinking this simply because, well, I am, too!
Every year it seems like some HUGE surprise to me that April comes after March and May after April and then—BOOM—it's summer. (Although, in Phoenix, it's pretty much already summer in the springtime, so we get to start wearing skimpy clothes almost immediately—awesome.)
It's like I actually believe that the calendar is purposely not sending me an invitation to a surprise pool party that happens on the same day, at the same time, every year. Then, I have the nerve to get pissed when it happens like it's supposed to, at the usual time, as it always does.
So, I find myself here, once again, at the gym with the other "uninvited" guests.
And, let me tell you, it's not a pretty sight.
I am usually running in a hoodie, which results in my face getting so strawberry-red that the girl next to me tries to blend me into her protein shake. The girl across from me couldn't be running faster if a pack of Jurassic Park's velociraptors were on her tail and the girl next to her has had so much Red Bull that she is actually lifting weights with her freshly sprouted wings.
If desperation had a smell, it would be your local women's gym locker room around 5PM.
Isn't it crazy how crazy we are about weight?
I mean, just today I had something really cool happen to me—something that I had wanted for quite awhile—and, immediately after thinking how happy I was that it finally happened, do you know what I thought of next?
Isn't that just awful?!
Like me being 15 pounds lighter would've made that moment more important? YUCK.
I hate when disturbing thoughts like that creep into my mind. The cool thing that happened to me had absolutely nothing to with my physical appearance. Zero, zilch, NADA!
In fact, it had everything to do with quite the opposite—my words! Which are formed in my heart, felt in my soul and released from my mind. And my sizable ass has no room to take any credit for those things—so BUTT OUT.
Sometimes, it is really hard for me to admit that I occasionally have such shallow thoughts. I mean, I work really hard, and specifically, on not having those thoughts—as well as encouraging others to do the same!
So, should I feel like a fraud because I still have them? Should I be ashamed that I still find myself succumbing to sessions of body-shaming??
I like to think that the answer to both of those questions is a rock solid Hell to the N-O.
Why? Because I am human—and we make a shit-ton of mistakes if you haven't noticed already. The best thing that I can do when thoughts like these come creeping in, is recognize that they are just that: CREEPS.
Creeps are just a part of life—they can't always be avoided. Eventually, you are going to have to learn how to tell them that you are uninterested and then proceed to kick them to the curb.
No you cannot have my number, no you cannot sit with me, just pretty please leave me the eff alone.
That is how we need to treat these slimy thoughts, too!
Recognizing that they are not good for you is the first step. Understanding that they won't go away unless you tell them to is the second. Actually doing something about it is the third!
This is what I have to do when I feel the need to pick my body apart. I do my very best to take a deep breath and assess where the real issue is stemming from. I have little mantras that I use to help me. I use them to interrupt the thought, I reflect on why I deserve my own love to gain the courage to ask it to leave, and I remove or distract myself intentionally to ensure the thought does not follow.
You have way more power over what you think about than what you think about has power over you. You just have to get bossy and start making some demands! You need to start bullying the thoughts that bully YOU. Push 'em up against the wall, grab 'em by the collar—give 'em a good swirly—just find a way to let them know they are not welcome in your mind.
And as far as getting fat or getting skinny or getting fit or getting thin goes, I have found that how heavy you are does not matter nearly as much as how heavy you feel.
Once I stopped measuring my happiness in pounds, the weight finally lifted.
Screw your scale. Seriously—take a screw to it! Come over and I'll gladly help you—it'll be a party! (OK, maybe we should use a hammer.) Whatever you do, do not let that ultimately insignificant number be a tally of how happy you allow yourself to be.
Do not miss that wedding because you feel like a sausage link in a dress. Do not skip that girls' night because you are already too full of shame to eat in front of them. Do not miss that baby shower because you still haven't lost the baby weight. Do not pass up on your niece or nephew's invitation to go swimming because you are terrified of being seen in a swimsuit—dive in!!
Do not wait until you are thin to start living your life boldly.
If something wonderful happens to you, let it feel wonderful. Stop denying yourself these moments of happiness just because you think a better version of yourself deserves them instead. You can only get better if you already know you deserve the best.
Work out because it relieves unnecessary stress. Eat better because it makes you feel better. Do these things for yourself and no one else. But, please, never let getting out of shape be what shapes the person you are.