Sunday, December 14, 2008

Acceptance? Maybe...

(What I'm about to write makes it sound like my favorite activity is gazing at my own navel and thinking only of me. I SWEAR this does not consume my waking hours. But I had a big realization last night, and I need to write about it in hopes of helping it to stick!)

For my whole life I've felt like I was too sturdy. Regardless of my weight, I've been unhappy with the size of my "frame" for lack of a better term. Objectively, I'm 5 feet 5 inches tall and I have a medium build. But I've always wanted to be 5'3" tall and have what people would describe as a "fragile" build.

So while many of my body image issues have centered around reality (when I weighed 50 pounds more than I do now, yeah, I not only felt fat, I WAS fat), this whole "I want to change the size of my skeleton" thing has kind of made me crazy. It's led me to think of my ideal weight as in the mid-120's (10 or so pounds less than I weigh right now). And it's kept me chronically dissatisfied with my body, no matter what my size or what my weight.

So last night we had 3 Christmas parties to attend. And as Tim and I were getting ready, I started talking about this. Tim said, "You know, this is exactly like how I wish I were taller." And that was the big lightbulb moment for me. Tim is 5'10" tall and I think that's perfect. But he doesn't. His whole life he's been surrounded by guys who are 6' and over, and in an ideal world, my husband was be a critical 2 inches taller. That makes ZERO sense to me. It does not matter how tall he is. And bottom line? That's out of his control!!!

And what's something that's out of my control? The size of my freaking skeleton!!! So today, rather than feeling "too big" (begs the question "Too big for WHAT?") I'm just happy to be healthy and happy and strong. And those things are NOT negative. Yeah, I have a medium build. But that doesn't make me unfeminine or mannish or anything else negative.

Maybe it's time to let the Serenity Prayer apply here:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change (the size of my skeleton!!!),
The courage to change the things I can (what I eat, what I do),
And the wisdom to know the difference!

Amen.

28 comments:

Irene said...

Thanks for posting this. I think we all go through similar issues, whether if it's our body or certain body parts that bother us or fascinate us. I'm going through something similar.

Kelly Olexa said...

Amen to this! Enough said. Just what I needed to hear.
;-)
KO

ATOM ANT said...

I feel your pain. i'm 5'-7". Worked for an electric and gas utilty where the average linemen is over 6'. I'm average height, that is at the time of the Roman Emperor Ceasar. Today average height is 5'9"

I've come to the conclusion, based on the way I'm talked to compared to those taller than I, that the world does not like short people. I always told those linemen that if I had their height, I'd never open another door again. I'd walk through it.

Jennifer said...

Man, body issues! I guess we all have them, and they never cease to amaze me. Less than 10 days ago, that medium frame carried you over 26 miles in a time that was respectable enough to the rest of the world to qualify you for one of the world's greatest marathons. What other wondrous gifts does it give you in return for your hard work? Plenty, no doubt.These are the things I force myself to focus on when I am so displeased with myself. Chin up.
And Adam Ant...undoubtedly you could walk through any door you choose even at your height. My brother-in-law is a telephone lineman and at 37, you could run circles around him. No doubt you run circles round those guys, too. As I've said a gajillion times before, you amaze me.

Eileen said...

Very nicely said.

I actually *do* have a small frame (with what I consider to be excess padding). And I tend to think of myself of "big", but my doctor recently referred to me a a "tiny person" and I looked at him like he was nuts. I grew up in a family of big and very tall people so I wonder if I identify with "them", even though I do not exactly "match."

Anyway, I love what you wrote....

Anthony C said...

i know this feeling well. i am a small man at 29yrs old, 5'11 and 155lbs.
im not just a skinny little thing, my skeleten is small. my wrists and ankles are small- i am small.
i have all kinds of awesome hangups around that. i still have some. they come and they go.
i hope you can hang on to your revelation and enjoy it. you're doing pretty well, i'd say.

Colette said...

Very real post. Thank you for sharing ;)

Isn't it funny how it just takes the right words at the right time to turn your thoughts around? I so glad Tim said that to you.

I am surprised you wished you had a smaller frame. I think you are 100% beautiful just the way God made you.

Jo Lynn said...

Leslie - I'm 5'3-1/2" and there's nothing great about it! Every sleeve and every pant is always too long. Capri pants look like I'm just wearing pants that are too short - they only show my (way too) skinny ankles. I could go on and on, but I won't. ;)

tfh said...

Well, I think you have an absolutely LOVELY skeleton, but your point (well, Tim's!) is very, very well taken.

Well, it's easier to nod and agree with than live. But I will try to stop frowning at my proportions in a genetic possibility sense and just do the best with what I've got.

Brit-Man said...

Forget about it. You are what you are, and in reality there isn't a single thing wrong with that, until you make it that way.

Best wishes :-) :-).

Matt

Anne said...

I think we all suffer from obsessing over some shortcoming in the way we were made, but it's good you've come to terms with it. Besides, I'm 5'2" and dreaned if being at least 5'5" so certain body parts would look less pronounced.

Julianne said...

That's me and MY body image, too. I know I can stand to lose a few lbs but being a few lbs over weight makes me feel SO inadequate in so many ways.... I'm glad you shared this with us!

Btw, I've seen YOU and YOU are beautiful all around. Btw, I love the picture of you at the CIM finish!

I wish I was 5'5!

vfosdal said...

I hope you don't mind me posting here since I don't know you personally, but I subscribed to your feed b/c I love what you are doing, running, getting in shape, loving yourself! you go girl!!

it really helps to think about how your husband wants that "critical" 2" to realize that this type of thing TOTALLY does not matter.

Thank you for the uplifting post!

leslie said...

Irene, I'm glad to know I'm not alone, and I hope we both find our answers!

leslie said...

Kelly -- Thanks!

leslie said...

Atom Ant, You made me smile, AND I felt sad that you've ever felt inadequate in any way. Yeah, where are those too tall's now -- probably resting their bowls of chips on their beer bellies!

leslie said...

Jennifer, You are SO right! There is everything RIGHT about a body that moves with ease and helps you accomplish goals you want to meet, right? And I'm with you in my amazement about Atom -- he's a stud, isn't he?

leslie said...

Eileen, Thanks for the nice words. It means a lot that something *I* wrote spoke to you, as so many times, your words help me!

leslie said...

Anthony -- The fact that you can move massive amounts of weight and that you're in amazing shape should count for something, shouldn't it? Thanks for being so honest -- it's like as we get to know each other, there are far more similarities than differences, don't you think?

leslie said...

Colette -- Thanks, girlfriend! ((hugs))

leslie said...

Jo Lynn -- Thanks for the reality check. You mean the grass is not always greener elsewhere??? :)

leslie said...

tfh, Nicely said!

leslie said...

Brit Man (aka Matt) -- "You are what you are, and in reality there isn't a single thing wrong with that, until you make it that way."

Perfect! Thanks!

leslie said...

Anne, Thanks for another reality check!

leslie said...

Julianne -- You're darling just as you are!

leslie said...

vfosdal -- Thanks for writing! I'm happy that there are others like me/us out there. Thanks for the uplifting comment!

Laurie said...

Leslie - I'm so glad you contemplate your navel, because then you share you're amazing insight.

I have something along the same road that helps keep me in check: my husband Jay, who you've now met. You know he's a tall skinny guy. He can't put weight on to save his life and as hard as a struggle to lose a pound he struggles to gain one. He's one of those that we all wish we were like (and he doesn't) And as self-concious I am about my body he is about his - that it's too skinny, would never been seen without a shirt on etc. Then he discovered running and it's dawned on him that this is what his body is built for and now he's proud of his body. He's still not going around shirtless but he doesn't hate that he's "Too skinny" anymore - he's a runner. Now I just need to figure out what my fat-holding butts and thighs are built for.

So are you doing Boston 2010 you think? Katie and I like the past life thought!

5'3" and love it,
Laurie

The Veggie Queen said...

You are so right on with this one. We are who we are, and the sooner we accpet it, the happier we are, and the more we can spread the loving energy, which you've just done.
Congratulations on your marathon, and I hope that you keep pressure cooking.
http://www.pressurecooking.blogspot.com