If you go by what we see on the newsstand, and basically everything that our society seems to value, there are about a dozen reasons this picture shouldn’t be in a magazine. The biggest of them being that I’m fat. Second? I’m old. And yet, here I am. A plus size, size 20, 40-year-old woman pictured in a magazine. This isn’t an ad for a diet plan, or life insurance, or hormone replacements. I haven’t broken any records, nor am I any big celebrity, reality TV star or YouTube sensation. I’m just… a woman. I could be the woman in PTA with you, or the woman in your yoga class. You would pass me by at the store and not think anything of it. And yet, it is for all of those things that a picture like this NEEDS to be in a magazine. Why? Because we need to see women of all shapes and sizes and ages showing up for their life with joy. At this moment, there are over 81.4 million women who are over the age of 39, and 67% of women in this country wear over a size 16. Which means there’s a pretty good chance that you, on the other side of this page, are either plus size or over 40. (Nice to meet you!) You may be wondering, “Who is talking to me? Where are the people in the magazine that look like me? Who do I have to look up to? To identify with?”
Sister, I feel you… So, here I am. A regular woman.
Know what I want you to know? You deserve a badass life. You are allowed to create joy. At any weight. At any age. No matter how you feel you’ve “screwed up” in the past. You are always granted your ability to RISE UP. A few years ago, I had a simple desire. (Simple, but not easy.) At the age of 37, I decided I wanted to be happier and healthier turning 40 than I was when I turned 30. You see, I realized I was falling apart. Well… if I was honest? Not really “falling apart” per se, but frozen. Like Han Solo in carbonite, I was stuck in place, watching other people live life. On top of that? My body was starting to buckle under my 360 lb frame; I had a left knee that would randomly give out from under me (which made trips to Target a doozy), my back was in constant pain and my mobility was on the decline. In short, shit wasn’t great. I had no evidence that I could be in a healthy relationship – I wanted one, but I’d never been in one before. I had no real history of feeling great in my body – I wanted to feel free and strong and joyful, but I couldn’t remember a time when everything didn’t nonstop hurt. I had no idea what it looked like to BE HAPPY in life – I wanted to, but I realized I had chased the wrong things for far too long.
I had a huge closet full of clothes. I had a small-but-enthusiastic social media following. I had a decent amount of sex. My apartment was cool. My hair looked good. I had great shoes that I never wore. I had worked “fun” jobs that gave me social equity. And yet, I had none of the things I really wanted… Love. Joy. A feeling of fulfillment. I knew a few things to be true. First? I wasn’t happy with my life. Second? Something had to change. Third? I was nearing that age where society starts to tell you that you’re past your prime—where there are fewer chances, fewer opportunities to grow.
"What I want you to know is that change is possible. At 38, 39, 40, 50, 60… It IS within your human right to RISE UP and live your greater life. To burst through the box of your own experiences and other people’s expectations of you. You can define you."
Where you start to get chucked into a box, and that box defines you and what you are able to experience in life. Mom. Spinster. Boss. Aunt. But the biggest thing I knew? Deep down in my core? I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. I wasn’t ready to put MY life in a box. I wasn’t ready to say, “This is all I will ever experience.” I wanted more. I wanted more for my body, my heart, my work, my passion. I wanted more for my life. I decided to make a change. But I knew, as many of us have learned from a lifetime of trying, that diets don’t work; if I wanted to be happier and healthier, I was going to have to think beyond the scale and look at what was really missing or twisted around in my life. And so I have spent the last two and a half years of my life in deep Soul Archaeology, looking at my life from the inside out.
Seeing my trauma… #MeToo
Seeing what a lifetime of repressing anger did to my body. How it impacted my relationships. How it twisted my sense of self-worth. Looking at my relationship to food and sex and money. Learning how to BREATHE and be still. Learning how to sit through pain and not run from it. There is no perfect. There is no “end destination” when it comes to your life. We are all squiggles that doodle into the sunset moving forward every day, one foot in front of the other. What I want you to know is that change is possible. At 38, 39, 40, 50, 60… It IS within your human right to RISE UP and live your greater life. To burst through the box of your own experiences and other people’s expectations of you. You can define you.
So this, right here, is my call-to-arms for the average woman. The woman who wrestles with her body, notices her grey hair and re-negotiates with gravity on a daily basis. The woman who has jeans in the closet in a range of different sizes, that she picks from depending on the time of the month, the season or the year. The woman with the kids at soccer practice or off in college. The woman working two jobs to make ends meet. The woman who wears her CEO title loud and proud. The woman who didn’t feel time creeping up on her as fast as it was. The woman who never gets to “see herself” in magazines. The woman who is starting to worry that the best of her life may be behind her… I’m calling bullshit. You have permission to RISE