Flaunt What You've Got

I’m not sure I’m allowed to tell you this, but my husband is getting a colonoscopy today, and in preparation, he had to fast for 24 hours and drink this colon cleanser called MoviPrep that was basically an exorcism of his innards. I’m talking emergency evacuation in a bottle.

The men among you are no doubt thinking, ‘Bro, that does not sound fun.’ But I’ll bet my subscription to People magazine that more than a handful of you women – acutely aware that swimsuit season is upon us – had the same first thought as me:

‘Wow. How do I get my hands on a prescription?’

My BFF was totally on the same page. ‘That’s like, so much better than the 30-day Isagenix cleanse I did last year. And so much cheaper.’
‘Right?’ I nodded enthusiastically, picturing the instant effects that this colon napalm could have on my scale and my waistline.

My running partner emphatically agreed. “It’s quicker than a nice case of influenza.’

For reasons made blurry by mojitos, the topic even came up at Mother’s Day dinner, where my 17-year-old niece’s face lit up like a smartphone screen in the dark. She said, ‘I need to get some of that before prom. I’m the only one of my friends who even eats any more.’

If we were in a movie, this would be the moment where the record needle scratches, disrupting the action and sending the plot in an entirely new and catastrophic direction. WHIRRRP! Suddenly that cozy cabin in the woods had its door pried open by a madman with murder on the brain.

It’s one thing for my friends and I to bitch about our hard worn bodies, but there is nothing wrong with my niece’s teen figure. She’s got all of the blessings of youth with none of life’s baggage or stretch marks. But damned if she is able to appreciate it. And neither do any of her friends who are subsisting on lettuce and air to fit into their prom dresses. I didn’t appreciate what I had going for me at that age either.

Ironically, I had been asked to contribute to a Mother’s Day article that was running that same day on the topic of things ‘MommaAlways Said.’ I turned to my niece and repeated one of the quotes from that article, advice my mom had given me that I wish I had heeded:

‘Flaunt it if you’ve got it, ‘cause you ain’t gonna have it forever.’

Back in the day, that had been my mom’s patent response when I would ask her if my top was too revealing or my pants too tight. Sure I wore the half shirts and short shorts that all the girls wore, but I never wore the confidence that should have gone with them.

I went on to tell my niece that she didn't know it now, but that her body is the best it’s ever going to be. All she had to do was look around that restaurant at all the mamas and grandmas with our varying degrees of sag and crag to see that this was true.

She just nodded and smiled politely like I would have done at 17, while inside she was probably going through her mental checklist of the troubling state of her stomach, thighs, boobs and butt. As if the appearance of each of our individual parts could somehow diminish who we are as a whole.

And this realization got me thinking. I have obsessed about my body for decades, when is the mental beatdown going to stop? When am I going to accept that RIGHT NOW might be as good as it gets?

With recent temperatures dipping to flip flop weather, I’ve been dreading the thought of having to stuff myself into swimsuits and shorts, forced to flash skin that’s pale, pocked and riddled in a roadmap of veins. But that’s no way to go through life, clouding up the joy of sunny days with shame and self-doubt.

Maybe I don’t need to cleanse my colon. Maybe it’s high time I washed out my brain.

I want to be like those European mamas I’ve seen on Caribbean vacations. You know the ones who are softer than us, rocking the teeny weeny bikinis we would never wear, and we’re not sure they should either. But they have too much confidence and self-love to care.

I wanna rock their attitude (though probably not the thong – baby steps!), strut the beach and let it all hang out where it may.

On this morning’s run, my friend and I passed an older woman out for a leisurely hike. She smiled at us as we lapped her once then twice and I joked to my running partner that I knew what she was thinking. ‘Honey, I used to run and play soccer too. Enjoy that body you’ve got–while you still have it.’ But behind my joke was the truth that each generation knows a little more than the one that came after it, all we have to do is look around and listen. 

It’s time to stop hating and start flaunting. Crash diets and detoxes might be a quick fix, but they’re worthless if we don’t fix the dead weight between our ears.

So go ahead and flaunt what you’ve got girls. We're better than we may ever be. And we're better than we think.

CopyGirl, my debut novel, is also the story of a young girl struggling to believe in herself and beat the haters. It's candy for your brain so why not pre-order it here!

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  1. I'm the friend!!! Love this post because it is what we always talk about on our runs! I bet those two "older' ladies don't have the aching joints like we have...maybe we should take up walking??? xoxo

  2. Walking is definitely where we are heading, but let's keep fighting the fight til then. I started taking glucosamine for the joints--it's worth a shot!!