Somewhere between Revlon and Maxine lies the perfect woman. Are you one of the millions of women who feel angst as they fall short of perfect? In a perfect world all your clothes fit, you smile and run your manicure nails through your silky wind driven hair. You tend your family, cleaning house, running errands all the while; confident, complete and successful. Right? And then there is REALITY. It wasn't until recently that I finally gave up this fantasy and realized the need to change my thinking. This is an excerpt from my book Say “YES!” to Life, enjoy!

Taking the last swig of my Coca Cola I slithered my hand inside a greasy Fritos bag to grab the last chip. “Don't stand in front of the TV,” I ordered, "the Brady Bunch re-runs are on."
I knew something was wrong when the remote control jammed and all 500 channels played Richard Simmons, Oprah Winfrey, and Kathy Muscles fitness commercials. I was suffering from R.C.S.S. (Recliner, channel-surfing syndrome). Millions of people suffer and die from this syndrome each year. I was circling the siphon bowl of the abyss; spiraling ever downward into the black hole of re-runs. Maybe I should exercise.

Exercise? This is the year. I'll make a plan; this is the year I’ll get into shape. Don't want to rush into these things. There are studies that have proven that a person can burn the same amount of calories thinking about jogging as it takes to jog. So I'll just think exercise. Right? Sound familiar?

I phoned my friend Michelle, "What do you say to a water aerobics class?
5:00A.M., Monday through Friday. It'll be fun! Don’t you think?"

"Fun? Exercise is not my idea of fun." Michelle grumbled, "Well, I've been thinking about exercise and that hasn’t worked so… why not?”

Calling Michelle was always a safe bet; neither one of us worries about getting too much of a good thing. Behind our buddy system thinking is a fatal flaw. Before too much time passes we’ll both come up with more excuses than President Bill Clinton as to why we can’t exercise. Nevertheless we are eternal optimists.

The alarm forced me to wrangle a swim suit from moth balls, stuff a gym bag, and grab the car keys. I was doing alright until I caught a glimpse of myself in the hall mirror. Miss America can rest easy...for that matter so can Barbara Walters.

Michelle says she has it on good authority that there’s diva body snatcher that exchanges body parts from one woman to another in the middle of the night. This must be true because I know for a fact that these are not the thighs I started out with. I’m sure some babe has my left hip and flat stomach. And as my granddaughter Naomi puts it “Wow! Grandma your triceps have the wingspans of a flying squirrel. I don’t mind all that however my waist is a spare tire without tread for my boobs to rest and catch crumbs.

Like most American women my body image perception seesaws from bouncy, saucy super model to a seasoned, overstuffed turkey in thirty seconds flat. In my mind I’m twenty-five, slim, trim, fit however minutes later I’m wondering how my friends and I got so old and flabby. I could blame my short comings on the media; they have broad shoulders of youthful hype and glamour. But could it be my attitude and the way I perceive life.

But still I think it is an hypocrisy when society teaches young women to look for the perfect body.. As a public service to women across the world, I’d like to grab every young lovely in a tube-top and scream, "Listen, sister even the Roman Empire fell and those will too! But I digress.

Through the chlorine, sweet perfumes, and deodorant mist that encircled the dressing room I gasped in horror,
"Michelle! Michelle! Michelle! My suit shrunk! It fit last year!"

With what can only be described as an evil smile she replied, "Give it a little yank, maybe you can stretch it.”

With that I drew in a breath and I began having my way with spandex. Climbing the Mount Everest of flab I rolled, tucked, and tugged ripples of cellulite. Exhausted I rested at the hips’. Then exhaling all possible air I hoisted what little fabric that was left over of my boobs. Yanking the bottom rim own over my butt cheeks caused my boobs to pop out like two white Casabas. Bound and determined I mooched, scrunched and squirmed until I reached a point that if I bent my knees and walked like a crippled ostrich I could make it to the pool.

Buoyancy is a blessing; once in the water I lost thirty five pounds. A sea of white-cotton-puffs (senior citizens) floating and chatting across the aqua ripples set the scene. At the edge of the pool was "Bambi." Twenty if a day, blonde, every muscle and curve in place. Michelle grabbed my arm pulling me back into the water before I could ask Bambi if she had my left hip.

"Okay, class, let’s GO!" Bambi twirled, raised her right arm and touch her left leg. Picture two cheerfully over stuffed hippopotamus trying to find their feet. If we hadn’t been snickering so much we would have noticed how much we were huffing and puffing trying to keep up with the white-cotton-puffs, 30 years our senior.
“Is it time yet?” Michelle pleaded with every breath.
"No,” I wheezed.

The clock finally gave up its hour to wobbling rubber knees that toddled behind the white cotton puffs to the showers. I don’t know if it’s the writer in me or what but I love observing people. I’m never starved for drama when I take time to appreciate my surroundings. This was the day I learned something of what self image and self-esteem really means.

As I stood waiting to shower, I watched white-haired Greek goddesses worship the shower head. They were remarkable. Their bodies bounced but didn't bounce back, their cottage cheese thighs and wrinkles jiggled and when they stood in front of a mirror they could see their rear end without turning around yet they didn’t seem to care. It became clear to me what really mattered. It’s the beauty inside that transcends all ages, races, creeds and geography. This is what really counts. This is living with the image of your true self; you inner beauty, your soul. I felt a calmness come over me as I let go of feelings of inadequacy and self-consciousness.

Just then the Mighty Peewee Swimmers burst through the door like a thunderbolt from Zeus. Talk about an energy shift, whew. The white cotton puffs side-shuffled the bubbling, squealing and screeching three year olds who cut the air as their mothers disrobed the tiny tots.

"Hi Jimmy, how are you today?" Ms. Greek Goddess greeted.

Jimmy and his brother Tommy never met a naked stranger. Brimming with eager exuberance and oblivious to their surroundings they were fully alive in the moment.

His smile and, "Fine," melted sheepishly.

Removing his coat mom shooed him toward the stalls, "Its time to go potty Jimmy,”

"I don't wanna," Scrunching his face.

"Go potty... Go... Mom gave him the look, “Go now Jimmy,"

Kneading his toe into the floor he turned toward the restroom stalls while his mom tended his brother. All too soon he was at her side.

"Did you go potty?" She turned to the little faker.

"I don't wanna," he coyly smiled.

"Go, Jimmy, potty now." Mom puffed and pointed.
Lowering his head his feet slapped across the wet floor as he succumbed.

Jimmy was at her side once again. Double checking her ward she asked, "Jimmy did you go potty?"

"Yes!" He beamed.

"Are you sure?” Are you really sure?"

Jimmy sulked, uncrossed his arms and held open his swimming trunks. In a clear and blaring voice directed his dialogue to his penis, "we went potty didn't we?"

The room choked on tears of laughter.

A familiar saying comes to mind. My body is not me but mine. My mind is not me but mine. My body is the vessel; my mind is the compass for my soul journey through this life. How great it is to realize that beauty lies within at any age and that we are all children of God in whatever chosen our vessel may be.
Give it up you are who you are and that is more than enough. It’s time you put your mind to good use; direct it where God intended; to further your soul’s purpose and fulfill your dreams. Decide right now that you are good enough that the beauty inside of you is all you need to say “Yes!” to your life.

Author's Bio: 

As a top Communication Consultant, master trainer and author, Judy Pearson speaks to major corporations, associations, colleges and universities around the nation, sharing her expertise, humor and passion for life with people who want to make a difference in the world.

A student of human behavior, Judy passionately believes that healthy, vibrant communication leads to healthy, energetic and highly productive people and organizations. Judy will customize a program for your organization.