I ordered a mini-skirt last week. It arrived today. It was an impulsive boxing day purchase. I’m 39 years old. What business do I have in a mini-skirt? None. None whatsoever. What the hell was I thinking? I can’t possibly wear a mini-skirt! I’ll look like I’m going through a mid-life crisis, for crying out loud! I regretted the purchase immediately. Oh, well. I thought. I’ll return it once it arrives. And I went about my week.
Being New Year’s and all, I’ve spent some time in the last week thinking about goals and accomplishments.
In 2012, I accomplished what (for me) was a tremendous feat. I started exercising consistently. Sounds simple, right? In some ways, once I set my mind to it, it was simple. I just made the time. Ha! You know that stupid cliché: you’ll never find the time to do xxxx, you must make the time. Sure. Whatever. What that really means is that you have to give up stuff you like to do, in order to do something you don’t really like, or that you aren’t motivated to do.
So I did it. I mother fucking did it. I gave up quiet time, my precious few hours in the morning when all four kids are in school. I gave up hanging out in my jammies all morning until 15 minutes before I had to rush out the door for the first of two school pick-ups. I gave up doing errands sans kiddos. I gave up on keeping up with my inbox and answering emails in a timely manner. I gave up coffee with friends (or, I do coffee with friends differently now). I gave up on making appointments in the morning, when I could get to them in peace.
I started working out last spring. Slowly at first. Then over the summer I tried to be consistent about it working out two or three times a week. Once school started in September I started getting a bit more serious. Toward the end of the year I was working out at least three times a week, often four, and sometimes even five.
It’s not been easy. In the beginning it was torture. I’m kind of an angry, grouchy worker-outer. When I’m really pushing myself, I want to be left alone. I don’t want company. I hate working out. Even though I feel pretty good about doing it afterwards, I don’t really like doing it and it has been really tough to stay motivated.
I saw some results right away. They were subtle, and not many people notice them, but I did – just a little. It wasn’t until September that I realized that my clothes were starting to get really baggy. At some point, I weighed myself and realized that I’d lost 20 lbs. Now it’s up to 25 lbs. People started noticing. I’ve basically had to give my wardrobe a complete overhaul (I’m not going to lie, I’ve realy enjoyed that part).
I’ve realized recently that I’m not quite as grouchy when I work out now. That seeing some results has helped keep me going. But even though I feel like my body looks dramatically different, I still find myself struggling with my second goal and not-quite-yet-accomplishment: being easier on myself.
When I wrote and published The Numbers, it was one of the scariest things I’ve ever put out there on the interwebs. But I did it because (like a million other things) we just don’t talk about this enough. And saying it publicly somehow made it more … I don’t know … real.
I’ve tried really, really hard to go easier on myself. To make exercise a priority, but to not stress about The Numbers. Some days things are good – in fact, most days are good. I feel good. I feel healthier than I have in years. I feel like those blasted work outs, that make me grouchy and swear a lot, are doing me so much good. I actually don’t hate them quite as much anymore. I like the changes in my body. I feel more confident. But sometimes, that voice – you know the one; that voice that’s made me ashamed of my looks and made me hate my body my whole life (no matter what it’s looked like over the years) – that voice rears its ugly head. And try as I might, it’s not always easy to ignore it.
The new, healthier, more confident me ordered that mini-skirt. Why the hell shouldn’t I wear a mini-skirt? (You’re too old.) I am awesome! (You’re too fat.) I have great legs. (Your legs are huge.) I’ll look fantastic. (You’ll look like a cougar.) I will wear a goddamn mini-skirt if I want to! (What the fuck is wrong with you? You’ll look ridiculous!) So what if I don’t have the perfect body? (Return the skirt.) No. STOP. Shut. Up. FUCK you! I can wear a mini-skirt if I want to!
I’m keeping the mother fucking mini-skirt.