Thighs, noise, and neurosis

The 40’s have been good to me…overall. Despite, the crazy weight gain and hormones going crazy and the stress of my personal life (a story for another day). I’ve gained weight, lost weight. Adjusted to the new “normal” and feel, overall, comfortable, in my new skin. For the most part…

Then today, I wore a pair of pants I’ve worn a million times. Yet, in the eerie, quiet, of my office, I realized that every time I walk, my pants make noise. You know that “thigh rub serenade” that accompanies movement in the realm of the real? I don’t know why I never noticed before. Up until 40, I was that size 0, thigh gap girl you rarely meet in reality. But I have transitioned to “normal” and haven’t quite come to terms with it.

Still, I can’t help but wonder, when “normal” become subpar?

I walked around my office today, for the first time aware, that when I walk, my pants make noise. What is that?!?

Then I came to the safety of my home and realized, the noise isn’t gone because I’m safe. I’m still in my work clothes and my thighs and pants still make noise when I walk and I wonder if I’m the only one neurotically listening to the sound deafening to me…the noise of fabric and friction.

I realize this sounds stupid. But it’s the “real” of my life so I’m sharing.

How do you navigate the moment you are young and whatever size, and transition to normal adulthood without feeling the sting? I thought of burning my pants but the truth is, my thighs are the likely culprit, so no amount of flame will kill the ill.

But why is that an issue? Good Lord ladies, we are born of dust into a world of rust and lust, and suddenly, we are not enough?

Who sets these standards? And why do we care?

I, neurotically, navigate a world of “beauty”, when the whole time, I am beauty. Do we need size X to be happy? Or can we be real?

I am in my 40’s. I’ve had 5 children. I am the average woman walking down the street. Yet I am obsessing about the sound of polyester striking polyester?!? There’s something profoundly wrong there!

I am officially calling it bull! I can rock my polyester, not so amazing, work pants…serenade and all without thinking of my “thigh gap”. I can be me and feel amazing without being 20 again!

Listen closely if you dare, and you may hear the sound of my thighs rubbing together while I conquer the world! And God grant me the serenity to be okay with the melody!



To be a Real Woman

This morning began like any other. I guzzled some coffee, did my mom thing, got a quick workout in, did laundry. At some point when the dust had settled, I sat down for a dose of social media while the Today Show played in the background. There was a post (which I will not link here because there is a curse word in it) from a friend of mine that in essence said a “real woman” is whatever she wants to be rather than curvy or skinny or muscular etc. Meanwhile, the Today Show can’t stop talking about People Magazine’s selection of Lupita Nyong’o as Most Beautiful person of the year.

Lupita Nyong'o - She is beautiful isn't she?

Lupita Nyong’o – She is beautiful isn’t she?

The Today Show host said that Lupita had said in an interview that growing up, she didn’t feel beautiful at all. And it hit me afresh how many women feel this way. How sad that we’ve allowed outside opinion and influence to dictate our identity. I too am guilty of propagating the lie.

Just this morning, I caught myself thinking, as I looked a friend’s photo, “She is such a pretty girl, but she wears WAY too much makeup!” I know I’ve said the opposite as well, “She would be so pretty if she wore a little makeup.” Or “lost weight” or “gained weight” or “dressed better” or…you get the idea.

I’ve propagated the lie inward as well. “I need to lose those last few baby pounds.” “I need shoes like that” “I need a new hairstyle.”…you get the idea. Don’t misunderstand, there is nothing wrong with doing things that make you feel confident like getting a new haircut or wearing those outfits that make you feel like you can conquer earth with your awesomeness. I think those things are important and healthy. The problem starts when we believe the lie that we are defined from the outside.

The truth is that a real woman is not defined by her appearance. A real woman is not defined by weight, style, physical attributes, clothing, shoes, hair, makeup. A real woman is defined by who she is, who she was made to be and the God who created her with purpose and destiny.

Maybe if we all realized that we are beautiful just because we were created to carry the beauty of the divine and share that beauty with the world, we would start living a little differently. Think about it, what is more beautiful than a woman stopping to wipe tears from little eyes and help a smile reappear? What is more beautiful than reaching a hand to someone no one else sees and showing them they have value? What is more beautiful than the one who brings food to the hungry, water to the thirsty? When someone stops the chaos for a moment of conversation and tenderness?

When we will stop being distracted by the trivial and start living the eternal? Love is forever.

When we carry the divine, we are beautiful.

I am beautiful because He is beauty and He lives in me.

Behind the Broken Glass

Crack in the window

I’m standing in a room alone. It’s dark, foggy, shadowy and gray. Before me, a mirror stands singularly. It’s the centerpiece of the room. It’s as if my presence there is more triviality than importance. Everything revolves around this monument of reflective glass. It haunts me.

Though it has no voice, I can almost hear it calling me into its solitary world. The room begins to spin. I hear jeers and laughter. Whispers from the past combine into dissonant noise that surrounds me, spinning, spiraling with noxious intent. They wrap me up and I find myself face to face with this fragile monster and I allow myself to look deeply.

The image before me is clear at first, just plain ol’ me with my pale, freckled skin, sharp features, ordinary hair, small, uneventful eyes, thin lips. As I stare, the image begins to change before me. From my perspective, it’s as if it’s zooming in and becoming clearer. It feels as though I’m really seeing myself for the first time. Every line, dimple and extra pound expands. I never realized how much weight I’d really accumulated with my last pregnancy. I’d never realized how pallid and sallow looking my skin had become. My long, natural hair used to be beautiful and flowing. I always thought it was lovely. Now it looks stringy, unkempt and dull. I feel as if there should be a law about letting oneself look like this. What have I allowed myself to become?  Corners

From the other side, I see this whole scene unfold. Suddenly, I’m an outside observer watching the event as if it were a movie playing in 3D. I still feel everything but reality is with me and I am aware.

As she stands before the mirror the glass shifts and shakes, contorting slowly, imperceptibly to her. Cracks and jagged, broken edges jut out in various places causing her reflection to look more like something she might see in a fun house mirror than true form.

I’m standing behind the broken glass watching her weary face, hearing her thoughts as she contemplates her new diet and exercise program (which will start TOMORROW). I feel her shame. She wants to hide, to blend in with the crowd just outside this room and pray they don’t see her at all. If she can avoid being seen until she fixes everything wrong with her, maybe she’ll be okay. Maybe the monster will release her from this prison. But some things she can’t change. What then?

From behind the broken glass, I see her. I see who she really is. She is beautiful. I see her dignity, her faith, her strength, the sparkle in her eye, the grace in her smile. She is so much more than the lies the mirror keeps telling her.

WindowI reach through the glass with both hands wide. I call to her. I take her hand and help her through to the other side.

Suddenly, the room is clear. The fog and gray are now light and clarity. I open my eyes, whole. I am home. I can still feel the glass like a distant presence. I know it’s there. I know it will fight to pull me in again but I am no longer afraid. I know now it’s broken. It has no hold on me.

Now I will look for it. When I see it appear, maybe I can have the opportunity to reach through and help another captured soul through to the other side. Behind the broken glass there is a world of freedom.

Why I Do & Don’t Work Out


Everyone knows the benefits of exercise. Doctors, health & nutrition experts, personal trainers, magazine articles, advertisers and celebrities have been telling us for years that if we want to be healthy, we have to work it. For me, that fact alone has done very little to persuade me to get up & move, or worse yet…step away from the chocolate. I realize that there are those among you who can honestly say that health is your primary motivator for exercise but when I look around; I can’t help but think that the majority of the folks at the gym are there because they want to look better. I used to be one of them.

I grew up as one of the scrawniest people alive. I was ridiculously skinny as a child & teenager. My first pregnancy, I weighed in at 5 months pregnant a whopping 88 pounds. I’m 5’3″ tall. The only concern I had with weight was that I had not acquired any. At some point, after a few kids and a desk job, I crossed the line into “normal”. All of the sudden, I was just an average, thin person instead of a commercial for starving children. I was in the middle of a disastrous marriage in which every flaw I had was pointed out & magnified. I became terrified that one day I would look in the mirror and it would verify what the voices screaming in my ear everyday were telling me…that I really wasn’t good enough. So I worked out. I became obsessed with every “trouble zone”. I worked out in the morning before starting my day and did crunches & leg work in front of the TV at night. I knew I wasn’t fat, but I wanted to be better, whatever that was.

After my divorce from my first husband, I got worse. I didn’t mean to & I don’t know if I even knew it at the time, but I stopped eating breakfast and lunch. I continued to exercise & added to that the responsibility of walking my ex’s dog, that weighed more than I did, three times a day. I dropped back down to below the 100 pound mark which I’d tried so hard to get up to as a teenager. It was lunacy.

When I started dating my husband, something in me shifted. He spent time at the gym, but his focus was totally different from what mine had ever been. He truly wanted to be healthy & fit for all of the right reasons, while I’d been striving to be good enough. He began to love me to life. I began to realize that I’d been enough all along and that no amount or lack of lunges would change that.

For a time, I stopped exercising altogether. I think I needed that time to come to terms with the fact that my body doesn’t define me. At times it’s been hard. I’ve gained 25 pounds in the last year. I probably needed at least 15 of them. Sure, I got aggravated when my size 0 pants quit fitting. I cried once or twice when I couldn’t fit into anything in my closet. Still, I feel completely satisfied with who I am and that is a victory for me so I refuse to feel defeated by a few extra pounds.

I think sometimes, we need to really grasp a concept before we can move on. I needed those pounds. Now I can work out for the right reasons. I woke up this morning and I didn’t want to crawl out of bed and start working up a sweat but I did it anyway. That for me is the greatest treasure of exercise. It’s in the ability to cause our flesh to submit to what we know it should be doing. Romans 7:14-15 talks about man’s struggle with sin. “14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” I think the same concept applies here. We know that in order to be healthy & fit, we need to exercise, yet we don’t want to, so we don’t. For me, when I put my flesh into subjection & let it know that it doesn’t get a vote here, it is so fulfilling. I feel powerful & strong. I also know if I can make my body submit to exercise, I can make it submit to the Lord in other areas as well. I love that!

I work out for me. I work out for my kids, so that I can have the energy and stamina to play with them & do what I need to do to be a great mom. I work out for my husband so that I can be around for a long time and enjoy the wonderful life we have together. I work out for God (yes that sounds strange) but I know that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I need to be a good steward and take care of it. I work out so that I have energy. Sure, I want to look good, I want my husband to have a beautiful wife to come home to. I want to feel good about myself, but I’ve learned that I am beautiful even if I have a little cellulite. I am perfectly designed just the way that I am and finally, I’m okay with that.