I am woman, hear me roar about my insipid stretch marks
Be appreciative. Be really really appreciative that I am using the energy to balance this laptop on my aching thighs using my abs to keep it in place and moving my fingers around on the keys because I feel like tiny small evil elves have been beating me about the legs, ass, chest, stomach, arms, um jaw, calves, shoulders and did I mention my thighs?
Bootcamp class sounded fun at 830am, really it did. I have been getting adventurous in my workouts and wanted a break from yoga since I didn’t really like this teacher anyway but its the day off I had so, well, go to exercise class and the gym.
I tried to be chatty but the mood was serious. Then all the dudes showed up and there were more dudes than chicks in the class and I felt right away that I had made a mistake but didn’t want to appear wimpy and yoga wouldn’t start for an hour and a half and I wasn’t certainly going to spend the entire morning working out because that is silly. I had eating and laying on the couch and showering to do.
The instructor seems nice and I am very envious of her strong looking non-veiny/ropey calves and arms. She just looks solidly fit, not too thin. Just strong.
I am thinking how pretty she is and then she makes us do jumping jacks for about 5 minutes which when you say that out loud isn’t a long time. THEN she says do at LEAST 20 pushes ups. I think to myself I will try for 15 and hope for 12. I do 14 and then just hold plank as most of the class is pumping out pushup #30ish or 40ish.
And my face is already red and I am sweating.
51 1/2 minutes left of class.
We do a bunch of squats, kicks, some stations with heavy balls, jumping over stuff, lunging with stuff over our heads, rolling balls on the floor, standing in a circle and doing a sadistic version of simon says but it’s all exercisey stuff and nothing fun like pat your head and rub your tummy.
At the half way mark the other new dude in the class and I walk to the water fountain and he says to me quietly, “How are you doing?” I say “Okay, I think?” He looks at me and says as he walks back through the door, “Hard not to just run away, huh?” I nod and laugh and says yes.
We lock eyes for a second and go back to stand in a line.
The instructor isn’t cheerful or mean, just tells us what to do and how fast to do it and how many times. I am grateful for that.
At the end I just lay on the floor in that death pose you do at the end of yoga feeling like I might die.
I am feeling super fat and gross and old since I am 40fuckingyearsold now and think that I may be able to get into less flabby shape with this woman so I stay after to ask about private instruction. She is nice and cusses which instantly makes me love her.
The other women in the class look like they are carved out of marble, have lean legs, small waists, flat stomachs, firm assess and all of them have children and at least a couple are probably close to my age or a year or two older maybe. They all expressed sincere disdain for their bodies and each of them said, when I said how lovely they all look “I have stretch marks”.
What the fuck does that even mean? I mean, I too am sad that my collagen failed me but it failed me at an early age. I think I have had stretch marks on my thighs and hips since I was about 10ish. I think they are genetic. Some women get them on their stomachs in pregnancy and some do not. I have them all over my fat ass but not on my fat stomach. Go figure.
I don’t really see stretch marks as a definition of fitness and being slender.
And not one of the goddesses sad anything like thanks or even a smile of appreciation of their hard work.
All of these women worked really really hard at working out really really hard and look amazing. One woman after another came and interrupted me talking to the instructor and most said something about how they didn’t want their arms any bigger or their calves any bigger.
What is it that we can’t enjoy the body that we have? That we can’t stop comparing ourselves to others? This image that we all strive for, dream of, hope for, think we should be at -at any age- is manufactured for us and doesn’t represent any kind of real person.
Recently I read an article interview with Jennifer Lawerence who will be Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games books who also just won an oscar for her performance in Winters Bone and she said that she didn’t want to look thin on camera because if she does that she looks weird in person. She is the hotness in every way and I want to know who told her she should lose a few pounds to look better on camera?
Its craziness I tell ya and I am going to try this summer, as I reluctantly wear my bathing suit, to not buy into insulting myself. I want to feel confident, happy and fulfilled and don’t want to get their by giving myself the evil eye all the time.
Because when I look at my daughter I am horrified to pass that along to her. Its contagious-that feeling of being too much, not pretty enough, not slender enough, not whatever-enough.
How can I hand her that fate and sentence her to a life of self-doubt and loathing?
I can’t and I shouldn’t and will try really hard to not.