Monday, June 11, 2012

Armed for bare

No - I didn't make an ignorant mistake on the spelling of "bear" in my title.  I'm here to talk arms - not weapons/arms, but upper extremity/arms.  You know the ones - that women of a certain age, and Heaven forbid SIZE, often find to be the bane of their existences.  Especially as the average air temperature begins its annual ascent into the nether realms of the thermometer.

The idea of bare arms causes more than just minor consternation for this blogger.  I know I'm not alone in this, but the level of my bare arm neurosis likely puts me far out from under the bell-shaped curve.  For the last few years, my upper arms have gotten softer and droopier - I hate the term bat wings, but.... yeah.  It fits.

Now I've seen relatively thin women who have that loose skin under their uppers and it's no big deal (to me), but for someone who is about 40-50 pounds overweight, (and who seems to pack on weight in the most obtuse places) the loose hanging skin is icky.  I don't particularly notice it on others, nor do I judge it in any way, but on myself, it seems like I can literally feel it from the inside.  As long as I'm wearing a top with 3/4 length sleeves or at least all the way to the elbow, I'm unaware of these extra bundles I'm carrying.  But the minute I put on a mid-upper arm length sleeve or shorter (translate:  comfortable), I feel totally uncomfortable and hyper-visible in my fatness.

For these last few years, I've firmly (or flaccidly) refused to wear any shirt that didn't have sleeves to the elbow or below.  I recall being at my youngest son's college graduation last year, sitting out in the beautiful quad in 90 degree humidity, with my 3/4 length top on.  It looked great with my capris, until about 10 minutes in when I was so sweaty that the shirt was damp.  And I was miserably hot.

So here we are again with another heat wave bearing down, and I'm back in the hell of hating some part of myself.  Well guess what?  I'm tired of it.  I'm on a mission to de-sleeve myself (or at least shorter-sleeve) when  it's hot.  I'm tired of looking for clothes and not even considering anything that isn't 3/4 length sleeved.  I'm tired of looking in the mirror and seeing my arms as they are and honestly believing that someone who weighs 100 pounds more than I do looks better than I do because their arms aren't as bad as mine.  I'm tired of it all, and I'm earnestly trying to find self acceptance where I am now, along with the sincere desire to get to a leaner or firmer place.  But at age 58, there's a limit to how firm I'm ever going to get again.  Accept and find peace or hate myself and find endless misery that I keep bottled up inside.

I'm done.  Or I'm trying to be done - with all that body dysmorphia.  Because I know that while I'm overweight, I'm fortunate to be 5'9", which helps a little.  I currently wear size 1x or 16s.  Occasionally an 18 depending on the manufacturer and style.  Yes these are big sizes, but they are numbers.  They don't reflect in anyway who I am, how I treat people, if I'm worthy of love - or anything else other than I could stand to lose some weight.  No one else ever condemns me or judges me for my body (that I'm aware of) - and it's simply time for me to stop.  Despite my weight(and my upper arm), I can walk 5 miles pretty easily;  I have a physically challenging (at times) job that I manage without issue, and generally I get around very well and with plenty of energy.  I'm eternally grateful for this and I intend to continue to strive to get into better shape.  But I'm OKAY just as I am.

This has been on my mind for the last few weeks, but what prompted me to write about this morning is that I noticed 3 different women at work this morning in a way I hadn't before.  All 3 are attractive, neatly groomed and well dressed, and all probably about the same level of overweight as I am.  And All 3 happen to be wearing sleeveless tops (one a dress), and they all have big arms.  BIG arms.  And they look fine.  Just people among people.

That's what I want to be.  I already am that, but I have to take the intellectually certainty and allow it into my heart so that I can move that much closer to joining the human race and just being another bozo on the bus; another grain of sand of the beautiful beach.  This is the biggest inside job ahead of me, but I'm determined to bring that knowledge of my okay-ness into my essence.  And I'll be doing lots of wall push-ups while I'm working on it!

19 comments:

  1. Strip of the sleeves! I'll never have Michelle Obama's arms but I refuse to be overheated ;)

    LOVE this post from the paragraph that starts "I'm Done" to the end. Love it. And sincerely hope that you are on a path to this sort of freedom!!

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  2. I hear ya on the sleeveless issue...I have the same deal with my upper arms, and while I try to wear some sort of sleeve when I'm in public, at home, eventually, I resort to sleeveless tops. If I can just get a little bit of tan on my upper arms, I find that I don't feel so self-conscious about them - of course, that would entail going sleeveless OUTSIDE for that to happen, so there's the conundrum!

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  3. I have so many sleeveless nice tops just hanging in my closet that never see the light of day. There they hang, summer after summer. (sigh)

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  4. I hate my arms too. My whole family, even the skinny ones, have large arms. I've started wearing sleeveless for exercise only. Self tanning lotion helps a little. I have a 90lb. friend who breaks into a rash if she wears sleeveless it makes her so nervous. Everyone has issues and good for you for ditching the sleeves!! (which are really hard to find anyway!)

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  5. You wear the same size that I do, Leslie, and I applaud your move to ditch the body dysmorphia! My upper arms are large, but I'm tired of wearing jackets, sleeves, and sweaters in the heat of summer as camouflage. It is what it is, and we're working on it!

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  6. Hooray for showing off your arms!! While I am not the biggest fan of my arms either, when I lost 70 pounds lots of stretch marks became apparent - and you know what? I don't care who sees them!

    Enjoy your day Leslie!!

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  7. Oh my, I refuse to wear shorts or sleeveless tops but I will short sleeved LOL. I just don't like to see women my age in shorts, good figures or not ( am 64) and as for the sleeveless, I don't like that look on MYSELF! Good for you!

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  8. I am not crazy about my arms, but I like overheating even less. Temps around here are over 100º lately, I'm not wearing long sleeves or a sweater because some jerk feels so insecure about him/herself that he/she needs to bring me down!

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  10. I don't exactly remember where I was along this journey that I decided to stop caring about my arms, but it wasn't when they were perfect (not that they've EVER been perfect). I think it was partly a realization that so many other women with imperfect arms were baring theirs so confidently... take a deeeeeeep breath and go for it!

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  11. I wish I were just 5'6" tall as that would be three inches more than I am and I could eat more. :) Of course, I'm shrinking instead of getting taller. Sigh.

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  12. By like you I really don't like my flabby arms so I am working on them. Even so I still do wear sleeveless tops. I also happen to have very white no tan what so ever skin and I decided years ago not to let that stop me from showing off my legs or arms! I really don't think other people care as much about how I look as I do. They are too busy worrying about how they themselves look!

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  13. I've had more than one customer in my store who wanted sleeves. Seems to increase with age, not just weight.

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  14. I was glad to see the note about wall pushups, because upper body resistance work is exactly what I was going to suggest, for any woman of any size. There are lots of good free weight exercises on utube. Use heavier weights for things like biceps and triceps. Use light weights for front raises, side raises, anything involving shoulders. Triceps work batwing

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  15. To be very honest, I didn't wear sleeveless until last summer. It wasn't as much a matter of weight as it was tone. I wore shirts that had at least a little sleeve or cap in prior summers. I am UBBER careful that all my sleeveless tops and dresses have a close fitting underarm hole. My big excess skin area is under my arm pit on my side. If you look at the shirtless men on biggest loser, you will see exactly where I mean.

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  16. I LOVE what karen said. deep breath, go for it and let me know if I can ever help :)

    MizFit

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  17. I like this post, just like it a lot. Wear whatever you want, Leslie. Just be you, exactly how You want to be.

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  18. Just checking in on you!

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  19. Catching up on blogs post-vacation. I certainly can relate to the arms issue. 57 years and 130+-pound weight loss do not make for pretty upper arms. No amount of toning attempts will make these jiggles and dimples go away. The rest of me is pretty saggy also, but it's funny how arms seem to bother me the most. Perhaps it's because fashion dictates that we should show that bit of skin. But dang it's hot here in the desert!

    I'm looking forward to the day (maybe when I'm 70?) that my arms are free to fly their flags in public.

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