Monday, March 26, 2012

Mama's a Meathead

It's been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  It's also been said that you should be nice to your mother.

What I've learned is that when your mother is a photographer, you need to be extra-super-I.suck.helium nice.

Epic fail.

In my parents' house, there is one particular (and, might I add, prominently displayed) picture that set off about 20,000 words (most of them profane) and also makes me seriously question what I did that reallyreallyreallyreally pissed my mom off.

The picture, you ask?  That would be a family picture of Little M's first ever beach day.  This should have been a beautiful family milestone, captured forever on film.  Little M looks adorable, and her dad looks good.  And then there's me-- a ghostly pale, still +5lb postpartum mom in a bathing suit- shot from a not so flattering side angle.  I'm acutely aware that the camera can add 10 pounds, but I was unaware that it could also add cellulite. It's awful.  AWFUL- and it's on display for all the world to see.

Let it be known that I'm not a "let's display bathing suit pictures of me" kind of person.  I'm not a tight clothes person.  I've lived in a neighborhood with a pool for nearly four years, and I've been to the neighborhood pool no more than 6 times, and at least 2 of those times, I wore a floor length maxi-dress.  There are few places were I am comfortable wearing a bathing suit.  The time I was un-self-conscious in a bathing suit was, ironically enough, when I was pregnant---and that's primarily because I (a) knew that I looked like a beached whale, (b) didn't much care and (c) I was wearing said bathing suit to attend aquacize class with senior citizens and and even though I was a double-wide load, I was at least a double-wide load with relative youth on my side.

I'd say that I hate that picture, but the truth is that picture was a wake-up call and the catalyst for a major physical transformation.   For this very reason, I'll always have a special fondness for that picture.

Following is a brief list of my initial reactions to that picture:

1.  WTF!  What the $*(#$(*)$   $*($(*$(($*$  #@(**(@@(#@(  happened to you?  You used to be kinda cute.
2.  Oh, for shit's sake- what's next?  Elastic waistband pants?  
3.  I'm pretty sure that your ass did not have a baby, though this picture indicates otherwise.
3.  Maybe one of those 1920's style swimsuits would have been a better idea.
4.  JESUS!  Where is your pride, girl?  It's been 10 months since you had the kid.
5.  You had a child- that doesn't entitle you to go to complete crap.
6.  When exactly did you grow a second ass?
7.  This is Brigantine, not Sea World.  C'mon, Flipper, do something with yourself.

I'm not disputing that I am brutally self-critical.  I'm also not disputing that I, like many women, have my fair share of body-image issues.   I can never find my keys or my ID badge, but I can locate every flaw on my body----blindfolded.  It is what it is.  I'm just not a fan.

When I was in my twenties, I was told that you began to appreciate your body in your thirties.  Lie.  Before Little M was born, I was told that pregnancy and parenthood would lead to greater appreciation.  Bigger lie.    Suffice it to say, I wasn't a "I love being pregnant" kind of person and I wasn't the person who marveled over how my body could sustain life.   I was more of a "the end better justify the means" kind of pregnant person.  As far as I'm concerned, the only good thing about being pregnant was the part when it was over and I got to keep the

That picture, though---that picture really got to me.  I hated that picture, and I hated that I hated that picture (make sense out of THAT one).  I didn't want to raise a daughter with the same body-image issues that  plagued with, but at the same time, I didn't want to be a hot mess, either.  I needed to do SOMETHING.

Here's the cool part- I actually followed through.

The credit actually goes to my husband, who was talking about a few coworkers who had drastically positive results after completing a program named Insanity.  After about a beat, I was sold.  How hard could a 60 day workout program be that was sold via infomercial and successfully completed by a small group of accountants?


I was the one who was insane.  I've worked out regularly since I was 18, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack during my first Insanity workout.  During the warm-up.

That first workout was 2 years and 5 months ago.  I have not looked back.

The first few weeks were absolutely brutal, but I pushed on.  6 days a week.  At godawful hours.  Through knee pain, and back pain, and a partially torn rotator cuff.   Nothing, and I do mean nothing, was going to stop me from completing that 60 day program.

At the end of the 60 days, I did what only a criminally insane person would do.  I went "Insane" again, then moved onto P90X (way easier than Insanity), Insanity Asylum, P90X2, Chalean Extreme.  I joined the Beachbody cult and became a workout junkie.

Basically, I became a meathead.   Who knew that I would love being a meathead?

Through the great meathead transformation, I began to make peace with my own body.  Not because of how much better I started to look- though it was a vast improvement from the zoo animal called "Squishy Mommy" that I once resembled---but because of what I was able to train my body to do through hard work, determination, and a whole lot of pain.  This body could now do push-ups (real "boy" pushups) and lots and lots of them.  The body that struggled with 8 pound weights could consistently workout with 20 pound dumbbells (and, in some cases, up to 30 pounds).   Squishy Mommy could now do an occasional "real" pull-up, and leap through agility ladders, and one-armed pushups.

I gleefully bid adieu to Squishy Mommy.  Squishy Mommy is no more.   May we never meet again.

These days, Mama's back to pre-baby weight, with an extra added bonus--this Mama has muscle and the pride of knowing that those muscles were hard-earned.  Little M will hopefully never remember Squishy Mommy, but I sincerely hope she remembers our workouts together.  The girl loves her 2 pound purple weights---and she has gorgeous form on her shoulder presses.

I remain a work in progress----but I'm loving the work, and I'm loving the progress.

It's great when it's earned,

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