Am I being rebellious in liking my body?
We live in an image obsessed world. Where the way we look is not just a part of our identity, it has become our identity. A world where we look at our bodies through someone else’s eyes and believe what we think they see. We make excuses about our body size and even articulate it with humour. Our inner critic and the negative committee in our heads have suited us up with the perfect armour. “I’M NOT FAT, THERE’S JUST MORE OF ME TO LOVE” or ” DYNAMITE COMES IN SMALL PACKAGES” and my personal favourites are those where we vehemently defend our bodies by body shaming right back. Because being skinny is so 2000-and-late and we sport our muffin tops because our bodies have birthed babes. Which begs the question, do you? Do you really love your body?
Is being fat really the worst thing that can happen to you in your life?
As a comfortable size 10 and the odd size 8, I suppose I am one of the “lucky” ones. At least that is what I’ve been told on numerous occasions. I do however count myself lucky when neither of those sizes make me look good and I reach for that size 12 and it’s a match. Because clothes is clothes is clothes. I’m lucky enough to not give a crap. I would much rather wear an item that fits me well and maintain modesty, than reaching for a size I might fit into ten years from now… In reverse. Just so we’re clear, I mean ten years in the past.
The same can be said about my shoe size. Right now I can’t really tell you what my shoe size is because I can go from a size 4 to 8 in two seconds flat. Why? Because not all shoe or clothing sizes are always accurate. Have we learnt nothing from the Chinese and their sizes yet. With this said can we start liking our bodies already? Or am I rebellious in liking my body because I’m not really considered a “big girl”? Like what size do I have to be to truly be insecure?
Body image is not about what you look like but what you think you look like.
Regardless of my weight or body size I’m not naive enough to believe that just a certain type of woman has body image struggles. I’ve been there too. I still pop in there occasionally. You know, just to check if vibe is still the same and if they’ve upgraded the dark hole of insecurity yet. Looking for imperfections and spoiling my day. Because I’m a martyr like that. Even though I know that I’m beautiful. The way my husband looks at me is way better than the look I give myself from the mirror. I see it in his eyes. He thinks I’m hot. Correction. He thinks I’m beautiful. Or is it just sex he’s after??? Nah, I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m the bees knees. He tells me so.
Society profits on self doubt, lack of self worth and insecurities. It’s only obvious that I too fall victim to believing I’m not good enough sometimes. Until logic kicks in and I remember things like Photoshop and Airbrushing. Majority of the images you see in the media have been altered. There’s no way anyone can look that good in person. I refuse to believe that the Kardashians or even Beyonce is that good looking until I see them in person, which may never happen. No hating guys. None. At. All. I think they’re fab, but also a myth. That’s why I refuse to aspire to look as good as any of them.
Sadly very few women get this. They make notes of all their imperfections and forget about all their great assets. When they look into mirrors they may see crooked teeth, bad skin, wrinkles, grey hair, dry lips… Ok, maybe that’s not exactly what they see. It’s what I see when I look in the mirror. But you get my point right? I’m not blind to my imperfections. It’s there. So what? Those very attributes are constant reminders of how far I’ve come in this world. I’m alive and live with intention. Which is why I can’t let things I have no control over hold me back from doing what I need to do. My skin has nothing to do with the way I perform my duties at work. My dry lips do not stop me from breathing. My grey hair doesn’t make me a bad parent. As for my crooked teeth… One of the best compliments I always receive is my smile. Clearly I’m the only one with a problem with my one protruding tooth. For the love of all things good, please don’t seek out my tooth in all my pics or in person when next you see me. Just. No.
Don’t wait until your body is perfect before you start loving it.
There are millions of women around the world who are insecure about their bodies. No matter the size. Society dictates how we should feel about it. You never know if you should be big or small. It’s tiresome. Body shaming comes from both sides. Skinny people wondering how a plus size woman can have an extra large portion of fries. The plus size woman retorting with how unhealthy the skinnies are and that they would rather eat than peck like birds. And so the battles begin. What about the motherless woman who dares to have a muffin top. How dare she? No excuse and no shame at all.
What concerns me most is the message we are sending our girls. The contributions we make in feeding their self esteem and confidence levels. Or lack thereof. Quite frankly I think we are confusing the heck out of them. They look to us for inspiration. The media too, but they need real life superwomen. Women who they aspire to be. Intelligent women they can relate to. Women who can show that beauty comes from within. That physical attributes does not a successful life make. That outer beauty shouldn’t be used as a tool to get what they want. To feed selfish ambitions.
Imagine a woman who loves and respects herself enough to love her body. What an impact will that have on the next generation? Women who don’t make any apologies for their bodies. Because… We are making excuses for the way we look and feel about ourselves. Or am I getting it all wrong?
I am not saying don’t take care of your bodies. Excercise and a healthy diet is never a bad idea. Nor am I saying that wearing makeup is a bad thing. Wearing make up on mornings when I “fall” out of bed makes for a wonderful day. Sometimes hiding behind a mask is called for. I’m also not saying that celebrities are dim witted, selfish or depend on their looks to move forward in life.
I do need you to understand this:
- You do have at least one thing about your appearance. Focus on it!
- You don’t need anyone else’s approval for the way you look. You can be the ripest peach in the world but there will always be someone who hates peaches.
- Could’ve and would’ve does not exist. Neither does “If Only”. You have been created to be unique. Accept it. I could’ve been a size 6 if I wanted to be but I like food and lack discipline to workout frequently.
- Perfection is a myth. You too can look like a superstar if you have a professional shoot and have your images altered. FYI MY SWEET SELFIE and BEAUTY FACE doesn’t count. That’s where I draw the line.
- Your body size or shape has nothing to do with your achievements. You can have your masters degree and be fat, skinny, have crooked teeth, straight hair or brown eyes. Intelligence and athletic ability is not linked to gender or even race either.
- You are as beautiful or ugly as you believe yourself to be. It really is that simple.
- Most importantly, good hygiene is one of the best esteem builders. It doesn’t matter what the mirror tries to tell me, when I’m fresh and clean I feel freaking awesome. And shaving my legs always makes me feel like I have my act together.
PS: This post was inspired by the young ladies I guide daily to love and accept themselves. Not just part of themselves but all of them.
May we live to be an example to the women who come after us. May we stand in unity and lift each other up. Let’s be rebellious and love ourselves and shut those voices in our heads