On my 12th birthday I was gifted a subscription to Teen magazine. I’m sure the shift would have happened eventually but this is the first moment I can pinpoint being given a reason to be wary of my body. Prior to that I don’t remember thinking much about it! I look back over my teenage years and most of my fantasies were about changing the way I looked. I actually daydreamed of getting in a car crash that disfigured me so badly I’d have to have plastic surgery to correct the damage. Of course in my mind, I’d get to design the perfect face and the body to go with it. I remember wishing for the lustrous hair that my childhood dolls had, for Scarlett Johansson’s perfect mouth, and to trade my “chipmunk cheeks” for Angelina Jolie’s sculpted jawline. I’d of course have my boobs done and my waist pulled in tight and tiny. I’d give myself a butt lift (or maybe those silicon implants. Yes. That’s a thing.) and shapelier hips. My skin would be flawless. FLAWLESS. No more dark circles or weird moles. I’d look at pictures of beautifully fit women with captions like “Today, be the Badass Girl you were too Lazy to Be Yesterday!” and “When you’re Struggling: Imagine your Dream Body”. And I did. I dreamt and imagined and dieted and juice fasted and ran for miles and lifted weights and stared at myself in the mirror and sobbed. I had huge dreams but It never occurred to me to go after them until I finally “got it together” with my “misbehaving” body.
I’ve been feeling sad lately. Sad about all the people I talk to who are still here, who are still waiting for their body to be “acceptable” or even “perfect” to experience what they want in life. It breaks my heart to think of all the things I could have done with the energy I spent trying to makeover my appearance. It makes me ache to think of my 8 year old sister ever hating herself the way I did and I’ll do anything to prevent that. If more women started putting their life force into creativity, making the world a better place, or doing whatever lights then up, we could create such positive change. I’m not saying we shouldn’t take care of ourselves- we can’t get very far in stressed out, unhealthy bodies. I’d just love to see less shame and comparison coupled with more acceptance and love. I’d love to see less magazine covers (at every. freaking. checkout stand.) advising us to “Hide your Flaws” or even “Embrace your Flaws”…Flaws?? As a hero of mine, Amanda Palmer, says: “what’s a “flaw” anyhow? let’s look it up. it’s “a mark, fault, or other imperfection that mars a substance or object.” MARRED? dude. i’m FINE, me my personal collection of hard-won scars and hairs and curves and and stretch marks and twinkles and wrinkles and folds and flaps and muscles and and freckles and lashes and nails and veins and stuff. they’re not “flaws”. fuck that. they are the exactness of me and always will be, nothing to be done about that.”
Do you think it’s possible? Do you feel stuck in the cycle of hating on and constantly trying to “improve” yourself? What if instead of desperately trying to drop pounds, you focused on dropping what’s not important in your life? Dropping beliefs that are holding you back? Dropping foods that steal your energy and vibrancy? Dropping anything that keeps you from being completely yourself? I have a feeling that would create a glow and lightness that would put the “beauty” and “weight loss” industries version to shame.