When I started dieting, I stopped looking in the mirror and seeing myself: the vibrant, accomplished, happy young woman that I am proud to be. I stopped seeing myself and I started to see my belly that sticks out… and then I wondered, how long will it take to work that belly away? I started to see my rounded calves and imagine how much cuter they would look if they were slim and shapely. I looked at my arms and saw flab to tone away, looked at my thighs and saw a jiggle that had to be stilled, looked at my face and saw puffy cheeks that needed to be drained… the more I looked, the more I broke myself down into parts, problem areas with targeted exercises to go with them.
I started out trying to feel better in my body (and yes, also trying to make a skirt fit the way it used to) and managed, somehow, to unravel so much of the progress I’ve made over the past six years; as if that skirt, that decision, was a loose thread that I pulled just a little too hard, tearing everything apart.
Stumbling across this picture today, via Beauty Schooled, helped to push me towards the realization of how very damaging my mindset is. I’ve been trying, for the past month, to chip away at my body until it fit that one mold of what is acceptable; and I’ve being doing it all under the guise of simply being more “health conscious,” a lie I used to hid my true intentions even from myself, lest I admit that I am a hypocrite.
Aside from being hypocritical of me, honestly, how boring is that?
Part of what makes this world such a wonderful place is the sheer amount of variety that exists between bodies. Everyone’s body has it’s own special little creases and folds and curves and spots, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. The photo above was a part of a magazine issue meant to celebrate body diversity… give me a break! This is nothing against the women pictured, don’t get me wrong they are beautiful, but thanks to the wonders of photoshop and the restrictive nature of the modeling industry their bodies all look incredibly similar as a whole.
This is body-image-in-the-media-101 but it bears repeating: I am sick of the same body type being glorified over and over again, to the exclusion of anything else. If I am taking care of my body (whatever that may mean to me) and feeling good why should I care what I look like?
So I went back today and I re-read my Ugly Manifesta, which will forever be one of my favorite posts here. Then I threw on every bow-covered article of clothing I own (because why not?) and vowed to have a fun, productive, and happy day without any guilt, no matter what that meant the scale would say tomorrow morning (I also think I’m going to go back to not weighing myself because it’s making me feel just awful.) It’s time to start eating a more balanced diet (but still enjoying treats in moderation!) and moving more because I want to feel healthy not because I want to look thinner.
It’s time to remember that this is what a happy, excited, passionate, intelligent, feminist who just scored a huge internship and deserves to celebrate with a trip to the ice rink & something sugary looks like! Almost a year ago today I started Self Esteem Awareness Month. I spent the first few days of this week tweaking the concept so we can do something similar again this August… because I can’t be the only one who needs the self-esteem boost.
For the time being, feel free to post a recent picture of yourself in the comments and/or tell me why you are awesome!