Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Cellulite and the Art of Staying Present

I had a few people react to a mention of cellulite in my last blog, on Gary Speed, when I was writing about a young football player who had called him a coward on Twitter, and then hypothesised a future where things didn’t go according to plan in this young man’s life.

The comment was meant to illustrate the loss of a perceived dream life – with fame, fortune and fawning gym bunnies, where ambitions run exactly as envisioned and everything is perfect – and, instead, having a normal life, doing a normal job and surrounded by normal people.

I certainly didn’t mean to offend.

These reactions made me think, though: why do we get so defensive about these things?

If a person has cellulite, they have cellulite and no amount of wishing they didn’t have cellulite will remove cellulite from their bodies – not in the moment. I haven’t read an awful lot about cellulite, and it may be that there are ways to reduce or remove it, but right at this moment, if you have cellulite, you have cellulite.

I have loads of stretch marks on my arms, legs and torso because I’ve lost and gained and lost and gained weight so much in my life.

It’s not attractive, but it’s me. It’s part of my body and this is the only body I’ve got. While I don’t walk down the street in Speedos and show it off, I’m not ashamed of it. I don’t lie awake at night wondering what people may think of my stretch marks, or feel that my life is any less valuable because of them.

There’s a present awareness lesson here…

If we live in the reality of the moment, rather than in the past/future fantasy of mind, what else is there to do than accept and be content with our bodies?

If we’re overweight, worrying about being overweight won’t help. You can make plans to go to the gym, walk regularly, eat more sensibly, but stressing about it won’t help one bit.

Our anxieties are caused by the mental conflict between what is real (the present moment) and what is not (the aspirations of the egoic mind).

For example:

You’re on a train and it’s running late. You know it’s already been delayed too long and you’re going to miss your connection.

Your ego/mind starts blaming everyone from the train driver to the person who committed suicide on the tracks earlier that morning, causing the knock on delays.

The fact is, you’re still on that train, and no annoyance, frustration or castigation of others will change your situation.

(I was on that train… September, 2009. Felt sick when it was announced, but afterwards there were people still jabbering furiously and winding themselves up on their mobile phones about their plans being disrupted.)

So, sit back and enjoy the ride. Deal with the situation when you reach your stop, because you can’t do anything but sit on the train until then.

Love cellulite. Love stretch-marks. Love life, because we’re here, right now, imperfectly perfect, and that’s just the way it is.

54 comments:

  1. Beautifully said, Les! Life is a gift.

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    1. Thanks! And yep, it most certainly is. :-)

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  2. I can't say that I've learned to LOVE my cellulite, but I have learned to accept it. Considering that I got to eat a bunch of really delicious food to get it, I'm OK with the trade-off. :)

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  3. A lot of people have stretch marks and it has nothing to do with attractiveness. I have a friend who is really pretty and slim but has stretch marks cos she slimmed down further.

    There was a point of time when I wanted to get rid of my stretch marks but after a while I just got sick of it and when it comes to my body I love myself as I am and anyone who makes me think otherwise is not a friend.

    I consulted a doctor and he said lots of women have stretch marks and some even cover it up with make up.
    Oh and pure vitamin e oil coupled with exercise does help to reduce stretch marks. (Just in case some of you are really trying to get rid of them)
    Just eat healthy and stay healthy, that is honestly more important than looking good. Plus if you stay healthy you will feel good and look good!

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    1. Yes, I totally agree. I'm generally very happy with myself and if others aren't, then tough titties! :-)

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  4. Cellulite is a perfectly normal condition, most people have or will have it. Cellulite as a thing to be treated is an invention by the beauty industry.

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  5. Hey Les!

    Great Post. I have recently written a similar post about why women need to be grateful for their cellulite and learn to love their bodies without judgement...
    http://mymindcoach.com.au/gratitude/

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  6. Absolutely agree. By all means make the most of your good points and dress to disguise your not-so-good points, but don't worry about them. That will do absolutely nothing.

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  7. LOL! I actually used to hate my stretch marks. But I've come to think they're special. I got them after each of my 3 children. Now I look at them as wounds of love. I loved the thought of carrying them inside me no matter what it did to my body. 3 c-sections even. Scars of life. What could be more beautiful? It would actually be a shame to die with a perfect body and no scar whatsoever because wouldn't that mean you never really lived? Life is full of scars and wounds. If we have none, we are not living. =)
    Love ya Les. You and your scars are more beautiful to me every day.

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    1. Aw, hehe - that's a lovely way to put it. Yep, they're just marks of living and nothing to get hateful about!

      Thank you! :-)

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  8. Everyone has cellulite to some degree, but I will say, once someone comes out with something to get rid of it's appearance, man, they are going to make LOADS of money! xox

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    1. They absolutely will, yes! :-) x

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  9. I really liked this post. I'm thinking now about how we all envied people like Diane Keaton for her slender frame, only to learn now that she was bulimic. We think other people have it better or easier, but they don't. We can stop our suffering by accepting ourselves and accepting what is. Me, I can put up with a little cellulite if it means I can actually eat a nice soft roll with butter sometimes! (And not feel I have to throw it up later!)

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    1. Yeah, it must be awful to deprive oneself to such a degree that we couldn't have a roll with butter when we so choose! Thanks for reading, Melissa! :-)

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  10. Good article. Far too much attention is given to 'perfection' and what is perceived as 'beauty'. But by whom? Possibly by those likely to gain by sales of magazines, clothes, and beauty products etc. It gives me great pleasure to see older actresses in their natural state rather than ones that have been nipped and tucked and skin filled with poison.
    My stretch marks caused through childbirth have succumbed to gravity but I wear my elderly 'apron' with pride! Mind you, only my hubby sees it and he has his own gravity shift taking place. It all gives us something to laugh about.
    Time to judge beauty by what lies within the heart and eventually shows in the lines embroidered by time and a life well lived.

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    1. Hehe. Yep, real beauty is in the heart and soul and can't be created by products or subscriptions to glossy magazines. It's an industry which encourages people to hate themselves.

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    2. That was a beautiful response. Did you know that the white oak tree has what look exactly like stretch marks when you slice the wood? The "stretch marks" on a white oak are what make it one of the strongest trees in North America. Irony, nature teaches us truth...@amkvinta

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  11. Great post and I love the replies, especially Gladys'.

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    1. Gladys is great! Thanks, Rebecca! :-)

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  12. I have a friend who looks at playing pull-tabs as win-win, because even if he doesn't win, he's taking out the none-winning tickets and increasing the odds that someone else will win.

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  13. Great post Les. We are what we are - and happiness comes from within:))

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    1. Indeed it does! Thanks, Jane! :-)

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  14. I can tell you this: I was a fat kid... then a skinny teenager, then a fat young adult, then a slim adult. I had stretch marks, dark and wide. I got pregnant in a slim period of my life and the stretch marks from the pregnancy striped sideways across my other vertical stretch marks... talk about FUN!

    In the course of that time to this, I HAVE learned to live in the moment - I've also learned about healing my DNA from the inside out - HOW? Just by letting my soul talk to my cells - yes it CAN be done - in meditation... I highly recommend it.

    So, what is the result? I still have stretch marks... after all I never really asked that they be removed - just that they be removed from my "giving a hoot" mindset. They are ALL now the same color as my skin - nothing dark and nothing too deep.

    THIS is how I live very VERY happy with stretch marks...because, the only mattered to me when I could see them. Now, I don't.

    I recommend ancient healing to everyone - you ALL have the power to do it - have faith and never doubt - and you too can move mountains (Matthew 21:21: King James Version).

    Namaste

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    1. I do believe that we're all capable of great healing, yep. I guess I had the same problem, except for the pregnancy! My weight was up and down for years - still a way to go, too, and more marks ready to join the others, but I'm not worried about them. :-)

      Namaste

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  15. We are who we are - and we have to deal with the cards we are dealt. And sometimes that means we have to cope with life being less than perfect.

    But buying into a culture that values only the young and beautiful doesn't help. In Victorian times it was fashionable to be pale-skinned (to show you didn't work outside). Now we must be tanned (to show we can afford holidays). Fashions change, but bodies have the same needs and foibles.

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    1. Indeed, yep - it's an often very dangerous culture trap, creating a storm of judgement. We are, like you say, just who we are, and we should celebrate that. :-)

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  16. I have a scar on my face from when I had chickenpox as a child. I have a large scar like an inverted "7" on my left knee and other scars on my right knee and left hand from when I was knocked down by a car aged 16. I have stretch marks from my pregnancy. I have a keloid scar on my right earlobe from a piercing. I have 4 scars on my belly and a twisted belly button from my gallbladder surgery in 2007. Scars and marks on our bodies are the roadmarks of our lives. Love them. Great post Les xxx

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    1. Gosh, yes, and you have a very interesting collection of them! Thank you! :-) x

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  17. I have had endless amounts of surgery on my stomach - none of them a tummy tuck, I might add. It looks like a hot cross bun that some one stood on. I have cellulite, stretch marks, my boobs hang, I have a rather large, flabby bum. No, I don't walk around wearing a bikini on the beach, but I don't hide the marks either. It is what it is, and I know when I am lying on my death bed, I'm not going to say, "Damn, I wish I had had less cellulite." Life is so precious. Enjoy it - stretchmarks and all.
    Great post, thank you. xx

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    1. Hehe, love that, Nicola. Thank you for reading and for the smiley comment! :-) x

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  18. well Said be comfortable in your own body!!!

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  19. Actually, a French cartoonist knew all this so well she made an heroine named Cellulite. http://openlibrary.org/works/OL4044886W/Les_e%CC%81tats_d%27a%CC%82me_de_Cellulite

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  20. Love this line: "Love life, because we’re here, right now, imperfectly perfect, and that’s just the way it is."

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  21. I love my caesarean section scar it makes me look tough lol

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  22. It's tough to love cellulite. I think I'll just aim for not letting it distract me from the joy of living.

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  23. Les, by any chance do you practice yoga? Staying present and appreciating life in the moment are among the core lessons. It's a challenge, but well worth it. This piece is a great reminder to appreciate right now.

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  24. "Love cellulite. Love stretch-marks. Love life, because we’re here, right now, imperfectly perfect, and that’s just the way it is."

    Well said! To me, it's not necessarily loving cellulite/stretch marks/stretch marks for simply what they are, it's loving them for what they represent...being alive and having a story to tell. My stretch marks remind me of my pregnancies and my cellulite reminds me that I am me regardless of imperfections. I am me for me and I count my blessings every day.

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  25. A person once asked me if I would ever have cosmetic surgery. My answer was Why?
    Every line on my face tells a story; of my joys and my despairs. My sagging breasts tell the story of when I nursed my children and my Tummy tells the story of when I proudly carried them.Why in the world would I want to get rid of my STORY.:)

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  26. Excellent Les! I have no qualms about people going to the gym & eating healthily for fitness - of course it's better than slobbing but spending one's life chasing a dream body can ruin a life and those of others around you. We have too many people with eating disorders because of this!

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  27. Thanks for following me on Twitter (@ayshawrites) and pointing me to your awesome blog. I too have some interesting stretch marks I got at puberty that have changed shape as I have over the years. Although I thought I'd dealt with them and wouldn't change anything, I've now realised I think of them every day and probably need to do some work on that. But cellulite never bothers me. Maybe because I can't see it!!

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  28. "If we live in the reality of the moment, rather than in the past/future fantasy of mind, what else is there to do than accept and be content with our bodies?"

    You are so spot on... I'm still working on accepting my body after years of self-loathing, and while I still have progress to make, I'm doing better than ever ^_^

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  29. I'm only 19 and I already have both cellulite and stretch marks. I have scars on my body from self mutilation. It used to bother me, but now I don't really care that much. Sure, the media images of "gym bunnies" bother me, but I have bigger things in my life than the cellulite on my thighs.

    I love your blog, and I think this is my favourite post so far. I really liked how you discussed things that you can change about yourself, and not stressing over things you can't. Such a wonderful message!

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  30. >grin< Always feel a bit lighter in the heart after reading your posts. Thank you for being.

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  31. Great post. Body image is so important. I'm African and the skinny-be perfect fad is crazy here too. Sad since we used to be more accepting of all shapes and sizes.

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  32. Cellulite doesn't exist. It was invented as a beauty "problem" in the mid-70s by a hairdresser who promoted getting rid of it as an aesthetic service.

    Love yourself, sure, but don't "accept" imaginary problems.

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