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Foggy, chilly, early morning, in windbreakers and shorts and hiking boots, we tread down the bridge between the trees. We don’t carry much. I look down, careful that we aren’t stepping on roots, as you look quietly, thoughtfully, forward. There is waking all around us. Waking. What sun falls through the trees reaches little eyes everywhere. I hear the sounds of waking, the sounds of morning gratitude. I hear pinecones lazily tumbling through branches. I hear tiny limbs stretching, preparing for first steps after the blessing of overnight rebirth. But loudest is the ground underneath us. The pieces of earth that welcome every footfall, in spite of our rigid rubber soles, which snap and crack hidden little sticks. I fall in love with the fine layer of soil between my shoe and the bridge. The divine dirt that grinds softly against the wood, etching a pattern that only my footsteps could make, and only right now. Only right now, amid the fog and the waking.
Relentlessly playful dewdrops come to sit on my shoulders and the tops of my hands. I look up at you, miles and miles up, and see them perching at the tips of your every hair. My impulse is strong to reach up and touch, to feel the dew that pretends you are blonder, to feel the slight sweat developing on your temples, to draw my fingers down the sides of your face and stay there. But I don’t, because we are walking, and because I am waking, and because we will stop when we should. I am quite sure of the cold in the usual places (my knees, my collarbones, my nose, my knuckles), but I am not really aware of it; my senses are reserved. They grab on to the off-trail creaking and warbling, and to the ambrosia of daybreak: I breathe the cool wind that gets caught in jagged tree bark, drink the water that has seeped into each leaf overnight, smell the sweet dirt that flicks up to coat my ankles. Light has come, I realize, and we walk until the fog begins its recession back into the cloud that has kindly, though briefly, let it visit the woods this morning.
Again my eyes follow the endlessly tall trees ever upward, deeply (almost desperately) hoping to see you there, too. And I do, you’re still there next to me, and I surprise myself by making a small sound. A chirp, almost. It loosens you from the past hour, from the reverie that made you seem, to me, so calm and untroubled as the sleeping hatchlings in nests above. I do not know what you have been dreaming of as we’ve walked, but as you look down at me, little me, my tiny limbs stretching and my eyes opening wide, you call down.
We have come to this place to walk, to wake, the first to arrive and the very last to leave, and Day has again blessed us to move along together.
President Barack Obama openly weeping as he talks to his campaign volunteers [x]
Moving. So moving.
|—||Orison Swett Marden|
|—||Mom on the shade names of most of my makeup, probably in reference to Nars|
Lately, I have been really, REALLY stressed about my body. I think about how important it used to be to document every part of my life on the internet, and therefore how important it was to look cute and “photo ready” everywhere you went with anyone who might snap a shot. And then I think about how few pictures I have been in since I graduated college. Yeah, a lot of that is just because the whole friendly “POST LAST NIGHT’S PICS BIATCH” wall-nudge is gone. And because I have way fewer friends out here than in school.
If I’m honest, though, the big reason is because lately, EVERY photo I see of myself is bad. Gross. A terrible angle. My face looks so chubby, my arm looks gigantic, WHY AM I SO WIDE. UNTAG. Any girls out there feeling me on this? And then, thanks to that dear ol’ pal Facebook, who probably started the whole thing, I’m able to go back and look at pictures of myself from high school…or worse, from my sophomore year of college, when I was an athlete and still consuming probably 1/4 of what I should have been. I get jealous of that girl. It’s so wrong. I wonder why I can’t have the willpower to have only a Coke Zero for lunch and 1/2 a packet of plain Ramen noodles for dinner. Why I couldn’t have kept fitting into my SIZE 1 shorts (purchased in 9th grade) from Hollister into my twenties, like I could when I was 19. Why I can’t be the skinniest out of my friends.
…AND THAT’S WHEN I HAVE TO CALL BULLSHIT ON MYSELF. Why? Because I am now aware that that diet was horrible and I was really no happier knowing exactly how many calories I’d had in a day. Because, um, I am not a child who should be wearing tiny shorts anymore. In fact, it’s because I am a woman now—and that involves taking responsibility for my personal health. I gained probably ten pounds of muscle all in all from rowing in college and you know what? I discovered that being strong could feel better than being skinny, and I couldn’t really remain competitive if I refused to do it right. I got into it—I lifted, I sprinted, I worked really hard to push my body through things I never thought it could do. I was proud. I finally began fighting back at whatever had told me I didn’t deserve to love my body.
So why, now, do I return from that place of strength to this feeling of utter disappointment with the way I look? Well, I don’t really know the answer to that. It doesn’t add up, since I try to treat my body right by eating well and exercising. My body fat percentage is fairly low, and honestly I don’t really weigh any differently on the scale.
Still, It’s not as if you can just banish years of disordered thoughts all together, try as I might. After all, I’m older, more educated on what’s actually healthy, and really committed to a healthy lifestyle, maybe I can just consider it all an embarrassing part of my past. Right? Of course, it doesn’t really work that way, I know, and I’m left feeling so defeated, wondering if I’m doomed to hate my body forever.
Recently, I ran across that video going around of Amy Poehler advising a young girl on how not to hate her body, and how not to let her body be an extension of how she feels about herself. (Am I the only one that teared up at this!?) “Have some gratitude,” she says. And she’s so, so right.
What I can say with certainty is that, in moments of real clarity, accepting my bodydoesput me in a better place. Recognizing what is unchangeable about my frame brings a little peace. Yeah…I do lots of squats and I lift heavy. So my little pink size 1 shorts? Those days are long gone. These arms are strong—I’ll never get that bird-like limb thing that’s so popular, or anything close to a thigh gap, for that matter. My face? My cheeks are full. Even twenty pounds ago, they were full—can’t change that, either.
I have broad shoulders—um, that’s my skeleton and no amount of kale is going to change how wide it is. So when I have to reach for the size medium shirt at the store, I’ve GOT to quit slapping my wrists with that mental ruler. It’s so incredibly destructive. What’s sadder is that I’m so not alone on this. In fact, I don’t know a single girl friend of mine who doesn’t wish she could change something about how she looks. And yet, I feel really isolated all the time. I feel like I’m the only one on this planet who isn’t ready to don a bandeau under a ripped-up t-shirt at a moment’s notice, who can’t eat that chocolate without feeling the guilt, who feels like a failure when her jeans don’t button or when she has to untag that dreadful photo.
It’s really hard to remember that your quality of life isn’t reflected by that shit. At least, it doesn’t have to be. There are so many ridiculously more important things that matter more than the difference between 126 and 130, and I have GOT to remember that. Every day will bring a reminder that I am not anybody else, and how I take that message is up to me. Fine, perhaps I will never be 100% happy with how I look, but I can’t keep giving into this. Maybe one day I’ll be strong enough to knock out all that negativity—Heaven knows I’ve been training for it! ‘Til then, I guess, I’ll just be here trying to leave the resentment on the hanger and try on that happy medium.
Be a knockout.
I have to share with you my best invention ever. It’s called “Milkshake for dinner because I’m too lazy to put pants on and go get food.”
Only it’s not quite as pathetic as it sounds. I mean, I am precisely as pathetic as I sound, but this idea is gooooing places.
See, I’ve been seeing frozen banana “ice cream” for awhile now and have been wanting to try it. However, I have also been known to put stress on my immersion blender like a rhino on a jackhammer. So, when I tried to make it myself, I added some almond milk to the mix so that I didn’t kill my wonderful Cuisinart. I guess I added too much, though, because it turned out less like ice cream and more like a deeeewicious milkshake…and that’s where I’m going with this.
Because if you’re gonna have a milkshake for dinner, it may as well have protein and healthy fats…
SO EASY, TOO!!!
-A frozen banana (I like to break them into pieces and freeze them overnight)
-1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-Nuts/trail mix of your choice.
Blend the frozen banana and almond milk.
Add trail mix and blend again until smooth.
Eat it and feel 100% justified in your decision not to put pants on and go to the store.
*Note: This is Dairy-free AND Vegan (if you don’t use chocolate like I did)!
*Another note: I recently visited the La Brea Tar Pits for the first time and IT WAS GREAT. They also had these kickass pint glasses and it’s the only thing I ever want to drink out of ever again. Makes me feel closer to my inner mastodon.
My project for the weekend!!! Phew. Love how it turned out!! #roadtorecovery (Taken with Instagram)