Colleen Thoele is also known as Mama Pants. She is a child advocate, awesome wife, best mother ever, worst mother ever, greatest sister of all time and lover of sensible clothing. She tries really hard to not wear sweat pants every single day, which is hard because sweatpants go the best with flip-flops, and flip-flops don’t require socks. She spends her down time blogging about the awesomeness and not awesomeness of living with the two tiny people that she made.
I dropped my keys in the parking lot. Shit. Bending down, gym bag on my shoulder and one kid holding each hand, he saw the opportunity to jump on my back and took it. She tried to make a break for it, but my vice grip proved strong enough, so she threw herself to the asphalt and screamed instead. One on my back, one in my arms and a gym bag. Did I mention it was raining? I was sweating before I even got in the door.
Covered in kids and dripping wet, I say an awkward “Heeeey” to the group of hot personal trainers all hanging out at the front desk before I drop the littles at the kiddie room (perk!) and head to the locker room.
That’s when I see her. You know the girl I am talking about. Her gym clothes are like a second skin that someone painted on. Black gym shorts that stop right under her perfectly gorgeous butt and a hot pink top. Her hair is amazing-ness. Her skin, evenly tanned and kind of shiny. Even her shoes made her feet look sexy. She’s not a pound over weight. She smells like a sugar cookie. That girl.
Standing next to her, I smile to myself. Look at me. Mismatched socks, XXL church camp T-shirt, and a bun in my hair that’s been there since I showered 24 hours ago. I have a zit on my nose that you could see from space. I’ve got 83 pounds to go of the 100 that had slowly, but surely, jailed me. That’s why I’m here, man. Jailbreak.
I smiled at her as she put her headphones on and floated
I laughed to myself like a crazy person, now alone in the locker room. Way to evolve, Colleen. Five years ago, I would have been so jealous of her. I would have tried to boost myself up by assuming she was shallow and dumb. Five years ago I would have been ashamed of my body. It jiggles when I walk. There is no mistaking that my belly housed some babies. My thighs rub together. And my chin? Sweet baby Zeus, my damn chins have neck roll friends.
Five years ago, I would have felt a cold sweat on my forehead and palms. A lump would have risen in my throat as I tried not to cry. The cold sweat would trickle down to meet the heat in my cheeks. I would have hidden in the bathroom stall to collect myself so no one would see me cry tears of shame and self-hatred. I would have hidden in order to stop hearing my heartbeat in my ears long enough to slip out of the door unnoticed by the beautiful people. Panicked. Paralyzed.
But not today. Not anymore.
I am beautiful, too. Fuck it, man. I had kids. I can’t hate my body for that.
So, as I lace up my clunky $14.00 Wal-Mart shoes, I make a mental note not only to buy some better freaking shoes, but to get out there and sweat my ass off. To keep going. To own the shit out of that treadmill. Because I deserve to be healthy. I deserve to be strong. Because, dammit, I am not defined by my Hanes Her Way comfort yoga capris. I am defined by the fact that I am taking a stand for myself. Oh, and that I’m kind of a bad ass.
It’s been five years since my body was just mine. Five years of growing people or feeding them. Having babies and breastfeeding – it was exactly what I wanted to do. And I did it. My youngest is still nursing. But things are changing. There will be no more babies. When my girl weans, there will be no more breastfeeding. My body will once again be mine. All mine. And so I stride on out of that locker room with my chins up and my determination face on. I’m ready.
I don’t need to be that girl in the hot pink top, she gets to be her. And she is clearly rocking it. Me? I get to be me. And I really fucking like me. Stretch marks and all.