,

“Oh my, she’s let herself go…”

I’ve gone soft.

Some might say that I’ve let myself go.

(not to my face, of course; that wouldn’t be nice)

I’ve been cramming myself into jeans that haven’t fit for a while now.  I hurt my back in September and haven’t been able to work out like I used to.  In reality, I haven’t been working out as I used to since I turned forty and finished my last full marathon.  That was three years ago.

My body has changed, and that means I had to buy bigger jeans.

(gasp)

Bigger numbers on your clothes = bad, right? Its especially bad as a woman.  I mean,  if the number is going up, I’m doing something wrong. I’ve given up, or I’m not trying hard enough.  When your body changes as a woman, and you’re not getting smaller, tighter, or fitter, there’s only one thing you could be doing…letting yourself go.

Which means I probably need to drink more water, or

eat more veggies, or

get up earlier and  work out more, or

count EVERYTHING I eat.

Basically I need to try harder because harder is the way out of being soft.  I can’t just let myself go… what would people say? 

Buy bigger jeans? Who does THAT?

I guess I do, that’s who.

I drove the minivan straight to Old Navy yesterday and bought four pairs of jeans in a bigger size. And I did not die. The salesgirl didn’t give me a horrified look. Nothing. Nada.  I loaded up my jeans, drove home, put a pair on, and headed out towards my sister’s house. I was sitting at a stoplight, admiring my new jeans when the voice in my head started in.

“You’ve done it now, haven’t you? You’re letting yourself go for real. Look at you bigger jeans, girl.” 

“Look how big your thighs are.”

“What’s next, gonna start buying mumus?”

Gah, that voice is awful. I needed to shut her up fast, and so I did what works.  I started asking myself questions. Sitting there at the redlight I started talking to myself. I am that weird.

So I said, “What if letting myself go isn’t all that bad?”

(that’s not a bad thought, I thought)

Then I asked myself “What if instead of ‘letting myself go’, I’m actually setting myself free?

(that is an even better thought, I thought)

I went on.  “What if what I’m doing is setting myself free from all kinds of crap that the world has fed me for so long….what if I’m setting myself free from: 

-the endless counting, weighing, and measuring of my worth based on external features.

-the discomfort of clothes and ideas that no longer fit

-the exhaustion of always trying so hard

Then I thought… “What if I just purchased freedom for $17.99?”

(Old Navy was having a 50% off sale-eek!).

I thought Holy CRAP that’s cheap!!!!

I blew my own mind.  It’s fun to do that sometimes. I smiled so big…I bought freedom for less than twenty dollars.

The stoplight turned, and I drove on relieved and comfy in my brand new jeans.

Relieved and comfy in my skin. 

My friend, the next time you find yourself in a spot when you’re wondering if you’re letting yourself go, when you’re giving yourself a good old mental beatdown, take a moment to ask if what you’re thinking is really true.

Stop and ask yourself, “Am I letting myself go, or am I setting myself free?”. 

 

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