My heart felt heavy this week upon hearing news about the death of the iconic entertainer, David Bowie.
When I was 13, I discovered his music through other artists I loved who were influenced by his work. I fell in love with him as a girl and he will always have a special place in the soundtrack of my life.
While I was listening to Sirius XM radio the other day, one of the deejays made mention of the singer Mick Jagger’s tribute to Bowie. He said that his friend and rock and roll colleague was “wonderfully shameless in his work.”
I literally pulled over seconds later and scribbled that on a receipt I grabbed out of my purse.
I mean, how fucking great is that? To be described as “wonderfully shameless” in how you created and shared your art — how you lived your life and inspired other people?
I thought about that a long time because I think everyone’s life is a work of art. I think our bodies are miraculous works of art.
You might think I will now go into a story about how in the “before” photo from 2010, that I didn’t know or understand this. That I was unhappy or unfulfilled because I carried extra weight on my body.
You might also think that the recent handstand photo is a symbol of “finally figuring out who I am,” or feeling more complete and loved because it’s evident that I’ve lost weight and am very fit.
The wonderfully shameless truth is that in 2010, I knew that my life was beautiful and I wanted to express that and live that each and every day. I fought with myself a lot and did some hiding behind food and weight, but I was living and creating the best life I could at that time.
And I wouldn’t trade a single goddamn day with those 40 extra lbs. for anything. That woman, that body and that mind grew from every single experience and challenge I knew in my 30s:
- Five pregnancies
- Four miscarriages
- One miraculous birth of a baby girl
- One miraculous adoption of a baby boy
- One 1/2 marathon in under two hours
- Two graduate degrees
- Five career changes
- Three houses
- Published columnist / writer
- One amazing husband and partner
- An incredible, valuable and lovable life — just as I was.
That woman in the gray and black dress is smiling at you. She enjoyed life, but she really wanted to feast on life, and not focus so much of her energy on the ever-present “problem” of the weight she kept trying to lose.
Once I flipped an inner switch where I got very, very clear that I loved myself enough to embrace what I was made of beyond the number on a scale — that’s when I touched the flame of the woman I wanted to be.
That’s when I decided to fall in love with life right then and there on July 7, 2011 as I reached out to my coach and asked her guide me and teach me what she knew.
The first lesson? To be wonderfully shameless about my body and my life and all that they offered me at that exact moment. Not when I lost 10 lbs. Or 25 lbs. Not when I finished another degree. Not when I had zero debt and money to spare. Right then. Right there.
When I began to take exceptional care of my body, held it in high regard and created opportunities for myself instead of waiting for things to happen to me, this is what shifted:
I loved my body. I loved my life. I released the weight.
This required my time, my attention, my vulnerability and my belief that I was worthy and capable of all of those things.
And I grew into a woman who is even more wonderfully, shamelessly in love with her body and her life. Just as she is.
I cherish that handstand photo.
I had a few little conversations in my head about how I was going to share it and why.
I told myself it was “too much” and that maybe it would look or feel “too unrealistic” or “unobtainable” or even “unimaginable” for someone I want to reach and offer the work that I do.
Is that you?
If it is, I’m here to tell you that those thoughts of mine were false. I had them and they were real, but they’re not true.
Here’s what’s true:
It is absolutely not unrealistic, unobtainable or unimaginable to become the woman you want to be if you are not living the way you want to right now.
Never, ever let anyone tell you it’s too late, you’re too old or it’s not worth the time. Fuck all that.
You are not too much. Your body is not too much. Your desires are not too much.
It’s all here for you — right in this moment. I know it with every cell of my body — past and present — because I made it so for myself almost five years ago.
For that second photo, I made three or four hilarious, brave and awkward attempts at that handstand pose in five inch stilettos until I held it 15 seconds for the shot.
I didn’t give up — especially when my photographer told me she’d not yet coaxed a female subject to land that pose for her. And if you tell me something like that, oh — it’s on.
With this 44 year old life and that 44 year old body, I am unapologetic in my evolution.
And in 2016, I am wonderfully shameless about that and my mission to help other women feel the same way.
This is your prime. Your life is your Body of Work — your dreams, your determinations, your thoughts, your actions, the lives you touch — and the way you love and care for the masterpiece that is your body.
That’s my work in the world — a mission to help women heal and transform their relationships with their bodies so they can show up fully in their lives.
That’s what heals and transforms the world.
That’s you — wonderfully and shamelessly — creating and sharing your body of work.
I’ve been seeing the lyrics of the David Bowie / Freddie Mercury hit “Under Pressure” all over my social media feeds this week.
Until recently, I didn’t know the exact words at the end of the song, but they are so beautiful. They are a wonderful and shameless dare for you to change the way of caring for yourself.
“‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves”