Can we say "body image issues"? Published in The Perth Courier on Tuesday, April 28/09.
Today they are fat pants
I go through this every year. It happens as winter turns to spring and I begin the painful process of unwrapping myself from layers of clothing, such as parkas and bulky sweatshirts and long pants.
Yes. Bathing suit season creeps towards us yet again. Oh joy.
It’s then that I discover my body has betrayed me. Okay, actually, I have done a pretty good job of betraying my body over the years.
At one point this winter I wasn’t doing too badly. I was eating somewhat reasonably and exercising sort of occasionally. I was feeling pretty good. I went to a meeting wearing a pair of slimming black pants and a colleague said, “Hey, Steph! Have you lost weight?”
Well, I hadn’t, but I’m not complaining.
Fast forward a couple of months. The eating hasn’t been so careful and the exercising has been, well, what’s that you say? The phone’s ringing?
Anyway, I throw on those same slimming black pants and I’m walking along with Groom-boy on our way somewhere and he says to me, “Are those pants supposed to be that short?"
Grrrr. “No,” I blurt, “but when you pile weight onto your hips then there’s only so much material to go around and the pants ride higher. Thanks for asking, though.”
Yes, the courtship is over I think. I shouldn’t complain. One time he told me I smelled like a theatre. Not just any old theatre, though, the National Arts Centre. I think it was supposed to be a compliment.
Anyway, maybe it’s the pants, not the body, that betray me.
My diva daughter (the one who had an enormous screaming public tantrum because she didn’t win a door prize the other night) takes dance lessons. They are at the old Perth Shoe Factory building. There’s also a gym there. I’ve never been inside. While she’s dancing, I plant myself in a comfy sofa at the Factory Grind coffee shop, have a cuppa and gab with other diva dancer moms. (Okay, their daughters may not be divas. I shouldn’t assume.) Some of the moms, though, actually leave the building and run. Using their feet. On the road. And you know what? Those moms look great. They look lean and healthy and, well, vibrant.
I am not a runner. Too much of me flops around in unpleasant ways when I run, and I have no stamina. Right now I’m working on being a walker and I’m revisiting the world of concussion-free cycling, so it’s a start.
Mostly, though, I am mad that I let things get this way. This is the girl, the tall girl, who was ready to throw a party in high school when she broke 100 pounds. Bathing suits used to hang off of me. I could eat anything I wanted. People lined up for miles just to point and call me a bone rack.
Then I got a job sitting at a desk. Then I had two babies and my body said, “You want to weigh how much? Like you used to? Hahahahaha. You’re funny, lady.” Let’s just say “svelte” was a lotta pounds ago.
The point of all of this is there is no point. I know the error of my ways. I know I can fix it if I really try hard and I know I’ll probably be less motivated than I want to be. Looking in the mirror while sporting a bathing suit used to be excellent motivation to get fit. Now I just start muttering to myself about healthy self-esteem and body image and Renaissance figures and blah blah blah. That’s the great thing about getting older – eventually you just don’t care what other people think.
I’m not there yet, though. I am, however, thinking it’s a bit silly to write a whole column about short pants and thunder thighs if one doesn’t want to draw attention to something unpleasant. (That’s code for: Please don’t stare at my short pants as I walk down the street.)
I guess that’s why it was a toss up this week between writing about my absolutely fabulous figure or my diva daughter and her thankfully waning penchant for public tantrums.