REAL TALK with Lynn and John
Dear Lynn and John G,
Summer is around the corner and has snuck up on me once again! I had all the plans in the world to get my 'beach bod' going, but ended up not losing weight. Now I am feeling like crawling under a rock instead of going out to the beach in a bathing suit like I love to do so much. How do I deal with my insecurities about my body so I can enjoy our short Cleveland summer?
-Seeking Beach Body
Dear Seeking Beach Body,
I may be butchering this quote but, “Our inability to love and accept all the pieces of ourselves creates ripples-tiny acts of violence-that have huge and lasting impacts on ourselves and others.” I read that in a yoga ethics book once.
I would suggest that you talk to yourself about how to find love for yourself where you are. So much love that you can find that "give no fucks" space. If you love to go out in a bathing suit then do it. Don't let your hang ups stop you. From a very young age we are taught by society and social pressures that we are not okay, that we need to fix ourselves, and that we are not perfect just how we are. If it’s not your weight or body type it will be our intelligence, or how much money we make, what kind of job we have, not popular enough, ect. Fall head over heals in love with yourself or at least work toward that.
My advice is to look inside your heart, not in the mirror.
Every “body” has a beach body.
Everybody loves hippitty-dippitty feel-good platitudes and existential examination in the context of blaming societal failure for our inherent insecurities, but if you want to be more secure, more confident, you’re going to have to change. You have two ways to go. One, re-calibrate your perceptions and understand that you already have a beach body. Congrats! Go forth and enjoy.
Or two, if you genuinely want to lose weight and get fit for YOURSELF (and not to live up to other people’s standards of “beach body”), the good news is you still have time! Cleveland summer is short but it’s not that short. It’s not going to be easy, but you’re going to need to assert some will power and discipline. Find a healthy diet that works for you and jump head first into an exercise routine that you know you can commit to, even if just for a month or two. It’s only June, stick with it and by August you could be strutting the sands with confidence! By then you’ll be eight weeks into setting yourself some goals and achieving them. Here’s an idea: maybe join a gym or rec center that has an indoor pool? I know some of them open very early in the morning and I guarantee the only people there at that hour are older people that haven’t judged a “beach body” since the Reagan Administration (okay- I’m assuming you’re younger, apologies if you’re not). Maybe dip your toes into the shallow end of wearing a bathing suit in public, while swimming at an indoor pool at the crack of dawn with some oldsters, and week by week get used to being vulnerable in the company of these aquatic elders. Swimming is also great exercise for the whole body and you’ll probably be ready to bask in the sun in no time.
Dear Lynn and John G,
My girlfriend and I are completely committed to one another for life, but don't believe in the institution of marriage. We're both very comfortable with our situation, but recently her parents have gotten a bit out of hand. They are so upset by the idea that we will never legally "tie the knot" that they have started to plan a wedding for us! They've gone as far as booking a venue and tasting cakes, and are constantly calling us to "discuss our guest list". How do we stop this? They're not listening to us saying no or our requests for them to end the madness.
Dear Parental Pressure,
Is there a more effective way you can communicate with your family? Are you being direct about what your desires and needs are? It took me a long time to realize that I was my own maker. It did not matter what my family thought, what society wanted. You have the power of your own choice. If that choice is not to get married. Then make it. Let them plan it. It doesn’t mean you have to show up.
Take a stand,
I agree that this is a definite case of a lack of communication. Your parents are clearly violating your boundaries and their absolute refusal to listen to, or understand your perspective, is some egregious behavior. They won’t see it that way, but you have to make that clear to them. It might be time for an ultimatum: Nix That Wedding Pressure or it’s #SCORCHEDEARTH2016. Which, Scorched Earth is what it means. Tell them if they pull any more marriage shenanigans you’re dropping the bomb. Then have the fortitude to push that button. No contact. No visits, no phone calls, no emails, block them on all social media. DO NOT EVER ACKNOWLEDGE THEM EVER AGAIN.
I understand that’s not a viable solution for everyone. Especially if you have otherwise healthy and enjoyable relationships with your family other than this one thing. So, if you genuinely want to have a relationship with them, but they still absolutely refuse to understand and keep pressuring you and crossing the line, maybe fight fire with fire. Pick them up for a “surprise lunch” then drop by a nursing home for an appointment with one of their lovely case workers to see if that might be a good fit for when the time comes. Every time you see them ask them when the last time they updated their Last Will and Testament was. Ask them if they’ve ever considered a signing a DNR. Pretend to buy them some burial plots for their birthdays. Eventually, hopefully, they’ll call you on this, and you’ll get the opportunity to explain to them that what you’ve been doing is the same thing they’ve been doing about this wedding. You’ve been trying to make decisions for them that aren’t respecting their boundaries. Maybe, finally, this conversation will get through to them where all others have fallen short. If not? You’ve always got #SCORCHEDEARTH2016!
John G. Lynn R.
John G. and Lynn Rodemann answering all of your most desperate questions in the most real way. REAL TALK.