The body that could have been

January 20, 2009 at 6:18 am Leave a comment

Today I did something bold, something brazen, something I have never done before: I wore a cropped top that bared my midriff in public.  Yowsa!  It was an angst-filled experience yet enlightening, too.

After undergoing a literal transformation – as well as the more metaphorical one I’ve been undertaking since I began my lifestyle change 6 years ago, I have opened myself to the possibilty of showing my tummy for the world to see.  I recently found a TapOut cropped exercise top at the Ross, and I bought it.  I decided to wear it to my next series of classes at the pole fitness studio, and today was the day.

I couldn’t bring myself to wear it without a light jacket when walking to and from the car, but I went full midriff exposure in the pole studio.  When I walked into the room, it felt like everything was happening in slow motion: putting my handbag down up against the back wall, shrugging the jacket off, turning to face the mirror as the jacket came down my arms, glimpsing my tummy in all its mixed glory reflected throughout the studio for the instructor and the students to see.  I waited to hear that quick intake of breath, to see the furrowed brows indicating displeasure.  I held my breath and… nothing happened.

No one yelped in horror at the sight of my imperfect belly.  So, I looked at it, really looked at it, and it was… okay.  I watched it as I sweated my way through Booty Camp and spun through Pole Tricks.  Most of the time, it didn’t look half bad.  Other times, though, like when I was in Downward Dog, the extra skin that remains hung in less-than-glorious teat-like folds. 

While the experience was mostly encouraging and freeing, I was overcome with emotion at the end of my classes.  I realized I was mourning the loss of the body that could have been.  I was grieving for the physique that robbed myself of by overeating from the time I was nine years old.  It was very powerful, and I had to fight to keep from crying as I left the studio. 

When I see young girls now with their unblemished skin and lovely figures, I want to tell them to be good to themselves, to eat properly in moderate quantities and exercise, because they won’t be able to get it back, no matter the promise of cosmetic surgery and pharmaceutical treatments.  I have pretty much done all I can to restore my body to what it could have been, but the stretch marks linger, and my lack of elasticity shows, depending on how I’m positioned.  The body that could have been is gone forever.  It will never be mine, and I’m angry and disappointed and sad about it.  I did this to myself, and there’s only so much I can do to fix it.

On the other hand, I’ve worked my ass off (literally and figuratively!) to get where I am today, and it’s pretty damn good overall.  My skin is generally quite nice, smooth and clear.  I am muscular with a pleasing, curvy shape.  I have endurance and stamina to rival many twenty-year-olds.  I move well and continue to challenge my body in new ways. 

But, until I get through the grieving process and release the body that could have been, I won’t be abe to embrace all the wonderful qualities of the body I’ve created now.  Thus far in my lifestyle change, I have not allowed myself that mourning period.  Based on my experience today, I think it’s time.

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Entry filed under: about me, coping strategies, self image.

Losing is the easy part Fitness doesn’t come in 60 minutes with time for commercials

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