The title of this post is not a metaphor for us not "shoulding" all over ourselves, which many of us recovering perfectionists are prone to doing at times, if not all the time. Rather, I was e-mailing a colleague recently who was joking about working out because his abs are all he has to counteract his frightening looks, and I found myself reminded of my life at this time last year, when Noah had been in school just a few months into Kindergarten, and for the first time in years I had time to exercise as long as my energy would last, rather than rushing through a 40-minute workout so I could shower and pick up Noah in the babysitting room at the Y before my time expired or his patience did.
Last winter I was the most happy with my body than I'd ever been in my life that I can remember. I was not thin from stress, a broken heart, or being too broke to buy food. I was really not thin at all, actually, by today's frightening definitions. But I was fit, fitter than I've ever been. Even using the word "fit" to describe myself would never have passed my own snort test before. Back in college although I swam every morning in the Bates College pool, walked everywhere, and dabbled in aerobics, yoga, and other classes, my exposure to campus-wide grain alcohol punch parties, my stress at being in school and away from home, and the unlimited bowls of Fruit Loops available in the cafeteria did a lot to counteract true health.
So it was about a year ago, I was online looking at Land's End's online sales and found some of their $90 bikinis on sale for $5-$10. I went for it. My family was planning our first ever family vacation to the Gulf Coast of Florida, and I had a first ever feeling that I could rock a two-piece. I can still hear and picture myself in my early 20s complaining to my best friend as we swam in the ocean somewhere in Southern Maine how much I loathed my body. Whether it is age, exercise, the experience of childbirth and the gratefulness I now feel for my body for creating Noah and blessing me with another baby soon to come, or all of the above, I no longer see myself taking the critical survey when I look in the mirror. Instead, it's more like an interesting examination of how things change and how they stay the same, as I age into my 40s.
But the inspiration for this post is less about that acceptance, and more about the ridiculousness I am feeling at times, being 43 years old and 7 months pregnant. Blessed for sure, but at times also ridiculous. Like I have a clown stomach strapped onto me. I keep thinking I need to create a tee shirt that has one word printed on it: Oof. Because even if I'm not saying it, I'm thinking it to myself. Clown waddling. Oof. Oof. Oof.
So as I brushed my teeth over the sink last week and dropped a long line of toothpaste down the front of my shirt over my big belly for the fifth time in as many days, I sighed an exaggerated clown sigh, and changed my shirt. I have apparently learned not to s*it on myself but am unable to keep from spitting on myself. And when I work this out, which will likely be when I go into labor, it will be just in time for our new baby boy to join us on the outside, when I'll be back to having someone else spitting (up) on me instead!