Thursday, September 4, 2008

At Home With Myself

Are you at home with yourself?
This thought came to me the other morning while I was working out on my stationary bike.
At first I wasn’t sure what to make of it. Taken literally I was home alone, ergo, logically, I was at home with myself. Who else would I be with?
Then I understood I was being asked if I was comfortable in my own skin. Did I feel at home with myself? Am I “at home” with my body.
I have to say yes to that.
It has taken a long time. I’m of average height, looks, and intelligence, and have an average build though my hands and feet are small. So much so that I’ve bought canoeing gloves sized extra-small and I have some leather work gloves I use for gardening that are child-sized. Perfect. My absolute favorite socks are from a children’s store. Boys' size seven if memory serves.

It takes a while to get used to ones’ self, and once you’ve done it there’s no guarantee it’ll stick around.
For instance, lately I’ve noticed an extra layer of prosperity around my abdomen. It doesn’t belong there and is serving no purpose. It’s existence nags at me a bit, but there’s no real issue with it.
I’d like it to be gone simply because I’m not used to having it. It’s new and it’s change and that’s what’s nagging at me about it.
Now if someone else had it, then it would be fine. But it’s me and I have trouble thinking I look fine with it.
Frankly, I don’t know what to make of it.
Most of the time I am “at home” with my physical presence. I could stand a wee bit straighter and I do work on it. I keep myself clean and in good repair.
I certainly need more exercise. I hardly got out for any bike rides this summer so I’m back on the stationary bike in the mornings and I’ve gone back to doing the chakra sounds as I pedal.
But no matter how I look at it I am starting to believe that this extra layer of prosperity has to go.
Objectively, it’s not bad, but the constant barrage of health, fitness, and skinny messages with which we are pummeled every day wears away at the even most centered of psyches.
It makes me question whether I’m quite as at home in my body as I think I am.
Doubt is wrong and serves nothing although in some small way it may keeps me on the bike a little bit longer. Maybe I pedal little bit harder.
Perhaps not being quite at home is good. It gives me an edge to get in better shape.
What about you?
Can you put the nagging about health, fitness and skinny to good use? Or does it wear away at you until you eat another batch of brownies to dull the barrage?


MizFit said...

for some reason this post prods me where Im most delicate: my daughter.

all I wish for her is to be unapologetically herself and to be comfy in her own skinsuit (as we call it).

for some reason I am. not always. I definitely went through many stages when I was younger where I wished I were taller thinner BLONDER but with age for me came a truly different view and a sheer thankfulness for just BEING.

the realization that any extra layer of prosperity (your way with word?love) can be removed SHOULD I CARE with a little less cake and a little more exercise.

the realization that were I chronically or terminally ill less cake wouldnt matter or help much at all.

as you phrased SO well I strive for clean & in good repair and look at the magazines with their clean waxed :) and THIN models and think how hungry and achy (joints. not enough fat.) they must be.

I rambled.


I think I can put it to good use when Im operating from a place of overall gratitude. now to figure out how to lead that by example.

tokaiangel said...

This is EXACTLY what I was thinking today too!

I am NOT at home in myself most of the time. But at least I realise that now, and I'm aware that sometimes I am too hard on myself. That understanding is the first step. Now I just have to work on fixing it.

And as Mizfit said, it's all about perspective and realising that a little prosperity in the middle region, among other similar concerns, are quite small issues in comparison to important things in life like health and happiness - regardless of what we do or do not decide to do about it.

TA x

Leah J. Utas said...

Mizfit - Age does bring perspective, as does having proper, important, and real priorities. It's good to get to a place where we are grateful to be here.

Tokaiangel - You're absolutley right about understanding it. We have to be aware of where we are in life before we can effectively change it if need be.

Missicat said...

I try. I really do. Unfortunately I have a tendency to wake up in the middle of the night filled with doubts - and when I am so tired my defenses are down!
Thanks for posting this.

Leah J. Utas said...

Missicat - The middle of the night can be an awful time. All the thoughts we keep at bay during the day sneak in then. But it's also a good time to program ourselves to think good thoughts and see ourselves in a positive light. Take whatever you think at these times and flip it to something good. It takes practice, but it can be done.

the Bag Lady said...

DFLeah - Thank you for posting this today. I was very hesitant to post my little video because I am not especially comfortable in my skin right now. In fact, when I saw the photos of myself taken this weekend, I almost wept. Who is that old, fat woman? I need to work off that extra layer of prosperity....
And, like you, cousin, I have the small hands and feet, which look kind of ridiculous right now. ~~sigh~~

Leah J. Utas said...

DfBag Lady - You are welcome. I almost didn't post this because it is difficult to talk about one's self-image. But I did and I am glad. I, too, have bad moments wondering who that corpulently-gifted greying woman looking back at me is, but I can still make most of her disappear when I stand sideways stark naked. She's me and most of the time that's okay. It's the changes wrought by age that take getting used to.
Meanwhile, you looked happy, fit, and healthy in your video and that is all that matters.

Reb said...

I am feeling at home and in desperate need of a holiday. All this hard work and achy muscles are interfering with my comfort. ;)

Seriously though, I do feel at home most times in my body. Unlike you, I can't look from the side, head on, I can still pretend that I am in somewhat decent shape.

Of course, every time I ache like this I swear I am going to keep at it and exercise, so the next time won't be so bad. Alas, I fail to follow through.

Hilary said...

No, I'm not at all comfy in my skin. I'm the biggest negative-thinker (just ask Frank) and I need to learn how to change that.

I see wrinkles - not laugh lines. I see a fat, aging body - not a 50+ mom who has given birth to and co-nurtured two sons to maturity. I can feel awkward and shy with people - not reasonably intelligent and amusing. I guess that's why I'm enjoying my blog voice. I can hide behind type.

Good thought-evoking question, Leah. Please pass the brownies..

Leah J. Utas said...

Reb - Being fit is more important. I think about getting more exercise. I exercise in the mornings before breakfast and usually the call of food wins out over a few more minutes on the bike.
Hilary - Comfort takes time. I'm awkward and shy most of the time, too. Blogging gives me time to think before I speak.
The changes in our bodies as they wear out are normal and natural, but they take work to accept.
Meanwhile, I usually put chili pepper in my brownies. I'll go easy on it if you like.

Merry said...

Brownies? Did someone say brownies?
I've spent most of my life treating my body like a rental, not a place I really owned, where I was responsible for maintenance.

It's funny though -- when I was young and slim, I was never satisfied with what I had, and frankly didn't like myself. Now that the exterior is starting to show signs of wear and tear, I'm starting to like myself more. Why is that?

Mark Salinas said...

I believe most tend be more critical of oneself than others. I know I find it challenging for myself. Nice post...thanks for sharing. :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Merry - I understand completely. I was skinny when I was young and simply assumed I'd stay that way.
I think once the bodies start to break down we focus more on what's inside than what's outside, but we still see what's outside and that's what takes the adjusting.

Mark - we see our faults easier than we ever see our strengths.

Thomma Lyn said...

Lots of good food for thought in your post, Leah. I think feeling not quite at home can be good if it helps to spur us on to taking better and better care of ourselves. Lately with my gallbladder issue I've had to make big changes in my diet and because of those changes, I've seen lots of positive results. But if the gallbladder thing hadn't surfaced, I'd probably still be eating too much junk food.

I think before the gallbladder, I was too complacent, if not too comfortable. Mired in bad eating habits, though my exercise habits have been good. But the gallbladder pushed me out of my comfort zone enough to change for the better -- so in a weird way, a negative became a positive.

I feel pretty good in my skin most days. And I think the important thing re: body shape, etc., is being strong and healthy rather than "skinny." :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Thomma Lyn - I'm glad your gallbladder problem is under control. I certainly understand. I really didn't get healthy until I developed food allergies and asthma.
You're right, strong and healthy is better than skinny.

Polly Kahl said...

HI Leah, I was a skinny kid too and sometimes I still think I'm going to be thin without actually trying, but the fact is I'm 53 and that's never going to happen. I struggle with an extra 30 lbs and it makes a big difference in how my joints feel, not to mention how I feel about myself emotionally. But, as they say, "Progress, not perfection..."

Leah J. Utas said...

Hi Polly. I appreciate your comment.
It's weird. I still see skinny when I look down, but not when I look in the mirror.
It does get me exercising, though.
You're right about progress.