I had another conversation yesterday with a friend about weight and weight loss and being disgusted with our bodies. Why do we do this to ourselves? How can we possibly expect to be healthy inside our selves if we’re constantly dissing the outside of our selves? A couple of months ago, I did a guest blog for the Bettyverse on this subject–loving who you are right now. I pulled it out and reread it yesterday afternoon. I’m reposting it here because one of the comments I received about it really hit home:
Anyone with a daughter needs to show them this post.
That comment made me wonder what we are teaching our daughters about their own self-images. Are we turning another generation of females into women who believe that if they aren’t the ideal, then they aren’t worthy? Let’s not do that, okay? Note to self–you are a delight exactly as you are!
Here’s the post:
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. —Anais Nin
US (French-born) author & diarist (1903 – 1977)
Suddenly, I thought, “This is my body. I live in it. I play in it. I can’t deny it anymore. This is my fat body. I’m standing at the corner of Life and You Better Get Going. I stepped off the curb and never looked back. —Camryn Manheim
American actress (1961–)
I am very body aware, and I’ve spent way too much time in my life fretting over other people’s opinions about my body. I’m overweight and for years, I was on a diet. For about thirty years or so, I completely ignored my sensual side. Maybe unconsciously (but probably consciously), I believed that a big woman had no business trying to be sensual. I know it’s sick, but there it is.
I have to admit, I was much more aware of my sensuality when I was younger (and thinner), but being so young meant I was unable to really appreciate that aspect of my femininity. Instead, I wallowed in guilt because good girls didn’t acknowledge or act on those kinds of feelings, and besides, I had no idea how to separate sensuality from stupid teenaged libido. I married young, got bigger, and my sensuality truly went into hiding in the midst of pregnancies, mothering, and the day-to-day trials of marriage and having a family.
But when I turned fifty-four and began to manifest menopausal symptoms—hot flashes, night sweats, short-term memory loss, moods swings, restlessness—something else very surprising happened to me. One summer day, I actually stopped and looked at myself after a shower—something I’d never done before. I’d always ignored mirrors as much as possible since the woman reflected there wasn’t even close to America’s skinny ideal. I gazed at the round woman in the glass—flushed from the shower, her blonde hair tousled, her blue eyes sparkling, and I had an epiphany. I’m pretty. And curvy. And actually, kinda sexy.
That day something opened up in me and now all my senses seem to be heightened. I’m hyper-aware of how things taste, like juicy fresh pears or red wine and chocolate; of how light and shadow play on surfaces; how music sounds; how much I enjoy the touch of strong male fingers on my skin. I love the sun on my face or a breeze in my hair. I love putting on lotion—it’s a minutes-long stroking experience now, instead of a slap-dash rub and hurrying into my baggy pants and top to cover up. I love wearing clothes that are silky or soft rather than sweats, clothes that reveal and enhance my shape instead of hide it. I even started sleeping nude just for the touch of the cool sheets against my skin and the feel of a warm body next to mine.
I’ve discovered my sensuality again. But this time, I’m older and aware of how very brief a time I have on this Earth, in this body—my body. My round, bumpy, beautiful . . . sexy body.