I felt like that when I was in labor too.
Speaking of labor, lets talk about the Olympics! :D
Four years ago, I was pregnant, watching the Olympics with Acheron and Gourmand, as they are known in my memoir. I enjoyed watching Phelps swim way out ahead of the competition. I loved watching the gymnasts, and the synchronized swimming was cool. That about sums up that Olympic-watching experience for me.
Now, having given birth, I watch every athlete in the Olympics in every event with pride and awe.
Before I gave birth, I felt a lot of shame and very little love for my body. I could not relate to athletes. They could have been aliens, their world so different from mine.
While giving birth, I fell totally in love with my body. I'm sure I show it better in the last chapter of my memoir, but I'll try to explain it here. In the five hours of my labor, I felt more present in my body than at any other time in my memory. I didn't experience pain, but I did experience every ripple of muscle, every stretch, every squeeze. In the pushing stage, I gave all I thought I had...and then my body gave even more. It was incredible, empowering, and gave me an appreciation of my body's potential that has stayed with me over three years later.
Last year, I changed my Standard American Diet to a whole foods vegan menu, and my body released 80 pounds. I didn't work for it. I didn't count calories or exercise or watch my portion sizes. I simply changed what I ate from primarily animal products and processed crap to whole foods that I prepared myself. Delicious, nutritious, satisfying foods.
Last week, I started working with a personal trainer, and on the first day I was amazed at my body all over again. I have plateaued at about 270 pounds since the initial weight loss last year, and exercising on my own wasn't getting me anywhere, so here is this personal trainer giving me a fitness evaluation.
An elderly lady felt the need to stop my trainer and I on the way from the scale back to the training area because she wanted me to know that it was okay to be "fluffy," as she put it. She told me her daughter is fluffy, and it's a good thing, because people don't want to sit or stand close to her. She said she didn't like being small, because people stand closer to you and crowd your space.
My trainer was quietly outraged on my behalf. "Did she just call you 'fluffy?!" she asked, after we were out of hearing range. We laughed off the encounter, and then ended up settling on a machine next to the offending woman to test my upper body strength. I could only lift 100 pounds, which didn't impress me, but the elderly lady was amazed because she could only lift 15.
My lower body can lift 300 pounds, and my trainer told me the other lady could only lift 40. I laughed, and joked, "I may by fluffy, but I can bench-press YOU! BOOYAH!!!"
So yeah, getting back to the Olympics...
The athletes in the Olympics represent the best of human potential. They have goals, plan out the steps to get them there, nourish their bodies, minds, and spirits, push themselves, allow their bodies to give even more than they ever thought possible, and they inspire millions along the way.
When I watch a woman leaping hurdles like a gazelle, it doesn't make me want to go outside and start a-leaping. That's not the kind of inspiration I'm talking about, though I'm sure some people are inspired that way. What inspires me is the look on her face, the way her body and mind synchronize as she does her thing, and I am flooded with pride for her and a surge of energy for myself to get back to work on my own goals, be they physical, emotional, creative, practical, or spiritual.
The other night my toddler was performing somersaults in our bed, and I decided to join him. I hadn't tried in over a decade, but once the bed was clear, I rushed toward it, leapt, tucked my head in, and rolled with an ecstatic grunt, followed by a cheer and a happy dance, and several ours of tumbling side-by-side.
Our bodies are capable of SO much more than we think they are.
And so are our hearts, minds, and spirits!
MY BOOK IS HERE! MY BOOK IS HERE! OMGYAY!!!
*runs, slips, and slides to the door