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I ATE THE CANNOLI

Cindy Maddera

She jogged past me as I sat waiting for the light to turn green. The woman was wearing a pink tank with matching tiny pink shorts. A giant contraption on her wrist, held her phone. Maybe the contraption only looked giant because of her ultra skinny arms. The woman was all bones and muscle. I had been watching people happily running along the Trolly Track Trail up to this point in my drive. I looked at each one of them while thinking that maybe I could do that and maybe it just doesn't look like something I want to do. Running is such a big thing here. I see people running all the time. I think about it and my heart sinks a little. I don't see any joy in the action of running. 

I watched Mrs. Bones And Muscle cross the street and jog on. The light turned green and I continued moving forward while still running thoughts around in my head. Maybe I should make year forty two the year of lean? What if I added an extra thirty minutes or hour to my cardio and maybe started lifting some weights? I should stop eating dinners and take the dog for more walks. I thought about that roll I noticed I was sporting in the leggings I had on the day before. Then, I arrived at my destination, a Saturday morning yoga class I've started attending. The teacher is silly and she makes me laugh. It is an advanced class, meaning all the students know how to modify without cues. Not everyone can do Hanumanasana with out blocks. It is a good place for me because it lets me challenge myself without the feeling of being in a competition. Failing at yoga 101. 

I move through the poses in class and I as lower my body to the floor for salabhasana, I can feel my ribs pressing almost painfully into the mat. I come into Hanumanasana and I feel like I am this close to being fully into this pose with out the blocks. I feel long. I feel okay about being more than bones and muscle. For now. Tomorrow I will put on a pair of pants that are the tiniest bit tight around my waist or I'll step onto the scale and see that there is no change from the last time I stepped on the scale and I will be back in the old spot of self loathing. I will be forty two years old in about six months and I am still struggling with liking this body, being proud of this body, not being disgusted by this body. I am the only one who thinks I am fat. Well..me and maybe one other person. 

I know that Mrs. Bones And Muscle looks in the mirror on some days and thinks the very same thing about herself. I know that this is a universal feeling. We are all caught up in the same tornado of mixed messages. Size ten here is a size twelve over there. Clothing stores still use 'plus' size to label clothes and lump them together in one section of the store, usually in the back. You find that section only after you have walked past skinny mannequins sporting slim and fitted outfits. At the same time we are being told that all sizes are beautiful and being healthy is more important than being skinny. Being healthy doesn't sell magazines as well as articles on 'how to lose ten pounds in ten days' or 'five easy exercises to bust belly fat'. Then there are all the scientific reports on calorie restriction and mice longevity. By all accounts, healthy is skinny and there are as many companies out there making money off of selling this idea as there are people willing to buy into it. Lowering peoples' self esteem is a very lucrative business. 

God, I hope we are doing a better job of teaching the next generation that healthy really is more beautiful and what healthy really means. Hell, I wish I was doing a better job of setting a good example that healthy is beautiful. This is what I really should be doing. Not adding more cardio or weight training. Maybe I should be setting a better example, at the very least to myself. Stop feeling guilt for the rare occasion when I eat something not so good for me. Maybe I'll eat more cannolis and bread.