This is something I've been thinking about lately.
Old & Sexy?
This is a subject that I've been grappling with. Ever since I had kids I've felt... well, old. I know I'm not really *that* old, but something has changed.
A big part of what I realized was going on is that I am mourning my maidenhood... our culture, our society worships being thin... but it also worships youth.
The truth is that I actually thought I was immune to the media messaging. I thought I was "above" worrying about how I looked. But the truth was that I was young, and I was on the lean side naturally. My struggles with weight were short lived, as I was forced to come to terms with my emotional eating a young age.
The truth is that I was not immune AT ALL. In fact, a lot of the messaging was deeply ingrained, and as I near 40, I come face to face with my wrinkles, my squishy, jiggly body (not youthful and taut), and it's really difficult.
What Women Are Feeling As They Reach 40
Sadly, I'm not alone. It feels very lonely to feel sad that you don't meet media's messaging about who you should be. But it's not lonely. In fact it's pretty damn highly populated over here. I speak to woman after woman who deals with these issues, whether it's weight or age or both.
Personally, I have a really high level of awareness around these emotions and thoughts, and I manage them pretty well. And it's still a work in progress! It HAS to be - we are constantly exposed to bullshit in the media that tries to tell us what we need to look like!
I work with some of the most amazing women. They are ambitious, manage a full and rich life, and I can tell you many of their amazing achievements... and I can also unfortunately tell you of how they struggle.
Let me share what some of these awesome woman have told me...
I’ve been struggling since my second child... I obsess about how my body looks... not necessarily with my weight...if I lose some weight, I think I’ll feel better... I need a positive outlook. I’m not skinny. I always had a belly... I never felt like I needed to lose weight, but always thought, "A few pounds less and I’d look better and feel better."
The good news is that P.L. also had an amazing sense of gratitude! This was a saving grace that we focused on as her personal strength!
P.L. had a humorous approach to making sure her mindset was top notch:
I don't know if it's feasible; I need mental acceptance, if I can see myself as attractive at size 14, I’ll take it! What's more feasible? Get more in my head and change my outlook... or lose the weight?
With this in mind, she prioritized her goals of body movement and made sure she built up her confidence with daily movement alongside a personal affirmation practice!
We Feel Invisible
Here's one that is so often repeated in nearly the exact same sentiment...
I’m invisible, nobody sees me anymore.
I think almost any woman approach 40 and definitely in her 50s or 60s or beyond has felt this. This is the result of a three fold situation!
1) Men from ages 15-75 pay attention to 25 year old women at disproportionate rates. Not much we can do about that, but they do notice women of all ages, I promise.
I had about a year when I was obsessed with my wrinkles!!! But after my experiment with botox, I was literally EXCITED to get my wrinkles back!!! Haha!
My client P.L. said the same thing:
It's the youth obsession. I would never consider body enhancement... but now I see myself considering it!!!!! Thinking it!!!!
Luckily she knew it was her environment talking and not her real self. She, like me and many of my clients, used mindset work to retrain her brain out of these self harming thoughts and think positive thoughts about earning her wrinkles instead!
2) We stop going putting ourselves out into the world in a way that attracts attention. We aren't dressing the same, we aren't going to the same places, and most of all we aren't putting our energy out there in that way. We're busy, and probably tired. The answer here is deep self care and some time being a bit naughty with fun girlfriends!
E.D. identified this issue for herself:
I have a hard time to carve out time for myself. I don't have much me time... I’m always running out of time; food is the last thing I put on my schedule... water, coffee, toast, I used to eat smoothies in the morning... I don't have time to make it. I don't have time... I need to schedule ten minute to eat something healthy.
What was her answer? This is where my logistical approach to meal planning and preparation (sometimes I call them pre-decisions) was the way to save the day. She treated every day like a work day and was able to prepare her food in advance and start making these changes!
3) We lose our confidence. This is a result of f*cked up societal messaging, but we CAN overcome it, just like P.L. did!!!
I have felt this, and so has A.Y. She said:
I want validation with myself! I want to be happy. It's hard. How I feel strong at work, in my relationship, in my sex life... right now it's not happening...
She really called it out! When we feel bad about ourselves it affects EVERYTHING in our lives! And when we can boost ourselves up into a place of confidence, it also affects everything in our lives... in a good way! Even our problems become more manageable and we are able to act from a place of confidence in crisis.
How Our Inner Goddess Can Help Us
I like to look at our lives through the lens of the inner goddess. In many stories, there is one character (or sometimes several characters) who represent the arc of a woman's life: Baby, child, maiden, mother, grandmother, crone. Most of our adult life happens as maiden, mother, and grandmother.
But unfortunately our media tells us that the only one of those worth celebrating is the maiden. So of course it's a bitter pill to swallow when we leave that phase of our life behind. And it's ok to mourn the loss of your maiden (which happens more with age than actual motherhood, though both can trigger it). But it's not ok to stay in mourning of this transition.
And the truth is that, just like the stories, we actually have all of those inside of us all of our life, it's just that we don't have access to them. But once you've lived the various parts, you can actually tap into them easier. I'll be honest, it's swimming upstream because of how the media portrays women. But it's time.
It's time to embrace the mother and the grandmother. It's time to allow for love, sensuality, and yes even sexuality to belong to a woman at any age! It's time to celebrate our wisdom and our wrinkles as hard earned badges that we can and should be proud of!
Is old the new sexy? I don't know, but it definitely should be!
Do you want some personalized help to channel your inner goddess for balance and wellbeing? Sign up for Small Steps, Big Magic!