Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The question I'm asked the most: "What's your secret?"

Lately it seems I keep hearing the same question over & over.  "What's your secret?" People will whisper that question to me as if I'm hiding something from the world or they'll ask someone close to me looking to learn the "real reason" behind my decision to get healthy.  I admit this has shocked me.  Not sure that I ever thought anyone would ask that.  It's as if they're looking for a magic bullet or pill to make it easier. 

The truth is there is no secret.  It's good old fashion hard work.  Nothing glamorous...nothing spectacular...nothing special. We're talking about exercise & healthy eating habits.  I know that's boring & lacks pizazz but it really is a simple as that.  At least it sounds simple.  We all know that the hard part is committing to it & taking those first few steps each and every day.  Deciding to take care of myself & achieve my long time goal of completing the 3 day was simple.  Committing to it was the hard part.  It's what challenges me every day. 

Funny thing is that the physical strain seems so much easier than the mental changes & challenges in this.  I hear people say they're inspired by me or in awe of what I'm accomplishing.  While that's flattering it's not anything special.  It is simply the decision to make a change, to take care of myself, love myself, and give back to a cause so close to my heart.  Yes, I feel powerful & proud each time I meet a new challenge in this journey but it's nothing special.  Fighting cancer is special.  Putting on the brave face necessary to live through treatment is special.  Choosing to live is special. 

So in case you're wondering what my "secret" is to getting healthy, don't.  Instead look inside yourself  & find what makes you want to be better.  Commit to loving yourself enough to treat your body with respect & care.  Set goals that will push you to go just beyond what you think you can reach & reward yourself with healthy choices.  Remind yourself that eating right and exercising isn't punishment, it's how we take care of ourselves & how we build strong bodies/spirits that can take on anything.  And stop looking for "the secret" & instead simply do the work. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Redifining Femininity

I recently met someone who suggested that I could "put a little more effort into being feminine".  This was a first for me.  After all, anyone who meets me in person would tell you I'm incredibly feminine (aka "girlie").  I know this because after the shock of hearing this comment, I began polling my friends...you know those friends who love you enough to tell you the cold hard truth...the ones who love you enough to hurt your feelings if necessary.  This person went on to say that it had nothing to do with my appearance...that it was more about a quality that needed improving.   Sadly, his point beyond this wasn't articulated very well.  So I'm left to believe he was referring to the fall out that comes from being an "all around power chick", that gap that is between traditionally feminine women (after all, he is older & more traditional than me) & feminine women today.  So now I'm wondering, what is femininity?

Here's the Merriam Webster definition:  "the embodiment or conception of a timeless or idealized feminine nature".  Here's the Urban Dictionary definition:  "Of a woman. Traditionally, in most cultures, the expectation for a lady to be nurturing, demure, to care for her family, to look beautiful, and to be submissive to her husband(or girlfriend). But not all women are like that. More than enough women are strong, direct, and independent. What is feminine is what a woman does."  So they too are not talking about looks but rather qualities that equal femininity.  A certain "je ne sais quoi" if you will. 

I believe the women walking in the 3 Day are the perfect definition of femininity.  As we prepare for this life changing event we embrace & challenge who we are as individuals, as women.  We set out daily on a journey to find strength & hope, support & the opportunity to be supportive, encouragement & the responsibility of being the encourager, to find love for ourselves & for others.  We set a new definition of femininity that ironically has been timeless.  It's been there all along.  As women we support, encourage, laugh, love, embrace, drive, educate, & balance ourselves & others. 

We say that today we're standing up to make a change.  Femininity is BOLD just like walking in the 3 Day.  Femininity is INSPIRING just like walking in the 3 Day.  Femininity is CHALLENGING just like walking in the 3 Day.  Femininity is ADVOCATING just like walking in the 3 Day.  Femininity is DEPENDING on someone else when you need to just like walking in the 3 Day.  Femininity is SUPPORTING others just like walking in the 3 Day.  Femininity is BEAUTY just like the faces of those walking in the 3 Day.  Femininity is EDUCATING ourselves & others just like walking in the 3 Day. 

Part of embracing femininity is realizing that others have opinions that aren't equal to ours & respecting them.  It doesn't mean we take those opinions as gospel but that we determine for ourselves how they impact us.  That's what I'm doing with the comments that lead to this post.  I'm grateful that someone helped me pause long enough to examine my femininity.  I like what I see & am even more proud today of my femininity than ever before.