Monday, June 1, 2009

An Upload of Shame

Fucking Facebook Mobile Uploads!

Yesterday I logged into Facebook and noticed a picture of myself on someone else's photo album. Normally, I wouldn't have a problem with this, depending on the current condition of my hair and complexion. However, this particular picture captured me on the beach. Hooping. In a swimsuit. Surrounded by gorgeous, nubile hoopgirls half my age and more than half my size.

Fucking Facebook Mobile Uploads.

As the picture reveals, I was the antithesis of the sexy hoopgirl. Instead, I looked like a defensive lineman from my local high school football team. I was a huge, uncoordinated linebacker in a sea of beautiful tight ends. And thanks to one of the party's attendees, her 7000 kazillion friends -- and all of their friends and their friends' friends -- get to see me that way too.

Knowing that this picture exists in our social public domain was upsetting to me at first. Somehow it felt like a violation. It's one thing to upload pics of someone gussied up, warmly smiling, blowing smooches, or holding up a wine glass for the camera; it's quite another to be surreptitiously captured whilst sweating and shimmying nearly naked. Having my candid beach pic taken was only slightly better than getting photographed immediately after having an early-morning throw-up session from a night of spirited frivolity.

Why does my hoop photo bother me so much? Because it irks me that my body isn't moving or looking like it used to. I admit it; I fell off the wagon. With all of the book activities that are going on in my world, I allowed my Mind and Spirit to move into center stage with my Body lagging far behind. I hadn't picked up the hoop in over a month, and my expanding waistline can attest to it. Once one falls off the exercise wagon, it is very difficult to get back on it. We keep telling ourselves that tomorrow we'll start up again, but tomorrow never comes. Days turn into weeks, and pretty soon we are wearing our fat pants again.

I have known that I wanted to start hooping again, but the prospect of it was so daunting. The negative self-talk was incessant. "It will hurt! I will look ridiculous! I'm too fat! I wish I were better at it! I will be so sore afterward! I don't have the time!" Excuse after excuse was readily available to keep me from my beautiful circle of freedom and joy.

Until this weekend.

My good friend and sister hooper was having a going away party. This young woman is literally one with her hoop, and she chose to have her Bon Voyage party on the sands of Lido Beach just so hooping could be a part of the festivities. I told her how afraid I was to bring my own hoop for fear of unleashing all of my fears. She wisely reiterated advice I had given to her dozens of times before -- If it scares the shit out of you, then you should absolutely do it. If hooping on the beach with women smaller and better than me scared the shit out of me, then I had better jump into the fire and see what juicy gifts are meant to be discovered.

At the party itself, I found the allure of playing with the hoop on wind-swept sands far more powerful than my nagging, self-doubt. Hooping is simply too much fun to do, and I wouldn't be able to sit and watch others do it without having some of it myself. I forgot I wasn't as good, as pretty, or as tight as everyone else was. The hoop and I had rediscovered each other! I tapped into the flow of energy encircling me, practiced tricks I hadn't ever managed, and otherwise basked in the bliss of the hoop. All was well once again!

Until I saw those fucking Facebook mobile uploads.

Those pictures were completely devoid of the joyful energy I felt on the sands of Lido. Instead, it only reminded me of the reasons why I didn't want to do it in the first place -- backfat rolls, ginormous arms, and tree-trunk thighs, to name a few. It showed my insecurities in awful, wretched technicolor for everyone to see. Instead of looking at the pictures and gleefully shouting, "Hell yeah! I'm an almost forty-year old hooping on the beach with chicks in their 20s! Fuckin' A!", I morosely muttered, "Oh my God! Look at how horrible and huge I look! How could I have done that?! Dear Lord, I hope no one recognizes me! At least that @#$%^ who took the picture didn't tag me!"

How utterly, utterly sad.

As predicted, I wallowed in self-judgment for hours afterward. I looked at my body with hatred, grabbing a handful of extra poundage and wishing it could magically disappear with the iron grasp of my own shame. I cursed myself for spending all of that time in front of MacDaddy instead of on the elliptical. Buttugly was the word that danced around my head over and over.

Blessedly, through meditation and reflection, I stepped out of my self-flagellating funk and eventually let my juju reemerge. I realized that my experience on the beach was the first step toward getting back in the groove! The hard part was over; I had picked up the hoop again. It was time to ignore my whiny, "I'm-not-good-enough" voice of smallness and realize that I am powerful and amazing and courageous and beautiful and ballsy and a helluva good hooper. In celebration, my daughter Emma and I spent the next several hours hooping in the backyard while I practiced those arm lifts I started on Lido Beach.

Today, I'm gonna do it again.

Thanks, Facebook, for your fucking mobile uploads. It's just the kick I needed to get me back into my body.


For your consideration and/or comment:

Has a picture ever prompted you to make a change in your life?


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