Aging, Body Shaming and What That Means for Us All
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
— Mark Twain
If there’s one thing that no one in this world is exempt from, no matter how rich, how poor, how thin, how nice, how evil, how generous, WHATEVER… it’s AGING. Yes, we are all aging. And we are all fighting it at the exact same rate as the next person. Some will age better, some will age worse, but it’s a process we all must face, whether we like it or not.
In April, I will turn 42, and in August, I will be married 17 years. Yet, it all feels like yesterday that I met my hubby (I was 17), and then pushed out a couple of kids. And although I think I keep myself looking pretty decent – I work out, I eat very well (minus McDonald’s which I LOVE and don’t deprive myself of), I am mentally quite sane, and the eternal optimist, I do notice the aging process happening… and it’s coming on strong. If I am to be honest, it’s not easy. I FEEL 19, but the mirror doesn’t lie. My laugh lines and brown spots don’t lie either.
If you watched the Super Bowl Sunday night, then you no doubt saw an uber talented, vibrant, fit, strong, lean, young woman take the stage at half time. Lady Gaga rocked every second of that performance.
Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show was truly one for the ages: Between the high-flying acrobatics, the parade of hits, and the singer’s commanding stage presence it was hard not to be in awe, honestly. But—as always—some trolls chose not to see any of the entertainer’s talent, and instead chose to focus on her body.
Once Gaga had shed her Bowie-inspired Versace bodysuit for a pair of bedazzled briefs and football pads, bored body-shammers decided to do their thing, criticizing the insanely-fit 30-year-old for apparently not having their definition of a perfect figure. “Lady gaga didn’t choose a good wardrobe choice,” one user wrote, responding to a tweet from Perez Hilton. “Her stomach is literally HANGING OVER HER SHORTS. looks horrible!” (Glamour Magazine)
Hanging over her shorts???
Sorry people, I just can’t.
Or how about, some other tweets, I won’t even share the tweeter’s identity:
“Gotta get to the gym today. Can’t get the Lady Gaga pudge.”
“Lady Gaga go cover up your flabby stomach.”
Okay, before you punch your screen, stay with me.
I ask you, why do we body shame?
I mean, you know the answer, right? You don’t need little me, certified life coach, to tell you why. We body shame, or we put down that other mother in our community, or we diss the girlfriend in our friendship circle because we feel like crap in our own skin. Because we probably have low self esteem. Because it makes us feel elevated, if not just for a moment, to squash someone else down.
That’s ugly, right?
Yah. It’s pretty ugly.
But it’s the truth. When you are a woman in your own skin. Empowered. In charge. You don’t body shame, or trash-talk, or belittle, or get off on other people’s woes. You lift others up. You encourage your friends. You get happy for other people’s success.
I get it, though. I totally do. We are only human. When our lives feel dark, or feel like we don’t have much good going on at the moment, we can be tempted to judge others quickly. But I urge us all, to put our finger back in our pocket, and get to work. Work on ourselves. Work on our own lives. Instead of looking outward, we must look inward.
This morning, we saw 63 year-old mom Christie Brinkley back in her bikini for Sports Illustrated with her gorgeous daughters Alexa Ray Joel and Sailor Brinkley Cook.
Alexa Ray (suicide attempt survivor) posted, “This was a lesson in learning to let go, take the plunge, and embrace myself from both the inside AND out- which is something I struggle with each and every day. My purpose is to now pass along this lesson of unconditional self-love and self-respect to every woman who’s willing to listen.”
The bottom line is, that as long as we’re breathing, we’re going to age. Aging gracefully is a choice, and it’s fully our own. Some of us will be lucky enough to live old enough to see our grandchildren get married. Some may not. But aging requires preparation and acceptance. Your body parts will give out, and when you slide your jeans on one day, your belt may wrap around your boobs. Shit happens! 😉 But I really do think that age is just a number– no one comes with an expiry date. I hope when I’m 63, I will rock a bikini too, with my cellulite (that I already have), my tummy that is new to my body, and the confidence that I already have as a 41-year-old woman. I won’t lay down and die.
And finally, I think that when someone puts their vulnerability out there, you encourage them. I hope that as a society, we stop body shaming. I hope we can start today.
Thank you for reading.