The blessings of getting fatter, achy, and older
The blessings of getting fatter, achy, and older…
This is Morgana Rae of Financial Alchemy and Charmed Life Coaching, and I just did a 90-minute telesummit as a guest expert for Carolyn A. Brent’s book launch for Deep Beauty, which goes available tomorrow, May 8, 2019, so be sure to get it. It’s really worth getting.
So, here’s the thing. For some reason, I thought it was going to be on camera, so I went through all the mishigas of putting on makeup only to discover the whole thing was on phone, and who am I to waste a good face of makeup? So I decided to do a Facebook Live before I wash it all off.
This is what’s been on my mind big time for the last year that I haven’t really been talking about professionally because it’s sort of outside my niche, and yet, it’s… Is anything really? Actually, this has been going on for a couple of years. I am at that stage of life over 50 where I’m facing a lot of end-of-life issues. There’s like a card that you get when you’re 50 that nobody tells you about. Not the AARP, but you really should get that. It’s like this imaginary card that says, “Welcome 50, and now things start to fall apart, and the things that you never thought were going to happen to your body start to happen to your body. Oh, by the way, we start killing family members that you love.”
I’ve lost my grandmother. My dad is… nearing the end of his life. Grandpa, he now has just lost the great love of his life. There is a sense of mortality that I’m getting that I didn’t have before, even though I almost died when I was younger. The aches, this frozen shoulder, holy… Actually, technically, it’s not a frozen shoulder. It’s bursitis, and arthritis, and whatever. It just hurts. My hands are weaker. I wear glasses. I have a hearing aid sometimes when I remember to put it in, and health, which when we’re young we take for granted, becomes a really, really high priority, and I have to say I love it. I really love, by necessity, healing my relationship with my body.
It’s really ironic that it takes things falling apart to really, really appreciate what you’ve got and to see just how important it is. I had an eating disorder when I was young. My mother told me when I was seven years old that I would be easier to love if I was thinner. I think that she said that with good intentions. Why wouldn’t she? It’s also a really messed up thing to say to an impressionable, socially awkward seven-year-old, and that really kind of set the stage for years of teasing, years of dieting, years of eating disorders. (I haven’t had an eating disorder in decades. Knocking on my wooden table.)
By the way, about eating disorders, those are the most deadly psychiatric disorders bar none. They have the highest death rate. Bulimia, anorexia. It’s all so deeply rooted in self-hatred and pain, and in my experience, just wanting to be lovable and being taught through society and wherever we get it that we aren’t because of our bodies, and that affects women more than men.
I met this cute guy back in 2012. Technically, August 11th, 2012. (Devin, if you’re watching and you just want a reminder.) Over the course of our years together, he put weight on me. (We agree: he put the weight on me.) I met a guy who has never met a stick of butter that he didn’t love, and you know how guys are. He can go, “Oh, I think I’m going to quit sugar this week,” and he drops 30 pounds because he’s a guy. Yeah, and he loves sugar.
After all these years of maintaining a healthy weight without going over the deep end with eating disorders and bulimia, all that safe hatred, I gained weight–like a lot of weight–and I’m like noticing, “Oh, my face looks so good when I was fatter, when I was shooting these videos.” Now, it’s looking a little different so…
Okay, so here was the wonderful thing about getting older, dating a guy who was fattening me up for whatever nefarious purpose, and then marrying me and loving me even at my highest weight without ever making me feel fat shamed or less beautiful. Although I was uncomfortable at the higher weight, I got to discover that mom was wrong, that we are lovable even fatter.
There are 7 billion human beings. There’s no shortage of men and women who like full size, so I just needed to experience that for myself, and then seeing people get sick, the Alzheimer’s, the breast cancer in my family, the diabetes in my family, and my own blood sugar going sky high, my cholesterol going sky high, heart disease in my family, I started to get scared because, here’s the kicker, I’m really happy. I LOVE my life! I love my husband. I love my business. I love where I live. I love my life.
Now, I wanted to lose weight not out of the desire to kill myself or not out of some part of me that found myself unacceptable. It wasn’t like the death wish of the past. It was like I want to live.
I was not willing to hurt myself to lose weight. I wasn’t willing to punish myself. I wasn’t willing to suffer, but I was feeling tired. I was getting this thing called “brain fog,” which is another one of those surprise gifts that hits women at middle age that nobody told me about, except once you get it, you know what it is.
Because I’m really deeply committed to my life as a fat-shame-free zone, my life is a self-punishment, self-hatred, self-torture-free zone, not interested… I have already filled my quota this lifetime. I was not going to make myself bad, and I wasn’t going to hurt myself, and I wasn’t even going to do anything that I don’t enjoy, so I started really, really gently, this journey to embrace a healthy life, and I started… I kid you not. I started going outside once a day and putting my bare feet on the ground.
There’s this thing called “grounding.” It’s supposed to be really good for you. Something about the vibrations and whatever of real earth, rock, grass that we don’t get because of the rubber on our soles and wearing shoes, and we’re indoors all the time. We’re on sidewalks. It could be complete bullshit. I don’t care. I did it anyway, and that’s where I started.
Then, we move this grounding to the beach where I got to walk in the sand and the water, and then when it got warm, I started swimming a little bit. By the way, swimming is fun especially if it’s in ocean water. It’s much less boring and you aren’t hitting your head against a wall. You can look at things while you swim by, and the breathing just puts you in a meditation because if you don’t breathe, you die. Really good incentive for mindful breathing. Breathe in, out, and so I did that, and I found that my shoulder hurt a little bit less, and I kept doing that until it got too cold. When it got too cold to swim in the ocean, which is a really annoying thing about our Pacific Ocean up here, I started taking the free yoga classes… badly, like soooo badly.
By the way, there is nothing more liberating and wonderful than being bad in public and not caring. I felt my contribution to society was making everybody else feel better about their yoga practice because I sucked, and I was weak, and I had no flexibility, and I just did a lot of child poses, but I made it easy on myself enough that I kept going back.
Eventually, if you keep going back, no matter how much you slack off, you’re going to get better, and you’re going to get stronger, and you’re going to get more flexible, and despite yourself, you’re actually going to get good.
Same thing with the ballroom dancing classes. Horrible. So bad at West Coast Swing. I am like this alpha lady all day, and I’m supposed to follow somebody who doesn’t know how to dance? What? A year later, Devin and I are in the advanced class, being invited to perform professionally. Whoa! So like any reasonable person, I decided we need to start taking tango classes so we can be really bad at something again.
Again, if you have not learned to love being really bad at something in public, you are missing out on one of life’s greatest joys: not caring. I don’t know if that is even physically possible when you’re a teenager, but when you’re over 50, that is like a life skill that comes and stays. It’s awesome.
Oh, one of the benefits of getting fatter was going to the beach in a bathing suit and no longer caring what I looked like. This is so counter-intuitive, but when I was thinner, I was more concerned about being cute, and I was objectifying myself more as a sex object. There’s something actually really wonderful about deciding, “Oh, I’m not a sex object anymore, so I don’t have to look good for anybody because my husband likes me the way I am.”
By the way, that’s available to you whether you’re single or not. Whatever your body is, human beings are self-absorbed. They really don’t care what you look like, and not being the target of that kind of creepy male gaze is awesome, so yay for that. One of the blessings of getting fatter, and finding that I’m lovable, is finding that I’m not here to fulfill strangers’ expectations.
Let’s see. We talked about grounding, swimming, yoga, dancing, and then there was the food thing. I am a really bad dieter. For somebody who had an eating disorder, you would think that I had figured that part out, but I… Even as an anorexic, I kind of sucked at that. I was skinny and crazy enough when I was a ballerina. I thought my normal ideal weight was 90… between 89 to 92 pounds. Terrifying.
By the way, one of the great things about having gained the weight is that my aesthetics have shifted to really like plump and healthy more than skinny and emaciated. Still I’ve never been good at actually losing weight intentionally. Really good at wanting to die, and kill myself, and abuse my body. Not very good at losing the damn fucking weight. I had to drop an F bomb somewhere. I apologize. It would have been… Is anybody still watching this? Can you like give me a like, or a love, or something just to let me know you’re here?
I hope it’s still recording. I found a weight loss program that wasn’t punishing or hard, and by the way, that’s really, really, really important because I tried what all my friends were doing. Like when we get rid of all the fat from your diet or you get rid of all the carbs from your diet, and I just wasn’t seeing any weight coming off, and I wasn’t sticking to it, and I didn’t like things that hurt your body because they’re kind of crazy. They’re kind of eating disorder-ish.
I found something that was really moderate, and I did stick to it, and I had a coach. Orna Walters helped me with it, and I lost all the weight that my husband put on me–ha, ha–but none of it came from punishing.
By the way, if I went off the program, I didn’t beat myself up. Instead, I learned to really praise myself and acknowledge myself for what I did do. When I do yoga, I tell my body all the time how much I love her, how grateful I am to her, how proud of her I am. I appreciate how happy she is to be used.
This is my self-love, weight loss, health plan. I don’t even know what to call it. It just became my highest priority, like higher than even making money. Even way higher than making money over the last year. It’s really been health because there is no wealth without health. Not only is sickness insanely expensive, especially in the United States, it can kill you literally just by destroying you financially.
What is the point of having a lot of money if you’re sick and in pain, and you can’t enjoy your life? We only have one body. That’s it. You only get this one body in this lifetime, so you must love what you have. You must make peace with your body. You must make friends with your body. You must ask her what she wants and what she needs. Use her. Don’t waste her. I say her because we women, we fight with our bodies so much because we’re taught from our first Disney princess movie that our worth as human beings is tied to our appearance, our cartoon-like appearance that we can never actually be.
We learn that, and we internalize that, and that affects our success, and our self-worth, and how much money we make. There is a lot of fat shaming and hatred. Doctors do not diagnose and treat fat patients correctly. People will not hire or pay fat people as much. I think that that is so sick and wrong, and I’m against that, so I also want to say that… I’m talking about weight loss. I am not talking about fat shaming. I am talking about loving yourself.
I lost the weight because for my health. That was something I wanted to do, but not enough to re-trigger an eating disorder. I would rather be fat and happy then go down that hate-myself rabbit hole ever, ever again. It’s far more dangerous than being an extra 20 pounds overweight, and at the same time, I want to avoid a host of diseases so this was my experiment that I did not even expect to succeed in, but I’m actually really proud and excited that I did.
It’s fun walking around in size two jeans. Weird. Mind-blown. After very recently being overweight literally according the BMI measurements. How do I wrap this up? Getting older is achier. You probably are going to gain weight. You’re going to lose stuff that you used to have and people, and I have to say I love being older. This is the happiest time in my life.
The self-acceptance that comes, I think, with just time and experience on the planet. Better relationships because grown-ups make better relationship partners. Yay.
I was so inspired by this asshole in France who said that he couldn’t even be interested in a woman under 50—and he’s in his 50s. This made me so happy to be over 50 because I suffered under dealing with those creeps in my teens, in my 20’s, in my 30’s way too much. We don’t want the attention or interest of men who only look at us as sex objects and not human beings. So yay. So nice to be an angry perimenopausal middle-aged lady with fewer Fs to give.
If you have any questions or comments, chime in. I’m happy to see you here. I just really wanted to give a little bit of time and attention to our relationship with our bodies, especially women, but not just women. Our relationship with our bodies are our relationship with ourselves. We cannot hate our body and love ourselves. It can’t happen, so love yourself. Love your body. You’ll have better sex, you’ll make more money, you’ll get sick less, and you’ll be happier. What’s not to love about that? I’m going to end there.
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