Bite My Muffin Top

I read an article the other day written by a personal trainer. I don’t have my own personal trainer ( I kinda feel like I’m talking about a pet) and I don’t believe I’ll ever have the need for one. Why did I read the article then? Because I’m obsessed with my weight and how I look, like countless others on the continent. I’ve read the diet books, the workout books, the anti-diet and anti-workout books. I’ve swallowed the latest exercisecrossfit-534615_12802infomercial’s hype and bought videos that make me feel foolish, look stupid, and want to stop. I purchased one plastic contraption where the only exercise I got out of it was kicking it to the curb on garbage day. I’ve done the dusty stationary bike, those monotonous aerobics, the funny breathing exercises,the tedious weight lifting routines and the lie down and trim down Pilates. (I’ll admit I enjoyed the lying down part.) I wanted to see if he had anything new to say, any wisdom to impart that would inspire and motivate me to take better care of my body. What was I thinking? He’s a personal trainer. It’s in his best interest to tell us that there is no mind game, no pill that eats up fat cells like Pac-Man, no food that will release the stores of chub we’ve been self-consciously hugging. The success of his business depends on the premise that extreme physical exercise supervised by a glowing Adonis who eats hamburgers wrapped in lettuce (a travesty) is our only hope of becoming the Jennifer Aniston we were meant to be.

Mr. Good and Sweaty wrote something like, “If you think you’re going to lose your muffin top by running around the block, think again.” He made an assumption that we all want to lose our muffin tops; as if it’s a crime to have one and if you don’t shed the cheddar, you’ll be shipped off to a muffin top colony where you’ll live out your sorry life exerciselake-constance-1937138_12802segregated in shame. He assumes that we lie around berating ourselves and cursing our muffin tops (not too vigorously, as this would require too much movement) while waiting for a personal savior, I mean, trainer to rescue us from our prison of pudge. According to him, if you want to tumble the jelly from your belly, you have to trick the body, challenge the body, and hurt the body. You have to regularly work your body to the point of exhaustion. I have a friend who has a personal trainer and she has a fantastic figure. Some days she would come to work and she could hardly walk. She groaned through the various physical maneuvers she had to perform to do her job, like bending over to file something or getting up to use the photocopier. She willingly paid someone to put her in this condition. My innate dislike of pain tells me that if something I’m doing hurts me, I should stop doing it. My common sense tells me to refrain from giving anyone $75.00 an hour to hurt me, no matter how hot or physically imposing they are. My slogan is “No pain, I gain and I’m okay with that”. Those of you who are close friends of mine, please take a cartoon-sized sledgehammer and flatten me into a pile of oozing pink blubber, if I ever speak of hiring a personal trainer. At the very least, have me committed to a loony bin/fat farm.

I run around the block. That’s the only exercise I do besides walking. I try to do it in the morning to get it over with. True to the cliché, it feels really good when it’s over. I don’t allow myself to stop until I reach that certain point on the sidewalk. I know that if I stop a step sooner every time, in a month I’ll be sitting in front of the flat screen downing a exerciserunning-573762_12802jumbo bag of cheezies. My muffin top isn’t going anywhere. If there are fitness fanatics out there who don’t like it, they can stop looking in the bakery window. There are other worthwhile reasons to exercise. I run to strengthen my body. I run to keep my weight down. I run so I can keep up with my kids. I run and I will keep running so that in my old age, I won’t be stuck in a motorized wheelchair, farting, and playing scrabble. I run so that I can enjoy chocolate and poutine and greasy pizza and pasta with cream sauce and sugary pecan pie and big slabs of cheesecake. I’m not about to torture my body or give up eating all kinds of real tasty food for flat abs and slim hips. That would be far too painful.

Author’s note: I wrote this 10 years ago. I recently began running around the block again and lifting weights. After working in the health care field for the last 5 years and caring for obese patients who could hardly do anything for themselves, it impressed upon me the need to be as fit and healthy as possible going into old age. Of course, I’d always rather sit on the the couch, but I now know where that leads and it’s not pretty!

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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The Aging Game

Wrinkles are life’s measurable outcome.

I would say my face started visibly aging when I turned 40. (My soul’s age is skipping in a groove somewhere in adolescence.) People were always telling me how young I looked. I’ll throw out a few examples:

1) In our first year of marriage, my husband had a picture of me on his desk. A man in his office picked up the photo and said, “You’ve got a good lookin’ daughter there”. My husband and I were both 25 at the time. My picture disappeared from his office that day and hasn’t been seen since. Should I be concerned?

2) A cute, little boy came to my door selling honey and asked if my mother was home. I was 37 with three births hanging over my belt. I said, “No” which was the truth and he accepted this and abruptly left. Am I a meany? Indubitably. I’m a money-lacking, honey-hating meany.

3) I got out of my car at the library, just as an older woman was walking up. She looked bewildered and said, “You have a driver’s license?” I’ve chosen to take this as a compliment and have only momentarily considered the alternative, because I know, at first sight, I don’t appear disturbed.

When I boldly stepped up to the big 40, I began to see subtle changes in my appearance everyday. When you pile subtle on subtle, you get my current state. I look in the mirror wrinklesface-984031_12802and being a writer, I’m tempted to start a paragraph on my forehead. Rivulets trickle down through the alarming black trenches that are being dug under my eyes by the evil black trench fairies. I notice people who have ten years on me with chiseled parenthesis further separating their eyebrows. Whenever I encounter someone like this, I wanna grab a sharpie and fill in that blank between the parenthesis with a question mark. I tell myself to relax my forehead and eyebrows repeatedly to avoid looking permanently stern.

I’ve read that a woman must slather her hands with moisturizer and stick them in tube socks overnight to keep them from giving away her age. My hands are a blinking “I’m a shriveled up, apple core of a human being” sign. I haven’t tried the tube sock solution on my head yet, but I think the effects would be more damaging than helpful. With the night sweats I’m experiencing, I might just spontaneously combust and then I’d look like a wrinkled, burn victim.wrinklesanimal-1851495_12802

I catch my hands sneaking up to the skin on my neck which is starting to feel like the texture of raw poultry. I’ve seen people pulling on their own chicken skin and I would strongly advise against this. I know I’m being like a mother who tells her kid who is having oodles of fun making faces that he should stop or his face will stay like that. Someone should do a study. What if it’s true? Do you know what a flap of loose skin, found on roosters, turkeys, some dog and goat varieties, and even some humans, is called? A wattle. Do you want a wattle? I should think not. I’d give up that habitual wattle wiggling before it’s too late.

Do I care enough about the natural decay that I see taking place on my person to book an wrinklesscalpel-24257_12802appointment with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon? I don’t even take off my makeup before going to bed. I’d like my children to be able to go to college. The idea of someone carving my face up with a scalpel reminds me too much of CSI. I think women who use Botox or have plastic surgery done are giving away their age anyway. It looks unnatural. Most movie stars who have it done look worse to me, not better. They fiddle with their eyes, noses, lips, and chins and end up looking like a not so pretty caricature of themselves. Our skin isn’t supposed to be stretched taut. It’s supposed to be supple and soft and eventually weathered and capable of revealing the most nuanced emotions.

There’s nothing wrong with being healthy, taking care of yourself, and trying to look your best, but people are going crazy with the injecting and the cutting. I’ll mention here that I’m in no way an untouched Eve. I spackle on makeup everyday, shave my legs and my pits when I have to, and I’ve had my upper four front teeth done. I’ve succumbed as much as anyone to the message that my appearance isn’t quite good enough for public display. But I’m determined to allow my largest organ, my skin, to age as gracefully or ungracefully as it will.

My husband says he finds older women attractive (good, good). He says they possess an elegance and self-confidence that only comes with age. He says younger women look like children to him. Some of the wisest, most attractive, fun people I know are in their 70’s. Their battle scars, their marks of character, their wrinkles don’t affect my opinion of them. My mother is the most beautiful woman I know. She’s as warm and effervescent as sunshine and people of all ages are drawn to her. We were standing in the bathroom together and she frowned at her reflection and said, “I’m so wrinkled”. I countered her self-accusation by bringing up her age which I won’t share with you. I have no problem wrinklesmakeup-2589040_12802sharing my age and I don’t understand why others do. I’m 51 years proud and I’m merrily rolling along to 52 as I write this.

Do people look in the mirror and see their own corpses rather than the regal, worn but winning individuals they are? Do their reflections remind them that they don’t have much time left? Isn’t it perfect that as our beauty fades so does our vision. I’ve decided to look in the mirror with gentleness and kindness, to look past the uneven tone, fine lines, deep creases, and dark circles into my still vibrant soul. The package may be looking a little shabby, but it’s the contents that matter. Only a child plays with the box the gift came in at Christmas. Adults know that the good stuff is on the inside.

Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂

 

Nobody Cares

Be bold enough to do more than just leave the house.

I’m remembering a visit to the dermatologist. I had a nasty mole that kept burrowing up through the skin on the tip of my nose, a place, in my estimation, a mole should never be moleallowed to surface. I had it removed previously, but it’s stubborn and wants to be seen. What I didn’t realize until I sat down in the examination room was that the fee for removal had doubled. Unfortunately, at that moment, I had more mole than money and I sat there agonizing over whether or not I should go through with the procedure. When the Doctor came in, I shared my misgivings with him. What he told me has never left me. He basically said, “Nobody cares”. He went on to explain that people are so focused on themselves and their moles that my mole would have to be the size of the Eiffel Tower for anyone to take notice. He graciously allowed me and my mole to leave the office, free of charge, relieved and a little less self-conscious.

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I’m Fresh out of Style

Never judge a chick by her cover.

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I don’t like shopping. I can look at oodles of cluttered stuff without leaving the privacy of my own home and it’s free. Some women might say I’m abnormal, stricken with some horrible disease. You should see our bedroom closet. My husband’s side is packed, but neatly arranged, sweats and sweatshirts for the weekend, button down shirts, sweaters, trousers, (he has a real job). My side is a careless collage of shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, and jeans. At times, I need something more and must enter a mall. My husband has been banned from the trip. When I’ve taken him before, he comes out with three bags to my one.
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In Praise of all Things Unusual

I’d rather be weird than boring.

When I was first married, living in Edmonton, I used to ride my bike to work from the spring to the fall. Every day, I would pedal by a house where the occupants decorated their garage in a unique way. From the eaves to the floor on the one side, they had nailed garish flea market finds; brightly colored bric-a-brac, things with moving parts, bells, and chimes. My friend said it was ugly, but I was drawn to it. It was so odd and chaotic, it blared like a trumpet in a sleepy, tree-lined neighborhood. What possessed these people to start such a collection and then display it in such a public way?

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A Reflection on Flab

Can fat people go skinny dipping?

What is flab? According to the Websters Dictionary, flab is defined as, excessive, loose, or flaccid body tissue. How boring. I can do better than that. What is flab according to Polly? How about jiggly jelly rolls, great gelatinous mounds of flesh, or excessive excess?
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Mirror, Mirror

I’m so tired of worrying about what I look like. I’ve developed a new strategy and so far, it’s working well. I’ve stopped looking.

I’m not very good at hygiene or any kind of self-care, for that matter. When bedtime toothbrush2shows up, I have the dexterity of a drunk ready to pass out and lose the ability to use my arms. The urge to go to sleep comes on me so suddenly, so swiftly, I can barely drop my clothes to the floor, much less operate a tooth brush. In the morning, my breath smells like a fart on amphetamines and the stink wafts out of my mouth as I do the clean up. Mint toothpaste is my friend.
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I’m at a Loss for Hairs

Never underestimate the importance of a good hat.

I don’t enjoy getting my hair cut. It’s always a risk and I’ve had five too many bad experiences. When I was younger, I was very shy and found it hard to ask for anything. I used to get my extroverted brother to ask for me. Unfortunately, he wasn’t interested in sitting in on my hair appointments, selfish, selfish boy, and I wasn’t capable of expressing what I wanted. I still have nightmares about one cut, the queen of all bad hairdos.

I was in junior high and had a boyfriend. I didn’t after leaving that salon. His parting words were, “You should’ve left it the way it was.” Continue reading “I’m at a Loss for Hairs”