Rhynos, Unicorns and all of us who are inbetween

True, isn’t it?

*****

On the one hand, I feel that food is to be enjoyed. For a large portion of the time, I think we should eat well. Eat whole foods, eat real foods, limit chemicals and boxes in your pantry. Eat fresh meat, if you eat meat, and eat whole grains, if you eat grains. But when you want some chocolate cake or Tostitos (my personal indulgence), go ahead. You have to enjoy life and enjoying food is a big part of life.

Everyone is different. And if we are all amazingly unique in a snowflake kind-of way, who in the world are we to do anything other than celebrate who we are? Our brains, our bodies, they all function differently and create different things. We all perform differently, and to different ends. And that’s ok. No! That’s beautiful.

My friends who are stay at home moms? I’m proud of them. Because they are doing an incredibly difficult job. It’s tiresome and dirty and not recognized as what it truly is. Other people who have done it may cluck sympathetically about the 10 months they spent home on maternity leave, but they don’t really understand the solitude and mind-numbing fatigue that comes with being the parent at home with your kids.

My friends who are working moms? I’m proud of them. Because they are doing an incredibly difficult job. It’s tiresome and never-ending. There are no breaks, there is no fairy who takes care of things at home while you work. You work and then you get home and have a few hours to fit in everything that needs to be done. Weekends aren’t weekends, but filled with chauffeuring kids around and laundry (my god, the laundry) and cleaning and probably some overtime hours. Other people who dabbled in it may remember the exhaustion, but they don’t really understand the mind-numbing fatigue that comes with being a two-income family.

My friends who aren’t moms? I’m proud of them. Because they are doing an incredibly difficult job. It’s tiresome to not fit into society’s accepted norm of what you should be by age ‘X’. It’s tiresome to be a single woman when most of your friends have settled down and have kids. It’s tiresome to dip into the shallow dating pool again and again as a woman in your 30’s. It’s tiresome to be a childless couple, surrounded, bombarded by images of babies and pregnant celebrities and a society full of people who, for some reason, feel it’s their right to question you about your lack of children, like you are somehow flawed or weird because you don’t have kids. Other people who remember being single 10 years ago may remember faintly a couple one-night stands but they don’t really understand. People who have never struggled with infertility may tell you about the six months it took them to get pregnant, but they don’t really understand.

I can be proud of every woman I know (easily!). I can accept their bodies and their choices – hell, I can even accept their dirty dishes – without once casting judgement on them because they don’t fit into any one mold.

*****

I have spent the past two days focusing on every single bump and lump and what was “wrong” with my body. I have mentally compared myself to other women, who aside from the blatantly obvious fact that they have a completely different body shape than me, also have not had children and aren’t runners. Steve took some pictures of me while I ran, and proudly showed them to me.

They’re horrible, I thought, I look so fat.

Steve looked at me, astounded. How can you say that? he exclaimed, How can you *see* that? You look lean and fit and strong!

I looked and I looked but I couldn’t see it. Because my legs aren’t skinny. Because my running tights squeeze my stomach. Because, because, because…

Why is it so hard for us to accept ourselves as we are? Surely, it’s not just me that struggles with this colossal feeling of “not enough”. Is it the Beauty Myth? This fabricated ideal holding us down, creating an internal struggle that ultimately renders us powerless? It makes sense to me that it could be the answer and then I’m left even more frustrated with myself for playing into this kind of trap.

I need to do something that makes me feel sexy, I told Steve.

But what?

Is this just another quest for an outside source to fix the problem? Those ultimately leave me disappointed. Maybe self-acceptance is the best way to feel sexy.

*****

I smiled to myself when I saw that picture. It’s what I’ve been doing to myself for that past seventeen years two days. Doesn’t matter how far or fast that rhyno runs, she ain’t ever gonna be a unicorn. She’s going to end up wasting time being disappointed that she’s not something that she can never be. And then I realized that unicorns don’t even exist. Then I took a deep breath and closed my eyes and thought to myself that there’s no point in lamenting what I’m not – I’ll never be a unicorn – but if I can just stay focused on what I am, then…

Well, I don’t know what. But I know that accepting the fabrication of a unicorn’s existence (even when it’s splayed all over Facebook in the form of bikini-clad women) just may be the first step. Now if only I can do it and really make myself believe it.

One Comment on “Rhynos, Unicorns and all of us who are inbetween

  1. First, I love that cartoon of the rhino and the unicorn, so true. And I loved your post more than I can tell you. It hit home at so many points and thank you for writing about infertility and it not being six months to try. You are fabulous and you look amazing in the running photo Steve took of you. xoxo

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