Friday, July 5, 2013

I Accept The Challenge

I was there .... on the beach at Santa Cruz CA
One of my very favorite bloggers, Sally, The Unbrave Girl, threw down a challenge recently. She asked all of us to post a full length photo of ourselves on the web and to just STOP being snarky about all the "faults" of our bodies. Here's the full post about the challenge and here is an update with responses from beautiful real women of many ages, from many places.

I have pictures of myself taken all the time, especially with good friends. Here are a couple of recent ones.
Marie P. one of my best friends from ECU days

Elizabeth T. another condo owner who lives in Denver most of the time

Ever since this photo was taken about 6 weeks before Mom died, I have been especially firm about taking pictures of friends & me together. The way life goes, you never can be sure which is going to be the last picture anyone will ever have of someone. It matters not at all if you "look good" in that picture. The picture is one of the most precious things you own
Betty A, Mom & Me, Christmas 2007

I will not tell you the parts of my body that I do not like / am unhappy about / would kind of like to improve, maybe. It would be soooo easy to go there. But this post is about the opposite of that. Instead I will list a few things that I have always liked about my body: my great skin and hair, my small hands & feet, my good taste in eyeglasses (helped out by superb opticians to whom I listen ), the fact that I do have some nice curves now that I have put on some weight.

 I'm over 60 now, and I see many women my age who look a lot older than I do. One thing that is important to me is that my teeth and gums are all healthy, and my dentist says that, barring an injury /accident, I will probably die with all my teeth intact. That may not sound like much to younger people, except that I grew up associating older age with full dentures like everyone of my parents' generation had and many people in my generation and younger (meth addicts, you know, bad teeth = a signature of that) will.  That pleases me. I am fine about the fact that my jaw is too small to keep all my teeth straight without permanent braces. My dentist has told me they have new cosmetic procedures that can be done, but that would involve pulling out some of my perfectly good real teeth and substituting some combination of covers and implants. No thanks.

I am healthy in a holistic way right now. I have my energy and strength back after the illness I had last winter. All my lab work is 100% normal. I do not have hypertension or pre-diabetes. Thanks to pro-biotics, I believe that my digestive system is right with the world again. I am over weight, but I have stayed about the same weight for probably 20 years now. I go up and down a few pounds sometimes, but I don't think I am really gaining weight any more, and my weight has not resulted in any real health problems. (you know that weight itself is not the problem. The issue is that weight is associated with problems like diabetes or metabolic syndrome. I don't have any of those true health issues.)

I am not stressed out. I only feel stress in acute situations like traffic every so often, like any sensible person should. I have many anti-stress habits like kitty snuggling, napping, meditation, knitting, gardening, walking, being with friends. I have a huge community of friends, and I make new friends all the time. People tell me all the time that they enjoy spending time with me and miss me when they don't see me for awhile.
Jan M., one of my knitting pals in SLC and the Knit-Along sweaters we are making together this year. I call Jan every Sunday during our regular knitting time now.

I am constantly learning new things at work and outside of work. My students are my very best teachers at work, and I love them for that. My students seem think think that they are "lucky" to be assigned to me .... I hear that often and over a lot of time. I say I am lucky that all of them have come into my life over time.
David C. who did an amazing project, writing a whole e- book to teach NP's about using bedside ultrasound.
I am in awe of my friends who are true athletes for the love of it. Missy who runs 100 miles at a time is a goddess. My brother, sister-in-law and two nieces, who have been runners all their lives, (plus bicyclists, swimmers, hikers, kayakers, skiers, etc etc.) are totally awesome. Jen and Doug did not let babies stop them from doing things like cross country skiing over New Years to Forest Service back country yurts, backpacking trips, day hiking, bicycle riding. Celeste climbed up to the top of Angel's Landing in Zion Park with baby #1 while she was pregnant with baby #2. Antonio goes to places like Hawaii to compete in Ironman things. Sheri actually goes regularly to the fitness center, has for years, and enjoys all the activities she does there. Eileen rides her bicycle to work regularly. Deb, my age, is lean and muscular because she swims competitively and wins. Ron, my taiko teacher, is as fit as when he was on active duty in the USAF, while Bo, the other teacher, has superb strength and stamina.

I am just not like any of these inspiring folks. I especially hate "exercise" and "gym" things. I was scarred for life about all of that from 1950-60's public school PE classes and activities. I don't think I will ever get over all that. About the only good thing I have to say about the whole experience is that I did learn to swim. Not that I like swimming, but that I can probably keep myself from drowning for a little while at least. 

I am content with a body that can do what I ask it to do. I can walk. I can carry things. I can garden. I can ride a bicycle. I can swim around a hotel pool kind of lazily. I can do Tai Chi. I can do a bit of yoga although I don't like it all that much. I can play taiko drums, for goodness sake. I plan on taking up dancing this fall and winter (Using the internet machine, I have found 4 different drop in classes and places for that so far.)

Waiting for our performance at the Rose Park Festival
I have no need for self body snark. I plan not to do it anymore.
I was there .... at Capital Reef National Park. I'm wearing the fleecy top that Mom & I bought together for her to take on her bus trip to Door County Wisconsin. I think I will use this fleecy top until I give up the ghost.


  1. Linda,
    This post is so very, very special. Thank you for accepting the challenge and reminding us all that we should value the time we have on this Earth -- especially the time we have with our loved ones -- and not use that time to be mean to ourselves. You sound like one super fab lady. I can understand why all your friends love you so!

  2. I loved your post, Linda. I often find myself talking negatively to myself about my physical body and other things. I think it is so very self defeating and will try to be more aware of this. It helps so much to have wonderful, positive friends. They make me feel good about myself just by standing next to them. I especially feel good standing next to you, sometimes with a life sized statue of a president. Next time we are in Rapid City, I hope we can find president Obama on one of the street corners and take our photo together.

  3. Yes, I think we all should have several pictures of ourselves with statues of presidents. They add that little touch, don't they?

  4. I love your positive spin on everything- the fact that you didn't even mention body parts you're not fond of is the best part! Thanks so much for being another brave, inspiring woman!

  5. heart warming post. You know all the important things.