The Great Escape
I’m sitting at the break room table at work trying to convince my co workers that yes, indeed, I DO need to be on this “nutritional plan” to shed a few pounds… Side note; Like Gwyneth Paltrow’s unfavorable “conscious uncoupling” as opposed to “divorce” from Chris Martin, I’ve followed suit and chosen to eliminate the word “diet” from my vocabulary. It’s a depressing word that makes me feel vain, shallow, and constantly hungry, while “Nutritional Plan” sounds like a joyful, vitamin-rich, healthy-lifestyle adjustment! Semantics.
“I don’t want to be a skeleton you guys! I just want my butt to stay inside the jeans.”
…Let me back up just a teeny bit. Last week I agreed to help out with “Mad Science Day!” in Eli’s class. If you’ve yet to witness 27 kindergarteners with test tubes, magnifying glasses, and itty-bitty lab coats, put it on the list. You won’t be able to leave feeling bad, I promise. (As I will demonstrate.)
I’m getting ready to leave for Mad Science but I’m behind on laundry and wind up having to dig into the Jeans Reserve. The Jeans Reserve is the dozen or so jeans you never, ever wear in your bottom drawer but you insist on keeping because of your deep-seeded fear that the day after you give them to Goodwill will be the very moment you realize that you just can’t live without them. I’m pretty sure this has never happened, ever, in all of our fashionable history combined, but, we just like knowing that they’re there for us, just in case.
I grab the top pair from the reserve vaguely aware that they belong in the “skinny jeans” category- not skinny in the stretchy, legging-like sense, skinny in the one-size-smaller-than-right-now sense. Amazingly, I am able to zip them although there is MAJOR constriction going on. My butt is in a high-security-prison-of-dark- rinse-denim situation, but it’s 1:20 and I need to be at the school in ten minutes. I do a few bends and squats to try to alleviate the situation, hoping for a little give, and that’s when the prisoner saw her chance to break free. The sound of the fabric tearing apart was so surprisingly loud- when I think about it now I have an image of the incredible hulk floating around in my head- that freeing and terrifying moment where he tears out of his human-sized t-shirt as he morphs into The Hulk. Sigh. And yet, thank God (for REAL, thank you God!) it happened at home and not ten minutes later in front of a room full of horrified 5 year olds. I’m pretty sure we’d have to sell the house and move to Grosse Pointe after all in second scenario.
I quickly send my bestie and my sister a cell phone pic of my exposed booty happily bursting free of its denim confines (because even though it was a big blow to my ego, it was also pretty hilarious.) I throw on yesterday’s jeans, toss my shameful jeans in the trash, and run out the door to make it to Mad Science.
After an hour of hanging out with the happiest bunch of 5 year olds that I am willing to bet have never, ever once worried about tight jeans or perfect abs, I’m feeling a little better. I’m driving home thinking about a song by Regina Spektor in which she sings, “I have a perfect body… sometimes I forget… I have a perfect body because my eyelashes catch my sweat.” Hm….
I think about the fact that for years I hated that my two front teeth were (and still) are not PERFECTLY straight, one is a teeny bit behind the other… and my freckles, I once went to the dermatologist for a prescription to fade my freckles. And I really hated the fact that I wasn’t blessed with a princess nose. And then, somewhere down the line, I started to not only accept but actually like these so-called “flaws”. I met Mike, and he said insane things like, “I love how your one tooth is just a teeny but crooked” and “I love that you have freckles on your lips”. Who was this insane person loving all the “wrong” bits of me? I took a drawing class and the teacher said I had a “beautiful, classic Roman nose” I studied my nose in the mirror after class, what did she see that I had missed? I suddenly felt as regal as any princess with her smug little button nose. I think about my friend who, when I lamented about my hair-color embedded nails and chapped hands, (thanks to salon life, cold-weather-running, guitar, kids, etc.) that they were “impressive hands, something to be proud of” and like that terrible gold and white- turned black and blue dress flooding the internet, I watched my hands change from an embarrassment to something sort of beautiful. Maybe beautiful in the “artsy, abandoned building photograph” sort of way, but beautiful just the same.
Lately I've been wondering if it’s possible for us to suspend our own judgment for long enough to believe that maybe our arms are perfect right this minute, even if we think they’re “too big” or “not toned enough”. They’re perfect because they allow us the chance to embrace the people we love, just like the rest of our less-loved body parts are perfect as well for the simple fact that we get to have them, and that’s kind of an amazing thing if you think about it.
Don’t get me wrong, I will still be drinking chalky protein shakes with Mike for the next couple weeks to jump-start my “Live it!” (Still not a diet, wink) not because I think I’m at an unhealthy weight, but because as much as I blather on about self-love and embracing imperfection, I’m still trying to live out those beliefs and not immune to the pressure (highly self-induced, somewhat society-induced) for perfection. I also know that losing seven pounds, to be exact, won’t truly change the value of my body and the gift it is to me right now. In other words, my jail-breaker butt is pretty perfect right now, and I plan to keep searching for the right eyes to see it that way.