the truth about beauty

Because I am still in denial about being sick, I keep attempting to run. And then, like clockwork, my clearly-still-too-sick-body delivers a perfectly placed bitch-slap square across my face, announcing I’m a dumb-ass.

In the days that follow said bitch-slap, I retreat, with my tail between my legs, to lower impact forms of exercise.

One resource I’ve been using to switch-up my routine lately is a website, called Fitness Blender, which offers a plethora of full-length (free) workout videos, and options for all levels of physical fitness.

Because it’s free though, you are often subjected to advertisements, in the form of videos, that play before the workout kicks in. I typically skip the videos after the required 10 second viewing period, but the one that played a few days ago caught my attention so I let it play right through.

This is the video. Please have a look. It’s short (less than 4 minutes). And if you don’t watch it, the rest of this post will make no sense to you. So watch it. Now. Please.

Now I know I’m a total sap, crying at the drop of a dime, but when the ladies reacted to the truth at around the 3:20 mark, tears were pooling up in my eyeballs.

And I’m not even sure why I was so emotional.

Was it because I was so touched that the women discovered their beauty by the end of the video?

Or was it because I was sad that it took a placebo ‘beauty patch’ to help these beautiful women feel beautiful?

I know it makes me really sad that we live in a society that tells us that unless we conform to the exact beauty standard served up by fashion magazines, that we aren’t good enough. That we are not beautiful.

Look at the women in this video. That any of them felt unattractive for even a moment just blows me away.

I found myself ruminating on the role society plays versus how much individual responsibility we need to take on ourselves for our own positive (or negative) self-image.

And in a stroke of perfect synchronicity, I came across a powerful post by Rarasaur, called, I have a perfect body, yes I do. Rara breathes rarified air, it seems, in that she believes she (and all of us) possess perfect bodies because… well, I don’t want to ruin it! Click on the link to her post and read her beautiful words for yourself. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Reading her post left me with a lingering question: How many of us truly believe we are perfect just as we are?

I know I don’t.

That doesn’t mean I don’t feel beautiful. I do. Often.

But other times I don’t. And that’s okay, I think.

I’m getting better at seeing my body’s beauty.

  • I have powerful legs that can carry me to the tops of tall mountains. And that no longer chafe at the inner thighs. YES!
  • I have strong arms that can bear heavy weights, but can also deliver the warmest nurturing hugs.
  • I have healthy lungs that can expand and support me as I run greater distances than I ever dreamed possible.
  • I have a middle section, which while still squishy, has shrunken, tightened and become stronger. This new core strength of mine has banished years of lower back pain and improved my quality of life immensely.
  • I have lines on my face that expose themselves when I smile: fine ones around my smiling eyes; more prominent ones around my upturned lips. This means I’ve lived a happy, joyous life. And I haven’t injected anything into my face to erase evidence of this happy life. 🙂

I am 47 years old. I am flawed. But I feel beautiful. Most days.

Beauty quote

Keep moving,

xoxo nancy

p.s. I wanted to add in a link to another post that had a real [positive] impact on me. The first time I met Laurel (who you may remember for the monthly Bad-Ass round-up reports at Eat Less Sugar: You’re Sweet Enough) she was blogging over at another (now dormant) blog, Drops of Magic. She wrote a post on turning 51, which was so beautiful and empowering I wanted to share it with you all.

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105 thoughts on “the truth about beauty

  1. WOW! Well, I haven’t felt or looked at all beautiful while infected with the virus from hell, (maybe I looked beautiful as I fainted in the bathroom, not sure) but I totally get it! I have seen this video and thought it was amazing.

    You have to be so careful with these studies that the subjects don’t end up more upset and with psychological effects of being in the study and finding out it was a placebo. This was well done, though and it made it so you had to feel better after the two weeks! 🙂 So sadly true that we all beat ourselves up day after day. Great post, Nancy! 🙂

    • Maria, I’m confident that you looked both beautiful and incredibly graceful as you fainted onto the bathroom floor. 🙂

      Speaking of which, are you feeling any better yet??

      Wishing you a settled and pain-free stomach soon!

  2. What an incredible video, Nancy. I was also really touched by the fact that such beautiful women really didn’t see themselves as worthy of confidence in themselves, or even in their decision-making. Wow! But it shouldn’t surprise me. We know the messages that come at us day in and day out, and that takes a toll on even those of us who have a lot of support. I’m also going to check out the Fitness Blender. I think I would enjoy that. I hope you feel fully improved and back to your healthy self soon, Nancy. Maybe you need a little rest? The mother/grandmother part of me wants to see you sit it out for a little while. LOL!

    • Debra, I would be kicking someone else’s butt for even thinking about running with rattling lungs, so no need to apologize for your motherly instincts. I totally get it!

      The originally planned 10k race is tomorrow – and although I know I *could* run it, I recognize that I shouldn’t because I will do lots more damage and set myself back another couple of weeks in terms of full recovery.

      I’m making the adult decision to honour my body, let it heal, and then – when I’m ready, see if I can find another race. If I can’t – hey – it’s not the end of the world. (see, I *can* learn! :-))

      Let me know what you think of Fitness Blender! I did a great Tabata-style (but low-impact) workout, focused on lower body, yesterday – it was a really great low-impact sweat!

  3. Such a lovely post, Nancy, such an important message – and a terrific experiment to have women learn from. Thank you for taking the time to address another necessary issue for all of us (and the extra links are a bonus!).
    Cheers to you for all your efforts to help spread some valuable insight.

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