Hunka Hunka BradensEye Burning Love circa 2003, Photo from BradensEye Archives

Wisdom from another age of yourself can be integral to sweet salvation. Connecting to our older or younger self is cause to illuminate all sorts of auspicious sheen. I wish there was an audio collection of all the souls that ever lived, much like the Library of Congress seeks to keep a record of what’s been written. I’d fashion it a telling from our differing ages with critical points where we wised up, or down. Where we learned such a valuable lesson in simplicity or far-reaching breadth that we were compelled to share, knowing that generations of others, not unlike our younger selves, would have craved to be armed with before going into life battles. Then, if we all had access to these collective accountings to further our roads as we winded them would be that bit of magic from fabled fiction books. We might conjure confidence in the brink of crumbling or perform dashing feats of heroism more readily, all based on this pool of knowledge.

A genuinely badass babe friend of mine made what she basically referred to as a daring Instagram post about perception of herself yesterday. She was glowing like a red-carpet Academy award-winning celebrity. Her smile as infectious as the day I met her, only this time uncharacteristically broadened with candy-apple red lipstick to match her glamorous dress of the same tone. Her broadcasting began as hesitation for making the post for consideration of possible backlash that was felt she was as gorgeous as she is. Appreciation of her own stunning photo gave her pause, but she did it anyway. Not in gluttony. Not in expectation. She beautifully and authentically remarked honoring how we all shine when surrounded by people we love, who love us, and especially when our lives are on top of the world, no matter our fancy dress (but that can add to the glisten) is what puts the sparkle in us. She’s supremely right. Own your essence of excellence and watch the applause from ones who know a good thing when they see it.

Today, I’ve decided to hurl caution to the wind a bit like Lady Gaga bridging the gap between being bullied to acclaim and praise. There was never any doubt from the masters of the universe she could. We all have access to that possibility of power. But that she did is key. She and significant others in the realm of daring to be all that we are just as we are remains a heroine for a culture deeply braised in separatism and narrow-mindedness. Masses of women swimming in my head, from world leaders and some special ancestors to my dear friend Erica with her social media posting perfection, I dug up a story that was previously published as part of a motivational community magazine I worked with at the time called The RAY — Real Authentic You. The year was 2003 and I was thirty-three. Reworked for present tense, decent grammar, and only very slightly enhanced, this story continues to resonate with my forty-eight years young self. Equally, I find looking back at any of my writings from a more youthful age is nostalgically a dance where the music never stops, the disco ball spins endlessly, and I twirl round the floor in a looping reverie of near disbelief that our downfalls are actually our most-prized possessions — our self is a stunning achievement!

~~~

Excerpt below from The RAY magazine, circa 2003

Marilyn Monroe Had It so Good

I’d like to share a little story about growing up female. A good friend of mine shared a poignant tale last issue about breast size and the negative and positive effects on her. I was drawn to that article because ‘body talk’ remains an important part of my everyday life. I’m lucky to have a large group of women friends who both covet this openness and strive for positive growth individually. We encourage one another to be better and to be ok with who we are. I knew I could write a similar tale, one of equal importance when dealing with what many women face when looking at themselves- disappointment. I’d like to share who I am today, having learned a lot since birth.

From the prior read about breasts, those friends that know me may be wondering how I could identify so much with someone feeling hardship over a size A breast when today I wear a C-D cup (depending on the lingerie brand). What some of my friends may not know is that I started there too (of course) and thought I’d be an A my whole life. I was a skinny, average height girl. I took ballet for many years. I was also very active as a swimmer and tennis player. I was even called “bony butt” and often complimented on my lean legs all through secondary into high school by the boys. Alternately, I experienced snide remarks about my “mosquito bite” size breasts, being asked if I had band-aids to cover them. Then I got ‘lucky’. I had my first period (menstrual cycle) at age thirteen. My tiny breasts became small breasts. They were growing little by little. I started taking the pill at age sixteen. By the end of high school, I had a B+ cup. By the end of college, I was the definitive C-D I am today. I was a partial late-bloomer. But, wow, how happy was the male population, along the way! Well worth the wait for them, and for me. I was thrilled to have one less body part to worry over as I grew into womanhood.

Yet, here is where the real story begins. No sooner had I acquired said breasts, and a sigh of relief, then the thighs appeared. (Now, gather all yea mothers while reading this to relish in nostalgia the days before your birthing hips.) However, when you pray to be many things as a young growing girl, you do not usually pray to be big in any area but one (aforementioned breasts). And, to this end, I began to grow. As my breasts grew, my thighs grew. Sure, I heard and read and well understood my primal function in life; to one day have children. What they don’t tell you about this beauty, this birthing need, is that all around your own growth comes the rather stunted view of our society’s body ideals. Thereby, allowing your own sense of self to dwindle, instead of bloom.

So, I went from strutting my front stuff to figuring out how to handle the chaffing of my thighs. Because my thighs touched constantly, it caused me to sweat a lot “down there”. I also spent much time trying to avoid the redness that occurred on my inner thighs as I walked in the bikini I once adored on my frame. I resented getting older. I longed for the days the boys called me “bony butt”, because of course with the larger thighs came the padded buns too. Those same boys stopped flirting with me for being the best “leggy” girl around. It hurt. Where once I could flip through magazines and feel myself wearing the models’ outfits, I found the mere idea of going to the dressing room to even try something on a total embarrassment. To boot, my waist remained small. Again, some of you may be thinking- how’d she get so lucky? To me, this was simply yet another hardship fraught with one clothing designer after another creating wears where if your middle was a small so were the pant legs, which meant I was lucky to get things over my knees before I shrugged them off, never able to secure the buttons for a look in the mirror.

When one first encounters strife with oneself there’s a typical psychological routine as I see it (not necessarily in the same order each time, mind you, and not always complete): ignorance, realization, effort, denial, dealing, courage, affirmation and affection. In my case it went something like this: I continued buying size 4–6 pants/skirts for years. I wouldn’t even try them on at the store. I just brought them home to find I couldn’t fit into them and was subsequently too embarrassed to exchange. Finally, I began to buy size 8–10. I also began to try everything I could think of to help make my thighs shrink: diets, starving, laxatives, running, jogging, walking, aerobics, spinning, yoga, and sex. I even considered liposuction. I pretended my larger thighs weren’t a hazard to my beauty, yet dated a few bad men who sadly reminded me exactly where my fat was during our argumentative moments. Despite these things, I remembered that I was not just two thighs with two feet. I was a magnificent full body attached, with great breasts, an amazing brain, a big heart and much more. To help solidify this I started to stand up for myself by embracing my assets and using them to my advantage despite my thigh size. As I began each new day, I gave myself a pick-me-up by looking at myself in the mirror — eyes to eyes — to tell myself how beautiful all of me really is. I make an effort to remember to take care of and love myself truly, honestly, no matter what I look like, or what anyone else says.

At age thirty-three, I write this to you still having had no children, and therefore still having no ‘excuse’ for my thigh size. I still struggle with exercise many days (knowing it will help my thighs to be a little less, but also accepting I am who I am with this basic shape). I am able to feel sexy some days. I’m proud to include this picture of myself to show you and share with you my honest size, featuring my thighs. In this day and age of society’s supermodel-famous-thinness, I am much more akin to one of my photographic favorites Marilyn Monroe. She sure had it good — living in an era which glamorized the voluptuousness she so splendidly displayed. And, I’m blushing to write that I feel I fill out a catsuit costume better than most any other friend I know. Yes, I can be confidently saucy, in spite of a ‘little’ thing called thighs.

Va-va-voom!

P.s. ACTIVITIES…

  • Set aside a little private time to talk with a fe/male you admire or look up to. Each of you takes turns telling one another what you like most about the other person. Concentrate on body parts and body image, including thighs (and be sure to comment on outfits you really think accentuate one another’s beauty).

Journal about the remarks you hear about yourself. Read them aloud to yourself in front of your friend. Practice saying them with conviction and excitement. Keep these notes to read back to yourself when you feel you need to be reminded how wonderful you are!

  • Sit or lie comfortably, preferably with no distractions. Close your eyes. Now, take a minute or two to ‘feel’ your thighs. Let your arms by your side and relax — do they automatically touch your thighs? Place your hands on your thighs, run them up and down, all over. How do you feel? Do you feel big, or do you feel shapely and beautiful?

It is best that we get to know how we feel about our bodies as we grow with them throughout our entire lives. I recommend you spend some time like this quietly with your body anytime you are not feeling the best about yourself. In this kind of moment, I eventually wind my way to find the miracle of myself being alive enough to overshadow any disappointment, fear or dislike I may be experiencing about a part of my body. I leave this moment of self-inspection feeling special, unique and rare. It is an awesome thing that we are even able to be created, so enjoy your parts! Explore them; honor them; and most of all, be proud of them. We come in all sizes and shapes — that’s the pure beauty of the human race.

***

Addendum…

Out on a limb, dangly or dangerously revealing our true beauty (not to be confused nor disconnected entirely with booty too much here) can be daunting. While a few have commented on the taboo nature of some of my stories, I’m grateful for the brazen backbone that keeps me bouncing with openly reflective happiness to have the freedom to share at all. Courage is a wonderful aphrodisiac. I’ve been shocked so many times of my life if someone reveals a graphically harsh judgment of another, especially publicly in our very online world-reaching global social media age. Even Marilyn’s actual weight has launched incredulous controversy. I suppose the ability to tear others apart, even in death, gives someone a fleeting sense of distraction from their own trauma. One of my biggest hopes remains the capacity for every one of us to focus on the good in ourselves and each other. Stop all this outward terror — it is terrible on this level — and rather, reach for our inside gorgeous human to rise.

I don’t wish for peace on earth and mercy mild only during our current season. I long for peace of good will from all of us every season. If my younger self could have chatted with this elder me and vice verse speaking from this present aged mindset to the young me each may chime “She’s so fine! You’ve got this, beauty.” Rejoice for our parts exactly as they are. Let’s celebrate goodness by feeling good, thinking good, sharing good, and doing good things for ourselves and others. Accentuate all positives. Go on — give compliments galore and let people see your inner and outer glory.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

LOVER of life. Especially people, places, philanthropy and photography.

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