I was revisiting some blog entries from a few years back while preparing for an upcoming post, and I came across this entry I wrote in September of 2008, about six months prior to the development of the fetal vampire now known as Maya. It’s a great reminder to accept myself just as I am, right now… and take more trips to Flagstaff and Sedona…
Since I can remember, images of flawless, svelte bodies have bounced into my eyes from various forms of mass media, physique ideals spouted forth from the mouth of my childhood dance instructor, and the guttural, persistent barks of my inner body Nazi have polluted my mind. Throughout the years, these termites have united in a quest to devour a healthy self-esteem and replace it with a tapestry of airbrushed body parts and unrealistic Barbie doll proportions– a work of “art” I could never stitch together, thus I always felt inadequate.
It’s not as if I possess only an angstrom of self-respect; I’m fairly self-confident, but I confess that I do occasionally fall prey to the bloated advertising images in our media machine. They have a way of sparking doubt that you are wonderful just as you are. I can eliminate my crow’s feet and thinker’s lines with toxic injections, bottled pulps of sandpaper, and plump creams. Diminish the cellulite shaking my thighs with goopy turquoise gel. Brighten my dingy smile with bleaching strips, add shine to my brunette locks with “specially formulated” shampoos and conditioners, and even try to drop those final pounds with a smorgasbord of diet pills, shakes, and snack bars.
Apparently, with the proper tools, I can become damn near “ideal.” Then, whose “ideal” will I be?
On a whim, I loaded my vehicle, drove a few hundred miles, and set up a sweet camp right in the middle of what appeared to be a mountain-man convention in the beautiful Flagstaff (my fav camping spot). With the cheeky swing of my mallet, I pitched my tent and became a darling single woman floating in a sea of testosterone. Glory be. There was always someone stopping by to see if I needed any “help.” I had a cooler full of beer and the best snacks in our tent village. Moths to a flame, I tell you. A fantastic cedar/vanilla-smelling candle crackled alongside the campfire. I laughed at horrible man jokes (because, you know… guys), held my own in conversations about Monty Python, and, thanks to lectures at Lowell Observatory, could point out locations on the moon where Apollo missions landed.
Worthless, geeky knowledge, I know. Is that exactly “ideal?”
I trekked miles of dirt and stone trails up into the mountains and spied on the city as it sprang into life.
I traversed a stream that bubbled through Oak Creek Canyon and spied on a hungry bee.
I hiked a spotty trail that sliced vertical switchbacks through the chaparral and I tangled with manzanita brush and scrub oak. I was slightly bloodied and bruised near the end, but the sweeping views of the Mogollon Rim and San Francisco peaks were well worth the effort.
In Sedona, I scrambled up the sides of coral and brick rock formations and climbed up onto jutting ledges. I watched below as a twosome attempted the approach, the man boosting and pulling the woman up as he could. The final twenty-foot climb to my perch was apparently a tad too strenuous. He stared up at me with envious eyes as I smiled sweetly back down at him and told him the view was fantastic. He replied with a nod and a smirk.
Is this exactly “ideal?”
When I love something, I pour my energy into it. I don’t lightly glisten or glow. I get hot and sweaty and I laugh and lose myself. I take the moment for all it’s worth and play hard- and this includes lively participation in the realm of… ahem, my boudoir. I want the outcome of the game to be a tangle of legs and arms and wicked medusa-like hair. The idea that a man might be reluctant to play for fear of breaking me… tsk, tsk. That alone is worth keeping a tad of padding. Is that “ideal?”
At the end of the day, after the media and inner whispers plunge into my well of body issues, I need to remind myself I am already my own ideal. If I had arms and legs of twigs, I couldn’t effectively scale those mountains or run the trails. If I constantly watched my weight, I couldn’t devour pizza and toss back a couple of cold beers with friends or a group of hot mountain men. If I felt delicate and breakable or afraid to mess my hair, I couldn’t cut loose and gleefully romp around as I choose.
The pursuit to obtain the “ideal body” can’t exist for me anymore. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t like to grow and improve my body and mind, but striving to become what television, magazines, and even my inner whispers portray as “ideal” is not for me. I’m terribly, but happily, flawed.
Whether geeked out
Or all decked out
My ideal… well, I’ve tucked it neatly into my imperfections.