Sharon, Age 50
Story
Sharon
50

The Big Apple

There is no one truth when it comes to our bodies, and the last few years have been a poignant reminder of this.

October 3, 2022

There are two big apples in this world: the Empire State and my body. Both are full of life and vibrancy. Both are marred by years of junk food and…tourists.

As I reached the big five-o, I struggled to come to terms with the changes in my body, which were largely out of my control. Menopause rapidly changed the way I put on and held weight, and everything felt ten times more like a chore.

For context, I grew up through the 80s and 90s, where you were either a supermodel-type or unimportant - literally. This was the era of eating disorders and body dysmorphia, and I sadly subscribed to survive. This has left me with a strange view of food and a problematic relationship with my body image, amplified in midlife. 

However, I do not dislike my body. My body gave my husband our first kiss. My body has sustained me through my career, giving me the energy to climb the corporate ladder with all its spikes. My body has allowed me to grow, birth, and nurture three beautiful children. My body deserves acceptance. If not now, when? 

I think it is OK to see my body in dual forms. I accept that my metabolism is slower, and I haven't defied science by maintaining rock-hard abs. I also acknowledge that aesthetics aside, my body is a vessel for nourishment, and I can do more to keep healthy. There is no one truth when it comes to our bodies, and the last few years have been a poignant reminder of this. 

As a younger woman, I saw myself as invulnerable, the apple of my eye. I took my physical abilities for granted, and I'll admit that I struggle to accept the lost dream of 'bouncing back.' While aging often includes relinquishing our former physical abilities, I believe it also includes the development of new and lasting memories, capabilities, and wisdom.

There is something so liberating about a shift in perspective. Instead of looking at aging as the body breaking down, I encourage myself and you to imagine it as the body broken in. A new heel off the rack that is the perfect size and fits your style but a new season, a new collection to get used to. Our bodies are equally well-worn favorites to be proud of. Duality, isn't it great! 

I can think critically when I see advertisements for diet products or flashy new shapewear. I do not have to accept just society's assertion that I cannot love myself as I am, no matter what age I am.

So, to any other big apples out there, you're awesome to the core.

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