What are you married to?
(Names have been changed for identity protection)
The poet Mary Oliver says that when death comes for her, she wants to be able to say that she was a bride “married to amazement”. What a brilliant concept. And it’s catching – Geneen says that she wants to be married to amazement, and now so do I. (You probably think by now that I’d like to marry Geneen, but my husband will do just fine. More than fine. J)
I was so sure that amazement would come from having a stunning physique. When I achieved this in preparation for my fitness show seven years ago, I couldn't wait to start receiving the bounty that had been withheld from me for so long. Love, happiness, a wage increase, enlightenment. Why not? I walked around downtown, shouting inside my head – do you people see this? I've arrived! I have starved, punished and tortured myself. I have prevailed!
Hmmm. People who knew me were amazed; I had after all, completed a dramatic transformation. But I was still alone in my basement apartment every Friday night, staring at myself in the mirror, flexing in my bikini. I would have given anything in the world to have what I have now – the love of my life, two beautiful children, a cozy home.
What are you married to? I was married to obsession, to suffering, to self-hatred, to frustration. What I failed to realize for so many years is that I was put on earth for a purpose greater than losing those last few pounds. I was put here for two reasons greater than any other – a little girl named Grace and a big boy named Ollie. Will I be seen as deficient in their eyes if I have a less-than-perfect body? Did I consider my own mother to be any less for it? Absolutely not.
Amazement, transportation to a blissful realm, will never come from cheesecake, or cheesy-fries, or thinness. These things are fleeting. Sanctity, contentment and blessedness come from fulfilling your needs, the needs of your family and from perpetuating love and kindness.
But can’t I have it all?
Of course I can! I still want to be the best me possible. That’s why I've jumped aboard this train. I will not likely see that stunning physique again. The ghost of it haunts me often. You did it before, you can do it again! Just get angry enough! Angry at what? For having two sweet, healthy babies? No way; it’s a worthwhile trade-off. But moving forward, I am refraining from dieting and quick-fix solutions that were never really solutions to begin with. I am not fixing myself (for I am not broken). The best way for me to achieve a natural weight and to quiet the storm in my head is to listen to my body - not my mind, not The Voice and not the 'amazing' pictures from seven years ago.