Because everyone knows that no woman in her right mind wants to gain weight, right?
I’ve made some major shifts in my life in the past few years—always in the pursuit of happiness.
I maintained a rigorous “happiness” routine until June of 2013. At which time, I began to be drawn to connecting with the Divine Feminine (DF), and my life began to change again. I say “drawn to,” but it was really more like an insistence.
I felt like I didn’t really have a choice.
I had been warned, in the DF research I was doing, that the DF tends to turn lives upside down before the proverbial dust settles. I can testify to that.
The First Shift
In 2011, after taking a depressing and sobering look at my life (a ¾ life crisis?), I knew I had to do something—anything—to change my life into something more authentic, something happier. It was way too depressing to think that I had so little to show for my life up to that point.
So I got busy redecorating and redirecting my life. It was not easy, and I did not like the process. But after experimenting for several months, I finally—through trial and error—hit upon a routine in late 2011 that seemed to provide the right combination of all things to produce and sustain my happiness.
I worked out in some fashion, as well as riding my bike to work, every day. I did cardio three times a week for at least 30 minutes (usually longer) and yoga twice a week. I meditated every day.
Due to health issues, I was only able to eat a high protein, low carb/glycemic diet—no grains, no starchy carbs, very few fruits, no sweeteners of any kind—except for stevia. Plenty of fats and meat and low-carb veggies. Is that a paleo diet? I have no idea. It doesn’t matter. It was necessary.
I became physically fit.
I didn’t look like a body-builder or anything, but I was strong. I have the type of body that when I work out a lot, I don’t bulk up, I just get very wiry and essential. I weighed more than I have ever weighed at 148 lbs. (I’m 5’8”).
But I was also wearing the smallest clothing size I had ever worn as an adult.
The only reason I know the specific pounds of my weight, was because I ended up having to go to the doctor for a checkup. I very seldom see my doctor, so when he came in and looked at my chart, he instantly (and wisely) asked, “Have you been working out?” I said yes; he (again, wisely) didn’t say anything else.
When anyone called me “skinny,” thinking that was some kind of complement, I was offended. I would usually come back with something along the lines of, “I am not skinny. I am substantial. I may look skinny to you, but I am not; please don’t call me that. I’ve worked hard for this body, and to be this happy.”
I didn’t exercise to lose weight or even to gain muscle mass. I did it because the endorphins made me happy. It felt good.
It had been a long, winding road to figure it out, but I finally liked my life. I liked my body. I felt healthy. My body was not perfect by any standards, but it was the most fit and strong I had ever been.
Mostly, I was relieved to have finally figured out how to be happy.
And while it had not been a conscious decision to mold my body into anything specific, somewhere in me it registered that I had finally gained the body I had always wanted.
I had finally “mastered” my body. I had beaten back the flab, and along with that, the worry that my body wasn’t good enough. I felt victorious and strong—proud.
The Divine Feminine
But in June of 2013, as I began exploring the DF and how to embrace it and call it up in myself, I gradually became aware that I didn’t like rising at 5 AM every day to work out. I didn’t like having such a hard, masculine body.
Some mornings I woke and started crying when I heard the alarm. It felt like my inner drill sergeant was pushing me around, and I didn’t like it.
I did not welcome this new unhappiness into my life. It was doubly depressing because not only was I no longer happy, I didn’t know how to get back to happiness.
Desperately—and quite frantically, I began experimenting again; I didn’t know what else to do.
I began to sleep late on some days. I skipped exercising sometimes. I was still riding my bike everywhere, but I was not doing much other than that. I began to notice that my clothes were fitting tighter. I began to get rounder.
I began to worry.
Part of me desired to be softer, rounder and more feminine. I desired to let go of the strict, debilitating ideas about women’s bodies that I’d soaked up all of my life—beginning in childhood. I wanted to be able to gift myself with this allowing, this permission to just be a woman, to simply be soft if I wanted to be soft, round if that’s what I wanted.
I felt like it was the DF speaking to me, through me, inviting me to relax into my body just as I was allowing my mind and beliefs to relax. I liked that I was beginning to trust my own body, letting it settle at whatever weight, roundness, muscle-to-fat ratio it wanted to without trying to force it somewhere it maybe didn’t want to go—maybe had never wanted to go.
Another part of me was terrified at the roundness, the bulges. Every day, for several weeks, I would end up in front of the mirror with my hands on my growing ass, laughing or crying—usually both, asking myself, “Do you really want to do this?!”
The answer was always, “yes.”
Looking back, I think it was more the energy of my body that seemed hard and masculine. I now describe it as a type of “armor” I was wearing.
During that time, I was taking a women’s class on feminine manifestation. We met once a week for six weeks, and I have to say it was one of the more powerful things I have ever done for myself.
It was a sincere, sacred space every time we gathered. I looked forward to every class, and the women there were amazing.
I had made up my mind to give it my all, to show up ready to learn and grow. My plan was to remain as authentic and honest as possible even if it was painful, awkward and difficult—in fact, especially if those things happened.
At the beginning of each class, we always had check-in time, when we related how our last week had been, what changes we were noticing in our lives, what we were feeling.
Several of the women had, at some point in the progression of the classes, mentioned they wanted to lose weight. As the class advanced, I was getting rounder, softer.
I was doing the crazy mirror thing almost every day, noticing how my roundness seemed to be keeping pace with my new femininity.
It was a big part of my life, this new softness, this allowing that I was gifting to myself. It was something that I should have been sharing at check-in.
But I was afraid to share it, despite my beginning promise to myself to be all in.
I didn’t want to be the only one who was trying to gain weight. It felt wrong somehow, like I was betraying them, betraying women in general.
Because everyone knows that no woman in her right mind wants to gain weight, right?
And yet I really wanted to share what I was going through. I wanted to talk about that scared part of me—the part that was freaking out to allow myself this.
Finally one night I had to bring it up. It was just too prevalent in my life to ignore. I knew that in order to be true to myself, to honor my dear body, my DF journey and the major work I was doing on so many levels, I would have to speak of it.
I deliberately stayed in my heart as I spoke, treading slowly and gingerly. I told them what had been happening in my life with my body. I explained my mirrored confrontations.
The way I daily went to the full-length mirror and ended up exclaiming in some form thereof, “Oh my gawd, this ass is huge compared to how it was just a few weeks ago!” Sometimes I would laugh, sometimes I would cry. But it still always felt like the right thing to do.
I told them all of this. I opened my heart. At one point, I noticed one of the women smirking and looking around at the other women, as if she wanted to say something funny and was, with that smirk, asking the other women to join her.
To their dear, sweet credit, and my great relief, none of the other women reciprocated her smirk and no one accepted her tacit invitation.
She finally became serious when she noticed no one was joining her. I was grateful. I finished my check-in, feeling relieved that I had been able to share such a big happening in my life with them.
I wonder now if I should have gently confronted her. Maybe I could have just asked her what was happening in her own body and heart while I spoke.
Perhaps it would have lead to even greater depth—for her and for me. I still don’t know the answer to that one.
So now I like the roundness, the softness—sometimes. Some days I don’t. I have more fat on my belly, a bigger butt and thighs. When I sit, I have some fat rolls on my stomach. It feels more feminine.
I don’t feel like I am wearing some kind of hard armor to protect myself anymore. I feel open and soft and more relaxed.
I can’t yet draw any wise (or even any funny—which is my usual MO) conclusions from this, my newest journey. I don’t know where I’m going to end up. I don’t know what to expect. I continue to vacillate between humor and fear about it.
I only know two important things: My body seems to be getting happier, and I seem to be getting ever more comfortable with the idea of being rounder, softer and more feminine.
Also published at Medium.com