Once upon a time there lived a Misfit and her Mini-Me.
Our Misfit was all about taking up space in the world, being big, strong and HEARD.
Her Mini-Me, while only 9, appeared to follow suit.
She, too, felt unstoppable
She knew she was her own superhero:
Mini-Me loved her burgeoning muscles and would display them without being asked.
Our Misfit was pretty damn
Look at the awesomeness Ive raised. In a home sans-scales much greatness can happen!!
She wasn’t arrogant or judgmental of other parenting approaches, but she thought she had the whole MamaRoleModelThing down.
Until she stumbled.
Until she fell into the abyss of a different sort of negative-talk.
With all her focus on living intuitively, doing unto others and loving her bod for what it does—she slipped down the negative speak rabbit-hole of:
Great googly moogly I look tired. I look like a grandma this morning!
(sunglasses hide the tireds.)
Or mumbling statements along the lines of:
Holy crapballs I’m old. I’m like a ninety year old right angle in the mornings!
this is EXACTLY how our story’s Misfit feels in early a.m. lately!
She loved her aging bod (she’d lost enough friends to know the importance of greeting each dawn with Yay, I’m still here!) but her words indicated otherwise.
As a woman and a mother she’d never have whined I feel fat!! but she found herself lamenting My hips hurt. I feel a bazillion years old this morning! without a second thought.
She heard herself stating quite plainly to her Mini-Me upon climbing out of their beloved beanbag chair:
Wait. Wait. I’m not a spring chicken any more. MamaOld. This may take a while.
(whilst grunting and groaning for effect.)
One morning after some such I AGING! I CREAKY! remark Mini-Me turned to Mama and said:
Mama, I don’t want you to be old.
And, in a way reminiscent of the best John Hughes movie montages, all the old talk snippets our Misfit had uttered rushed back to her.
- Comments made in jest to a Mini-Me who didn’t yet ‘grasp’ the jesting.
- Comments made to Husband (in front of her mini) in effort to foster “we’re aging together!” camaraderie.
- Comments made about being or getting old said with humor, but damaging to little ears none-the-less.
In this moment all the pride our Misfit had possessed about never uttering the words diet, fat or good/bad-foods vanished.
All eclipsed by the accidental messages she’d been sending about anxiety/loss of self-love related to aging.
Anxiety and worry she didn’t feel, but that mattered not when they exited her mouth and found their way to little ears.
She planned to still do this when she was 80!
Once she became aware of the foible of old talk our Misfit noticed it everywhere.
She overheard the same interactions—mother/child—on the playground.
She eavesdropped on “old talk” between female strangers.
She still found herself entering into old talk conversations with friends—she was nowhere near perfect!
All of these scenarios led her to ponder:
As women make strides toward conquering fat talk must we, invariably, switch to a different form of negative self-speak?
And, as all good misfits do, she decided to bring her queries to you.
- Whether in your 20’s or decades past 40: have you found you’ve slipped into ‘old talk?’
- Have you discovered old-talk is the new *fat-talk* as a way for to women connect/relate?
Angela @ happy fit mama saysAugust 10, 2016 at 4:32 am
Wow! Now that you pointed it out – yes! I never say anything about size, fat, shape to my kids but I will say – mama needs to take a rest, she’s old and tired! Granted, usually I’m doing that because I need a break from the crazies but still… I think you are on to something Carla!
Cathy Lawdanski saysAugust 10, 2016 at 4:35 am
I have slipped into this lately. I just turned 58. My workouts seem harder. I have aches & pains that were never there before. I wonder – is this just part of aging? Should I change what I am doing? All valid questions, but I see what you are saying about old age talk becoming the new fat talk.
Allie saysAugust 10, 2016 at 4:41 am
OMG I do this all.the.time and definitely did not stop to think about it with the boys!! They have actually told me they want to craft a “potion” so that I can live forever. Yikes!!! Thank you for pointing this out…
Bea saysAugust 10, 2016 at 5:14 am
I definitely do this now that you’ve pointed it out. I think I also talk about how much I love me LOL but I need to be careful I never thought about this.
messymimi saysAugust 10, 2016 at 5:26 am
When Little Girl was 4 and #2 Son was six, he once told me “Mom, you better not have dessert, you’re going to get fat!” and Little Girl came to my defense with “My Mommy’s not fat, she’s just old!”
Since then, i’ve tried to give my kids the impression of neither, keeping healthy foods around, eating well, keeping my weight stable (i wish i could say i’m a better role model on exercise, but i’m not), and not talking much about the aches and pains that come with the fact that my youngest is now 18.
It’s not easy, but i set a rule for myself as to self talk or criticizing myself. If i wouldn’t allow anyone to get away with saying it to a friend, i don’t say it to or about myself. My life has improved since i set myself that “rule”.
Susie @ Suzlyfe saysAugust 10, 2016 at 5:29 am
I think that we should all meet my client Gladys, who is 79 years young, has abody that is constantly fighting her, and she just defiantly refuses to let it win: “I’m going to live to be 100!” Age, unlike weight (for most), isn’t something that we can battle, but we can choose how we perceive the process and the side effects of it.
Michelle saysAugust 10, 2016 at 6:43 am
I kind of dig the getting older part. I mean, I AM guilty of the “old” talk, but I mostly use it to get out of things I don’t want to do. Like at work, they’re taking a canoe trip. I HATE canoeing and camping…so, I pulled the “old” card. 🙂
Andrea@WellnessNotes saysAugust 10, 2016 at 7:02 am
Yes! I have said that I’m old way too often. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being old, but things do feel different, and you are so right that words make an impression on little ears! Just yesterday we went on a very strenuous 6-hour hike, and I had a lot of trouble walking afterward. So yes, I mentioned the world old many times… Thanks for the reminder!
Annmarie saysAugust 10, 2016 at 7:08 am
I hate to admit this but I have totally fallen into the old talk lately. I do it more when I am around younger generations but I am swiftly reminded how “not old” I am when it slips out around older people. Definitely something I need to keep in check!
Lucie Palka saysAugust 10, 2016 at 7:35 am
As I am turning 40 in a few weeks, I find myself talking about getting old… a lot. In some ways I can’t believe I’m almost 40, there is still so much to do, In other ways, the age is showing; grey hair, wrinkles around my eyes, pains here and there… It’s going to be a tough milestone birthday! I did my first triathlon on Sunday, and saw many 60 – 70 year-old inspiring ladies. I hope to be like them! I’m going to put aside the “old card” for now!
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home saysAugust 10, 2016 at 7:44 am
Wow, you hit the nail on the head. It’s like you were in my brain last night when I wrote my post. I do find myself using “old talk” a lot. I need to stop.
That picture of you in headstand is awesome. You are perfectly positioned between the electrical outlets and with the cords behind you, you look like you are plugged in!
Carla saysAugust 11, 2016 at 5:13 am
Oh I am plugged in…..BECAUSE IM OLD!!! 🙂
Melissa saysAugust 10, 2016 at 7:48 am
As the mother of a fifteen year old teen daughter I fight my words EVERY DAY to make sure I am not saying anything negative about my bodyand I’m not going to lie it is a daily struggle to not say anything negative which seems to be second nature to me. But I know every move I make she is watching me taking notice of my cues and internalizing all of it. Being a mother is the hardest job but also the greatest gift
Carla saysAugust 11, 2016 at 5:13 am
and I think the flip side amazes me as well. we can negative speak about OURSELVES, tell them they are amazing strong and beautiful and all they really HEAR and internalize is our negative talk! I remind myself daily: PRACTICE DONT PREACH PRACTICE DONT PREACH.
This *is* a hard job! 🙂
Mary Jane Bruce saysAugust 10, 2016 at 8:32 am
I just turned 60 and I have friends my age who have been talking about how old they are since they were in their 40s. I feel great. In some ways, I’m healthier than I was in my 20s. My philosophy is to never stop moving. Keep up the exercise and eat healthy most of the time.
MCM Mama Runs saysAugust 10, 2016 at 8:42 am
It’s funny – I’m in my mid 40s, but I still think of myself as in my 20s. So, not a lot of old talk here. I do sometimes shock myself when I see a friend my age and think, wow, so n so is looking old – and then I have to remind myself I’m getting older too. I’m pretty sure I’m going to skip right from feeling 20 to feeling 90 LOL, so I’ll revisit this post then. (And I’m with your daughter. I’m struggling hard with the fact that my parents are getting old. )
Carla saysAugust 11, 2016 at 5:12 am
YES YES YES. To the thinking at, for example, college reunion DANG THESE PEOPLE HAVE AGED!! (oops so have I. it has been 25 years!) to fretting about my parents. I think you nailed why OLD and aging has been on my brain more lately too!
Leanne saysAugust 10, 2016 at 8:59 am
I think the biggest blessing I’ve received from blogging is seeing midlife in a new light. I was feeling a bit washed out and washed up and flat, but meeting all the lovely vibrant women who are loving this stage of life has put things in a new light for me. I know you’d agree Carla because you are one of the coolest of us all 🙂
Laurie Oien saysAugust 10, 2016 at 9:14 am
Like someone said earlier, I’ll pull out the “old card” when I want to get out of doing something physical. However, with that said, I try to watch the negative talk about most things, because I discovered some time ago that any negative talk is soul crushing. We’re not perfect, though, and once in awhile we do need to vent – hopefully, when little ears aren’t around to listen. Great subject Carla!
Susan Williams saysAugust 10, 2016 at 9:15 am
Well…I am getting older, and I do feel changes in my body. It’s normal to talk about how we’re experiencing life. Does saying “Today, I feel old” necessarily imply that that is a bad thing? I don’t think so. “Today, my body feels tired, but I’m going to push past it, because I think pushing past it as a way to keep being healthier, and staying stronger” would be nothing but being a great role model, if that is your concern.
To me, my daughter learns at least as much about me through watching what I do, rather than only through my words. I’d guess your daughter sees you as strong, and vibrant, and a woman who goes after what she wants out of life. Hence, she focuses on her own muscles: her own power.
Kate saysAugust 10, 2016 at 10:25 am
I do think there’s a difference between “I’m fat” and “I’m old”.
The first one says “I dislike myself” the second one “I’m afraid.”
I don’t think that either you voicing that you “feel old” or your daughter talking about “feeling old” is necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I’d probably say it’s normal. The Tornado is at an age now where she’s starting to understand the concept of death and mortality, and is something she’s integrating. As for you, and for lots of other women, I think that we hit a certain age and start realizing that there’s more time behind us than before us.
No, our bodies don’t work the same way, but I really think that it’s not so much a sign of dislike for our bodies, but an underlying fear that we’re not going to be able to do or be everything we want before time runs out.
Let me assure you that is also just a stage, and that older women tend to stop worrying about the grey, the wrinkles, the stiffness in the morning, the lowered energy levels and reach some threshold where they just say “fug it, I’m just going to enjoy whatever I have left.” I’m kinda sitting on that cusp right now, but all the reading I’ve done seems to indicate that older women … OLD women, have pretty happy lives because they’ve moved beyond all the fears of “I need to fix my body” and “I need to stay young” and simply ARE.
Perhaps this is a good time to, as a family, sit down and talk about what aging means. About the independence of young adulthood, the energy changes, the moving into midlife and how in olden times what we think of as mid life was ancient. How the body changes, and how the mind can change.
I’ll tell you, one morning about a quarter century ago, I woke up to see my young son’s face about 6 inches from my own. After I screamed (of course!) I asked him what he was doing. He told me he was looking for wrinkles. I asked him why he was doing that, and he said he wanted to make sure I wasn’t dying. He was about the same age the Tornado is now.
I told him that it would be a while before I had enough wrinkles that I’d worry about dying from being old. And because he was pernicious, I also talked about the unpredictability and randomness of death, and how that makes it doubly important to focus on LIFE.
Carla saysAugust 11, 2016 at 5:09 am
I love this entire comment, Kate. I read it yesterday when it came in. I reread it yesterday. Im rererereading it again now. Thank you. (and yeah, Im pretty much in the fug it stage now. I do NOT think I was 7 years ago.)
Elle saysAugust 10, 2016 at 9:19 am
Sing it LADY! This is one of my biggest pet peeves… I recall years ago, a comment from my Monster-in-law … “well I am 75 you know”… ya so?
I recognize that things about my body change and I make adapatations, as I age, but dang, I hate blaming things on getting older! And I don’t like to see/hear people bragging about what they can still do or be at any given age.
Jody - Fit at 58 saysAugust 10, 2016 at 10:04 am
You know I do old talk BUT I do think women need to be truthful about it vs all this it is wonderful stuff. It is not all wonderful & it is hard thru the hormone change & it is hard to not be able to do what we used to do. I think maybe better ways to say it but I do think it is a good outlet for women to be able to talk about the changes.
Carla saysAugust 11, 2016 at 5:10 am
Yes! I hear you doing it as a form of both connection in a positive way and also a loving OK SO, DID YOU KNOW THIS WAS COMING? BECAUSE NO ONE TOLD *ME* AND I WISH ID KNOWN!!! type stuff as well.
Susan Bonifant saysAugust 10, 2016 at 10:57 am
Excellent, EXCELLENT. I have never seen this question posed, but oh my GOD, it’s so true.
In both cases, we look right past the things we’ll wish we had back later. I think you may have changed my sulky mood today. Thank you.
Carla saysAugust 11, 2016 at 5:08 am
YES I AGREE SO MUCH WITH WHAT YOU SAID ABOUT LOOKING PAST WHAT WE WILL WISH WE HAD BACK (she shouts). Ive been thinking a great deal about that notion lately as well.
Debbie saysAugust 10, 2016 at 11:28 am
This is so interesting. I think we all do it to some extent, never realizing that our “humor” isn’t quite understood by little ears. Fortunately, there are no little ears around me (because I’m old lol), but I will take notice now of that kind of negative self-talk. And change it to something like “I’m so smart now because I’ve lived so many years on this earth!”
Brianne saysAugust 10, 2016 at 1:19 pm
Very good point to bring it up. I never talk to my children about my body weight or say things like I look fat, but I do say a lot how tired looking I am. Now you’ve got me thinking!
Janice | MostlyBlogging saysAugust 10, 2016 at 5:10 pm
I almost became a parent blogger but then I switched gears, and now I blog about blogging.
Thanks again for your visit to my site today and commenting on my Target Reader post.
Doreen McGettigan saysAugust 10, 2016 at 5:18 pm
What a great reminder to stop all negative talk all the time. I need to practice not ‘old’ talking myself. It is a hard habit to break!
MLynn saysAugust 10, 2016 at 9:15 pm
I’m on the fence about this, because it really bothers me that our society is obsessed with looks and with being forever young. I find it disappointing and shallow that we increasingly value experience and wisdom less than physical appearance. I don’t want us to feel ashamed of saying that we are aging, that our bodies maybe can’t do all the things they used to do, because those may well be the facts. I don’t know that all mentions are “negative self-talk,” especially as we aren’t just about what our bodies can physically do or how they look. That said, I do understand that the question is of denigrating ourselves — yes, I think it is human nature for many of us to verbalize our insecurities, whatever they are: I’m fat, I’m old, I’m not as smart as you, etc. I agree that is a thing that we should not do to diminish ourselves. I just want to make sure that we’re not making ourselves feel bad about negative self-talk that isn’t — we get old (if we are lucky) regardless of whether society casts that development as positive or negative. Thank you for another thoughtful topic and for so mindfully raising your Mini-Me!
cheryl saysAugust 11, 2016 at 8:17 pm
I will be 63 in about a month. I can still run 7-8 miles at a time. Tomorrow I am swimming a mile and a half (in less than 50 min.) Sunday I am riding over 30 miles. I worked all week with 4 year olds. I do yoga and lift weights. I help out my daughter financially until she gets her dream job. I try to keep up with hubby as he does the same thing (but he is two years younger than I). I am planning my 3rd Ironman finish when I am 65. I can’t wait for my next birthday!
Lindsay Cotter saysAugust 12, 2016 at 2:22 pm
Love this post! A great reminder that negative self talk can not only weigh us down, but also those who love us and are around us to hear us talk this way.
Ask Helen saysAugust 14, 2016 at 2:34 am
I really love reading your posts, Carla. Like I can relate to everything that you’re saying. I couldn’t agree more. And that OLD talk? I’m guilty. 🙂
John saysAugust 14, 2016 at 10:29 pm
If there’s one thing I hate is “old talk”. I always try to stop it as soon as it starts. Usually with a self-deprecating joke and then moving on to something else. I swear, a lot of people just stop themselves from doing a lot of things they totally could do with all that “old talk” brainwashing them into thinking they’re cripples..