Archives for category: self-image

I pressed submit and almost immediately wished I had made a copy of the email I sent to Rockstar Energy telling them I am 1) closing in on 50, 2) quite plump and 3) anxious to join the ranks of their ever-more-scantily-clad models.

For the record–water and chocolate milk are amazing hydration and recover tools for any athlete and I am all for female empowerment in extreme sports.

So pick me, Rockstar Energy, pick me.

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Recently I heard a story about a man who is a few years younger than me (50) lamenting the evanescence of youth.

I laughed to myself because

A. He ain’t getting any younger, better enjoy those youthful mid-40s while he can

B. I don’t want to go back. I was pretty in my youth but also naive and inefficient. I did not have the power and wisdom wrought by both grief and love, grief caused by love.

C. I love a comfortable t-shirt. Truthfully, if I could I would wear pajamas all the time…because they are soooo comfortable. I have recently adopted this attitude to my body. It has been good to me. It is soft, just like my favorite T-shirt, because it has been worn and washed and worn and washed. Soft with age. Faded. Maybe a bit too roomy, but oh, so comforting.

I stood on an accurate scale and despaired at its arbitrary number.  Then whined to God: why can’t I lose weight?

His answer: trust your body.

As usual, for Him, anchoring words.

strange to think something like that 

was eleven years ago

this reckoning of self

in spray-tan culture

you look in the mirror

weigh yourself

tempted, perhaps to lie about

the accuracy of the scale

we use to measure “us”

but young women cannot know

what old ones do

this house, light through windows house

we call home

has always been borrowed

prone to show true age

not a bad thing actually

to see the signs of years on a once-familiar face

tell yourself you are already one hundred

lie up about your age 

so that when you get there you can

say you have been 

a beautiful one hundred years-old 

For at least the last

sixty 

I think the boys kinda knew where I stood on the whole thing.  So when they said things like (insert name of famous wakeboarder) got a girl to do a push-up with him on her back!  I heard their frank admiration as I was registering my own very different reaction.

Someone or some ones had promoted the idea that a man on a public stage lying on the back of a college-age woman was great fun! Memorable.

I was not there when the coed let the wakeboarder ride her, but I do think it was memorable.  Plaintiff-lawyer, sexual-harassment, years-of-therapy, event-organizer-is-a-middle-aged-college-instructor, what-the-hell?!?-memorable.

Who had given these teenage boys the belief that this behavior wa not just socially acceptable but cool?

We all had.  Not just the adults who brought their kids to the event.  Not just the self-styled celebrity judges.

All of us. The churches who came to use the facilities.  Regular, ordinary wakeboarders who might go out of our way to avoid the bikini contest but did nothing to intervene.

Wakeboarding will be a boobs-n-beer sport until we shed light on the misogyny promoted by some people who are powerful in the sport and demand change.

Women in wakeboarding can do so much more than carry the boy-men of the sport on their backs.

first the don’ts:

Don’t wax

Don’t spray tan anything 

Don’t take it too seriously

Don’t expect to win

Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your grandchildren to see

Now the dos:

Pray

Accept your body

Embrace the humor

Ask why?

Honor the other participants

Give sound advice

Listen to their stories

Verify they are old enough for what is about to happen

Draw strength from the Cross

(Also, it helps if you can get some practice.  Things that helped me to prepare for my bikini contest were thankless jobs and other contests where I knew I would not win.)

I obsessed about it for weeks beforehand–what would I wear? What would I say?  What would I do to prevent getting embroiled in sexual degradation?

I mean, I had seen the videos.  Young, very young women in the barest of bikinis seemed to have lost leave of their position in front of the crowd, in front of the camera, and could be seen doing highly inappropriate things with their posteriors for all posterity.

I would go ordinary places and mentally remind myself that the cashier, the pedestrian, the librarian had no idea what I had gotten myself into.

They did not know that the very chubby, very middle-aged, nearly hairless specimen of womanhood before them was a “bikini contestant.”

Ultimately I had to let go of any shred of dignity to do this.  Or so I thought at the time.  Not because I planned to do anything untoward.  No.  

I had to fold up and discard notions of dignity because it wasn’t a bikini contest, it was a sexual cattle call.  And as heifers went, I was past my prime.