It is so strange to realize that I have suddenly (because it did feel sudden… wasn’t it only about a year ago that my inner thought dialogue sounded exactly the same as it did when I was 16? And yes, one might logically conclude from here that I should start paying more attention. Point taken) reached an age where I think that doctors look really young, that high schoolers look really really young and that I catch myself using phrases like “back in my generation”…
So. That happened.
Back in my generation, Disney was still fun. It wasn’t a nonstop stream of transgender ideologies being forced down your throat to numbing techno beat. I would say I was at the beginning of that gravy train ride to hell. It was the beginning of the hardcore Disney princess era (for perspective — I saw Beauty and the Beast in theaters), when princesses were still pretty happy to score a hunky prince and it didn’t bother anyone’s psyche to get rescued while you swooned a bit. Where things seemed to really kink was in the whole “follow your heart” and “believe in yourself” madness (G. K. Chesterton makes a most excellent point that the lunatic asylums are chock full of consistent people, the only ones alive who truly believed in themselves, and that should tell us something), because it turns out that the heart leads to pretty bad places: massive disrespect of parents (the ones that didn’t get killed off, that is. Disney is a tough place to survive as a parent), which leads to bears and your fabulous hair flying everywhere and coconuts trying to kill you and I know not what. No bueno.
Not saying Disney is responsible; this messed up self-adoration is hardly new (Rousseau would have been a major Disney princess guy), yet it certainly offered up a nice cultural assist in the raising of generations of women who are truly convinced that they can have whatever they want — all of it, simultaneously, hands full and how dare you imply that any one thing excludes another?! I can have children, and a hugely successful career, and run for president, and have no love handles. I can have my cake, and eat it, too.
Which leads me to my love/hate relationship with exercise, and no, it is not what you think. Anybody can moan about how much they don’t like exercising. Expect better from this blog, would ya? No, my moaning is that without fail, no matter what exercise I choose or how I am eating (and in answer to the unspoken question, just because I bake it does not mean my diet consists of it), I will bulk up. My waist thickens, and my posterior, while profoundly muscular and shapely, becomes… well… profound. But it is muscle, says some overachieving creep voice in my head. Who the heck cares, my pants aren’t fitting right, screams the more prevalent and less mature voice in my head.
Yes. It is loud up there.
But I cannot have both. And this week, I am striving for something past acceptance of that, I am striving for a thankful heart. This thankfulness, I think, would be infinitely easier were it not for 2 pairs of highly discounted pants that I ordered off of Poshmark recently that I am now mildly afraid to try on, lest my yoga begin to show and I am reduced to weeping tears the size of my bum… cream colored faux leather paperbag pants, need I say more?? What’s that? You wouldn’t be caught dead in them? Huh. Well… then I guess you must exercise too.
I was thinking about this because really, neither fitness nor fabulous pants are bad things. And your life, like mine, is littered with Martha and Mary type choices, fitness or pants (less applicable for all you show-offs who actually slim down when you exercise. Choose your own example and stop rubbing it in), the hard work of hospitality versus the dropping everything to listen to one child who needs it, the volunteering to run a soup kitchen versus sitting with your elderly parent and saying the same thing over and over again for hours to fill in the gaps in their memory. There is a time for both, but no room for the illusion that you can give 100 percent to multiple things at the same time. Seek the Lord, and choose. Lord, make us into the kind of women who know how to pray, even to pray over our pants.