Thursday, May 20, 2010

Role models - Bling Lady and Joyful, Joyful models

Being in a body is such a strange thing. All this work I do on body image makes me think, of course, about bodies and health and looks much of the time. I'm also trying to get in shape so I feel good in my body. My darlin' mother is having all kinds of physical issues right now which are probably at least partially related to her not being fond of exercising, so I'm watching that and making a choice to keep myself fit so I can age gracefully and healthfully, if possible.

I'm using as my role models two of my models, older women, who exercise all the time. One of them is now 90-years-old and is still teaching dance.  She dances at least weekly and teaches twice/week, plus does pilates.  She has a great gusto for life and, as far as I can tell, has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.  I would be delighted to be in such good shape at that age!  It's so great to know someone who takes such awesome care of herself and is so fit and powerful.  She definitely defies stereotypes of aging.

My other role model, whom I painted in Bling Lady, is a gorgeous 65-year-old woman who runs marathons and does half Iron Mans. She loves to exercise and gets much joy from expressing herself in her body. She has agreed to be my running coach and is working on helping me get ready for a 5 K race in July. The frustrating thing for me is that since I started running, I've been very sick - twice! I hadn't been sick in years, so this is maddening to me! I don't know if I'm shocking my system by overusing it or what. I'm taking a break this week to try to give myself a chance to fully recover, but I really do want to become at least a moderate runner. I don't aspire to a marathon, but a 5K would be very fun! I'm wondering if I'm sabotaging myself at some level - I've never perceived myself as athletic, and I've never been a runner - am I manifesting old messages by getting sick and making it so I can't get healthy/athletic? What is the deal?

I also have an issue with my left foot - perhaps a bone spur, something like that - it flares up when I run much, though it's actually worse when I walk. Then there's my lower back which has hurt for about a year and a half now. I've done physical therapy and have been keeping up with my exercises, but it's not getting much better. I used to love to dance - it was my JOY and fun and delight! - I can't really do it now, and it pisses me off. I don't know how to get myself into shape and out of pain. I don't want to be in pain the rest of my life, one little thing after another building on the next little thing. It erodes the joy and makes it harder to get out there and exercise.

A few years ago a doctor told me I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome which is a condition where connective tissues are loose. There are several levels of it. I guess I might have the least serious of them. Basically it's what makes my joints so flexible (and why I'm good at yoga) and makes me bruise easily. I think it also is responsible for the pain I feel more of the time than not. There's no cure. It just is what it is. Good spiritual practice.

So perhaps one of the reasons I'm so passionate about helping women love their bodies is because I would love to accept my body fully, pain and weirdnesses and aging and all.   

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