Friday, January 29, 2010

"We watched a video about our changing bodies."

Last year was a kind of tough year for me. I quit my job in late 2008, which was one of the best things I did, but spent the rest of the academic year freaking out about money while "working on my dissertation," going back into my old five-days-at-the-gym workout habit that I had lost while working full-time for the first time in my life, and stress-eating so much that I lost any of the good work I may have regained at the gym. I eventually freaked out and lost some of the weight I had gained while sitting on my duff and watching documentaries about walruses while inhaling sugar candy. I also, in the summer of 2009, remarried my husband in a big, family-oriented church wedding that involved fitting into an elaborate wedding dress and running around Athens taking traditional Greek dancing lessons, so I got kind of back to "normal" size, although I'm not in the shape I was in when I was 23, so--

Hold up. I

'm not in the same shape I was in when I was 23.


Of course not. I'm 28 years old. When I was 23 ( was a very good year...), I was in the beginning of my graduate school career. My advisor still was at my university, I still cared about my work, I was taking interesting classes, and I was going to an enormous university gym five days a week. And I was TWENTY-THREE.

Now? I work full-time. I'm on my feet all day, every day. I work out twice a week at most after work and try to fit a run in on weekends. And I'm twenty-eight years old. I'm older.

My shape has changed. As much as my weight fluctuates, and it does, a lot, believe me, I've realized that I'm literally not the same shape that I was five years ago. And working out like crazy, or not eating, or whatever, isn't going to change that. Five years ago, I had a strong body with muscles fore and aft and I could wear whatever I wanted because my classic hourglass shape was defined, but less naturally modest in the belly/butt area. I was in great shape. As long as I worked out constantly, I could eat whatever I wanted and I still looked like a strong, healthy, relatively flat person. My ass didn't stick out, nor did my stomach.

Now? They do. I eat extremely healthily now (although I do indulge myself often because a life of salad is no way to live) and am in more natural shape. Although I might be much further away from a chin up than I was five years ago, I can run a couple of miles without a problem, something unthinkable in those days. I walk everywhere I can. My apartment has stairs, which I'm running up and down whenever I'm home. When I work out, I make sure it's a good time at the gym. But? I'm curvier. My classic hourglass shape is now more classical. My belly sometimes curves more than I'd like and my ass definitely has reconquered its Hispanic roots.

And? I kind of love it.

And let me tell you, people, I, like most other American women, have body issues. I get depressed if I buy a size up. It happens. Sometimes, something that looks great when I face it dead-on, looks rather odd when I look at myself in profile (especially when I'm still not used to it). But? I think I look more feminine. I know I'm still strong. I know I'm still muscular, but now I look more womanly, I think.

I wish someone had told me, though. I wish at one point someone said, "Yeah, your body goes through changes at puberty, and obviously once you have babies, but in your late twenties, you're kind of going to change shape and you might want to prepare for that."

And sometimes it's hard to accept. We live in a society where less is more. Less fat, less arm bulk, less tummy, less ass (unless you're skinny and have a big ass, because that is HOT, but not, like, fat ass. Because that's gross.), less thigh, less US. And, sure, sometimes I wish my damn dresses would lie FLAT, because, dammit, that's what they looked like five years ago. But consciously, when I look in the mirror, I look like a fertility goddess. An Indian sculpture. A woman in her late twenties.

With an ass that won't quit.

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