Last Friday I cooked my first meal in my kitchen and last night my son Jake baked a cake. The kitchen is ours. The house is nearing completion. Most of the work remaining is on the library (I converted the living room to a true library…dark paneling, floor to ceiling bookshelves and wonderful crown and base) and the mud hole which is my yard.
I once had a beautiful garden but back hoes have cleared, scraped and reduced the side and back yard to mud. The most painful part of the remodel was losing some of my beloved Japanese maples. I was told they’d be saved but they weren’t. In fact, there was no attempt to save which I didn’t find out until it was too late.
I look forward to spring when I can begin replanting. Hopefully I can establish a new garden and nurture and shape new trees and flowering shrubs and find a spot for a cutting garden. I don’t have a really sunny lot, not with all the big cedars dotting my yard and the neighbors. But I love trees, and am beginning to love the new house. Cooking in the kitchen helped. Making lasagna and chili and all the family favorites helps. There’s been so much change in the past year that I find myself longing for things that are familiar. Calming. Comforting.
Which brings me to me. And my personal house…my body/shape/self-esteem. Whenever I mention my weight or my desire to get back in shape, I get some interesting emails. People who criticize me for being shallow, or image obsessed. People who don’t want me to care so much about getting my pre-baby body back.
But I have a right to feel comfortable in my own personal house. I have a right to want to feel a certain way. We all do. And I won’t be bullied or shamed or chastised for saying I’m more comfortable smaller, or leaner, or fitter. Our lives as women are filled with demands and stresses and emotional responsibilities and psychological hurdles. Being strong helps me handle the pressure. Being fit helps me cope. Mentally, emotionally, physically. My father died at 43. I’ll be 46 next month. If me being lighter or leaner or stronger helps me feel better about my mortality, then allow me to celebrate my physical ideal because there’s no right weight. There’s no right body shape. There’s no one way to be.
But there is a way not to be. Unhappy. Insecure. Haunted by self-hatred.
We are each responsible for making sure we’re joyful. Peaceful. Positive. It’s not a one shot thing. It’s not a hit the goal and you’re done. It’s a daily thing. It’s a weekly thing. It’s a life thing.
To work towards joy. To work towards self-acceptance. To aim for our personal best.
We’re not going to always succeed. But we don’t fail if we don’t give up.
So take care of your personal house, that body that takes care of you. Give it the good stuff. Give it rest. Give it love. We don’t have forever. But we don’t need forever if we live fully each day.