Last week, on my kids' last day of Christmas break, I walked in the house sweaty, exhausted and red faced and tossed my boxing gloves on the kitchen counter.
"Mommy...." comes the voice of my daughter from the couch, "someday I want to be a bad butt like you" (she knew she wasn't allowed to say badass. I know right? So cute).
That was like a punch in the stomach to me, in both a good AND a bad way.
She wants to be like me. SHE WANTS TO BE LIKE ME!
The honor and the overwhelming responsibility of that hit me all at once.
You see, when I look in the mirror these days, I am upset. I stand in my closet, stare at my clothes and more often than not, end up in a heap on the floor as crumpled as the clothes I've thrown down there, hot angry tears flowing. I am disappointed in me. Angry at me. Angry at what life has thrown my way in the past year or so and how, as a result, I have given up on me more often than not.
I have a tendency to try and hide myself; shrink myself, question my own worthiness.
JUST BECAUSE I'VE GAINED WEIGHT OVER THE PAST YEAR AND A HALF.
Like that somehow makes me lesser of a person, less of a smokin' hot woman.
Lies! It's All Lies!
Like, really, Cyndi? You're 40, almost 41 years old and we're STILL going around this mountain?
This is not new. We've battled for years and years and years, through starving and throwing up and Phen-Phen and cabbage soup and ups and downs and rough life changes and WHAT IS THE POINT OF THE DEPRESSION? WHAT IS THE POINT OF NOT ENJOYING LIFE JUST BECAUSE SOMETIMES, DEPENDING ON LIFE, THE SCALE NUMBER CHANGES?
Jesus. Sometimes I want to smack myself, but that will just require more makeup or covering up and I'm just not in the mood anymore.
I have been excessively careful around my daughter. I do NOT put myself down or judge myself in front of her, I don't let her see my pain in the closet. Those issues belong to me, and by God, they are never going to be her burden to carry.
So with her, we talk strong. We talk healthy. My daughter sees me work out and wants to box and lift like I enjoy. She made the decision to quit gymnastics and change over to Jiu Jitsu and MMA instead. And in that, I support her. I want her to grow up feeling the sinews of her muscles beneath her skin. I want her to eat ice cream without beating herself up over it. I want her to FEEL like the badass she sees me as and to know she is capable of everything.
And she is.
And what I've found?
SO. AM. I.
I'm not going to sit here and make excuses but dammit this year I have excuses!
In the past year or so, I have had four pregnancies, four miscarriages, and numerous rounds of hormones to offset them. Didn't work. Miscarry, get depressed, try again. We have dealt with a ridiculous court battle that we did not initiate and the stress and financial burden that accompanies it (and we did not lose, so, bonus). We have fielded circumstances of having MY children pulled into someone else's World O' Crazy, and, as a mother, you know what happens when Mama Bear shows up. You become the Bitch of All Bitches and circle your babies ready to pounce the moment anyone even LOOKS their way. I ended up wrapped up in a job that became 24/7 on-call, texts and calls at all hours and no days off and exactly when did I become a trauma surgeon and where is the paycheck that accompanies it? I didn't sign up to give my life away. Working 15-hour days with no overtime? NO THANKS. I got in a car accident. My grandmother died. And on and on and on. I mean Jesus, thank God the Cubs won because I clearly needed some good news.
So what happens when life becomes a crapfest? You stop taking care of you.
And I'm a little done with that.
TOO MUCH BOOB AND BUTT AND BELLY AND THIGHS. NOT ENOUGH ASS-KICKING MUSCLE AND DEFINITION. SCREW THAT.
The holidays are done, the 41st birthday is this week, the writing career is growing, the new podcast is so much fun, I have a new job that is quite possibly the BEST nursing job (and I'm sorry I didn't know it sooner), and I have the greatest husband and kids that I could have asked for. So now it's time to get back on the iron horse, do the hard thing, and love my body well.
Not hate it.
Thank it! For being strong, for being feminine and curvy and desired by the man I love. For carrying me through 14,964 days of precious life. For allowing me to fully grow and deliver two beautiful babies. What's not to love?
This week I've started my 60-day challenge at my boxing gym and I'm SO ready. When I was going through divorce that was the time that I focused on taking care of me. Healing me. Practicing radical self-care. As women, I think so often we allow the things we find more important than ourselves to take over. The kids. The house. The job. The things that demand of our time to the point we are depleted and have nothing left for ourselves.
It is never selfish to put our self-care first, so we need to stop believing that it is. We are better wives, mothers, daughters, friends and coworkers when we are loving ourselves fully.
For me, that means taking that hour every day to either go box or hike. Sweat out the poison of the world that infects me. Lounging in that garden tub with lavender oil and epsom salt. You know, the one that my sweet husband fills for me every night and always gets the temperature right, while I can't? Yeah. That one. Reading a little every day. Writing for the joy of it. Laughing. Every day.
And remembering that I'm a goddess (as my husband has said) who gets action anytime I want. From a SUPER cute guy.
So now, the challenge begins. But it's like REALLY beginning after Tuesday because I'M NOT HAVING GLUTEN-FREE SUGAR-FREE FLAVOR-FREE TOTALLY USELESS CARDBOARD BIRTHDAY CAKE PEOPLE. IT'S NOT HAPPENING.
I'm also not wearing my cute tank top to work out because I prefer tent-ish workout gear. Don't need anyone eyeing the booty jiggle thank you very much.
I also frown upon starting the sugar detox before my birthday because it's coinciding with PMS and oh wouldn't THAT be pleasant for all---PMS+Sugar Detox+Caffeine Withdrawal. Yeah.
Isn't that just an ideal prescription for a case of the Bitchies? Or being stabby? IT'S NOT HAPPENING EITHER.
What IS happening is that this is the Year Of Cyn. That doesn't mean a single responsibility is being overlooked, but it DOES mean that if a decision is between boxing or emptying the dishwasher, well, why else have five kids in the house if they're not going to earn their keep? Time to put on big-girl panties and clean your shit up. Your future spouses will thank me.
Me? I'll be punching and lifting and trying not to pee or have my boobs fly out of my sports bra while I'm doing shoulder jacks and staring in wonder at the skinny bitches whose thighs don't move while they're doing mountain climbers. That's bogus. I think my thighs moved when I was nine.
My husband tells me I'm beautiful every day without fail. And cute. Without makeup on. With messy hair, before I've brushed my teeth or when I have a MAKE IT LOOK LIKE YOU'RE NOT 40 facial mask slathered on. And, per report, my daughter thinks I'm a badass and I want to go down as a Kickass Woman In History, if only in her little world.
I guess it's time to believe them both.
Love and Smaller Thighs,