Body Image

I am 43 years old and yesterday I wore a two-piece swimsuit for the first time since I was about 19 years old.  It wasn’t a two piece that looked like a one-piece, it was a bikini top and a skirted bottom.  My belly was uncovered for all to see! (Ok, so all was my hubby and kids and two very good friends.  But still…)

I have struggled with my weight and with my own self-image for my entire adult life.  Swimsuit season has always been hard for me, just as it is for women everywhere.  My body flaws were exaggerated and even new flaws imagined.  My usual swimwear choice always covered me and was much “older” than me in style and color because I wanted to hide.  The idea of a two-piece was ludicrous to me!  I had two larger babies, and my belly sports the stretch-marks to prove it!

I have spent the last 5 years of my life working to improve myself.  I have been working on degrees and educational pursuits that have allowed me to see myself as a smart, intelligent person who is able to succeed at the things that I set my mind to.  I have also faced some health issues that were serious and gave me an appreciation for where I am today.  I am at a relatively good place in my life.  I am starting to actually like me!

This is translating into how I feel about my physical self.  Do I weigh what I want to?  No.  Do I still have health concerns?   Yes.  When I decided I needed a new suit, I decided to be open about what I would try on.  I decided that I didn’t need to make such a big deal of my “flaws” and I could decide what made me feel good and attractive and confident.  I tried on the suit I got and my husband and daughter both told me I look good.  I mentioned that you could see my stretch marks, though they are faded after so many years.  Hubby said, “So??”

So got the suit.  I took it with me yesterday as we went to our friends house to celebrate Independence Day and swim.  I had a moment when I put the suit on and went out in front of everybody.  It was hard at first because my insecurities tried to raise their ugly protests.  My friends both said they liked my suit and that I looked great when I joked about it in an effort to cover up my nerves.

We had a great time!  I felt comfortable and it was nice to be able to break through that barrier for myself and be comfortable in my own skin.  It’s been a long time!!

I think that women place too much pressure on ourselves to look skinny, young, fit, whatever.  I think that being a 43 year-old woman with a real body is the most common thing in the world, but many of us feel that we are somehow ugly and flawed because we are normal.  Is this due to our culture?  The media?  The pressure of our husbands or friends or others?  I don’t know why we feel somehow less when we are not some stereotypical image of the perfect woman.

I know I’m not the “perfect” woman….but that is ok.  For once, I feel good about my self.  That is everything!!

My Son

My son will be starting his first job soon.  He graduated from high school and tech school in June, and now he will be putting on a shirt and tie and going to work every day.  I am so proud of him!  It has been a long road to get here, and there were many moments over the years where I thought we wouldn’t get here.  But here we are!

My son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was 7 years old.  We knew up until that point that something was going on with him, but it took a while to find medical help that knew what was happening and could “label” him.  At the time of diagnosis I was relieved because we finally had a reason for all of our son’s struggles.  I felt like we would help him and move on.  Little did I know…

The next years of school and therapy and life were a struggle for my son and for us.  What worked well one day, one week, one month would all of a sudden not work.  We tried medications and behavioral therapy and other therapies….some worked and some did not.  We dealt with bullies and with schools who would not do anything to assist our son in dealing with bully situations.  We dealt with emotional meltdowns and moments where our son was completely overwhelmed.  We had good teacher and bad teachers, people who  supported us and people who did not.

Watching our son go through the interviewing process and open a bank account and successfully navigate all that is entailed in getting a first adult job has been amazing!  He feels good, confident, and like a man.  His shoulder are square as he is facing this change in his life!  He is liking the feeling of being able to do something and be set up for success from the beginning.  That was not the case with school.  School is not set up to deal well with someone like my son.  The job my son will be working plays to his strengths and his interests.  That makes a difference in success!

Just had to brag on my boy for a minute!  I am so very proud to be his momma!