Loving ourselves and our bodies through cancer and aging

You all know I’m a classic rock lover. The Grateful Dead, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, and bands like these are my jam. But I do listen to pop music on the radio when I’m tooling around town. And I’ve been obsessing on this song from Lizzo lately, called About Damn Time. What first hooked me was this lyric “I’m not the girl I was or used to be….. Bitch, I might be better”, but since then I love it on a lot of levels. Check it out if you haven’t heard it (and if u are ok w a little of the b-word 😉 ).

So the reason it hooked me is I’ve been thinking alot about embracing our changes, respecting and loving – even revering – how our bodies morph and change over time. Instead of dreading and hating these changes and feeling this negative energy, sadness, or animosity toward our own selves, why don’t we recognize all of these changes as 1) completely natural and 2) signs that we have lived rich and full lives and overcome so many obstacles?! Why can’t we see that in fact – bitch, we might be better! From our scars to our laugh lines, to stretch marks and weird fat rolls (like the ones on my side in this pic), to cellulite and sun spots, and even including our emotional quirks and habits, all of these changes are simply our bodies’ way of responding – responding to our life, to the challenges we’ve faced, to the friends we’ve made, to the adventures we’ve met, to the threats we’ve overcome, to the fun we’ve had, and even to the not-so-fun moments that have really kept us human. I’ve been thinking of my body (and mind I suppose) as a beautiful tapestry of all of my life’s experiences up to this point. Because really, our bodies are on our side! They’re just trying to protect us, right? To keep everything together despite whatver life throws our way. They don’t make those changes just to mess with us and piss us off. Our bodies and our minds respond in the best way they know how to keep us healthy and safe. So instead of being mad and disgusted at my radiation-scarred breast, I try to send some love there, to thank my skin and tissues for healing me from that damn radiation. I wink to those crow’s feet that bring back memories of so many great laughs, and those sun spots that remind me of so many fun days outside. Even to those weird fat deposits (when did that get there?! LOL) that remind me of some fabulous meals or margaritas that I have shared with my loved ones. And I’m truly grateful. I’m grateful for my body. She’s carried me through quite a lot of madness over the years and I’m still here! Thanks to all of her hard work, I’m here to enjoy another day, another yoga practice, another walk in town, another margarita w my hubs, another whatever life brings me next!

If any of this resonates with you, or these are themes you are working on in your own life, check out Ram Dass’ book Still Here. I just finished it and actually lent my copy to a close friend because I loved it so much and I thought it would help her too. It inspired much of my recent introspection and re-orienting of my feelings about aging and changing, and seeing those changes as positive and sources of joy and gratitude, rather than sadness, defeat, and decay. Ram Dass’ wisdom and inspiration are vast and profound. Check out an excerpt from the book here: https://www.ramdass.org/still-here/.

So let’s love ourselves and our bodies, just as we are. Echoing back to Lizzo, It’s about damn time!


May we stay…. forever young?

Today is my birthday!! I’m 46 years young, though I admit I’ve been telling people I am 39 for the past 7 years. Just kidding. Kindof. 😉

I love Bob Dylan, and love his version of this song, Forever Young. But I am absolutely realizing that I should embrace each year as it passes, rather than resisting and resenting them, or wishing I could stay young forever (at least chronologically young anyway). As Mark Twain said “Do not complain about growing old. It is a privilege denied to many”. And I feel that in my bones. Traversing a life threatening illness like cancer definitely makes us realize that we should celebrate each year we get to live this beautiful life. Each year we get to spend loving the people around us. Each year we get to learn new things, to read new books, to see new sights, and to see the same old sights in fresh new ways. Each year we get to breathe more deeply, to connect with ourselves and with others in new ways, to love and understand our true selves more, and to simply enjoy being here now.

So today, I’m celebrating this new year that I have been gifted. My heart will always be joyful. My song will always be sung. And I will stay….. forever young (at heart, though probably not in body, but I’m going to celebrate those wrinkles too, as they are signs that I’ve lived and laughed and smiled all year long!).

Sending big birthday girl love to you all!