This is a rather personal question, and my first reaction is something along the lines of…
But I will answer it because self esteem and body image are issues that are very important to me.
I adore my body. My body is fucking incredible. Do you have any idea what it can do? What it does do, daily?
Every day, my body kills off billions of cells while other cells clean up the mess and replace them. It protects me from the infection of various nasties through multiple lines of defence. Though sometimes I feel small, my body contains within it no less than 7 X 10^18 joules of potential energy - enough to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs, were I so inclined, and possessed of the ability to release it. (My ex-lovers can probably attest to this.)
Your body has the same qualities, too. But we aren’t talking about that, are we? We’re talking specifically about how I feel about the size and shape of my body.
The shape of my body is what you’d refer to as “curvy”. I’m not talking the smooth little bumps on a Victoria’s Secret model that magazines would hail as “Healthy Curves!”, I’m talking large breasts and a narrowing waistline that swerves dangerously into fecund Scottish hips.
I’m 5’4, of healthy BMI and wear an Australian size 10 (which is an American size 6). I’ve never heard any complaints about these proportions.
I will never be rail thin - that was just not my genetic destiny. Yes, I think thin women are beautiful (as I think all women are) and I understand why the fashion world centres around them so fully. Thin women are clothes horses, everything drapes and fits so perfectly on them. The viewer can fully appreciate the garments because they are not distracted by the flesh. Thin women are no less “real” than I am. They are just shaped differently to me.
I don’t look anything like a supermodel. If I did, I’d be a fucking supermodel. That’s just not the case, so why would I waste precious energy striving for that?
There is a sickness in our culture that encourages women to feel pain - yes, actual pain, in the form of self-hatred, insecurity and doubt - because they don’t look exactly like a very small set of the human population who genetically possess figures we see as aspirational.
When we focus on our physical appearance and feel miserable about it, we are telling ourselves that all of our good qualities - our intelligence, our compassion, our skills, our love of others, our wonderful, sparkling personalities - don’t mean anything. That what makes us worthy is how we look, and nothing more.
When you really examine this belief, you see how ridiculous and sad it is. Yet it is so inherently ingrained, we berate ourselves every day for not being x, y or whatever z we think will make us happy. Changing your body shape will not magically cure your past and your pain, it just won’t. It is not easy, but with practise, mindfulness and treating yourself with love, you can stop persecuting yourself in this way.
I eat healthily and well, I enjoy exercise but am not a slave to it, and I get told I’m beautiful at least once a day. Sure, I have days when I don’t feel beautiful, I think every woman does, however on these days I am reminded that there is so much more value in my life than what I look like.
As you see, I have a very healthy body image. I don’t hate my body, or want to damage or starve or cut it up. I want to respect it, nourish it and let it experience pleasure.
This in fact is remarkable, when you consider that while my body is thrumming merrily along each day, just doing what it does to survive, I (the personhood who recognises this body as my own) am utterly pummeled with images, text, conversation and suggestions that to be worth anything in life I must alter my body.
I must reduce, tighten, tone, sculpt, eat less, move more, clean eat, cleanse, starve, restrict, be fitter, be thinner, be other than that which I am.
Everyday I am told that in order to be worthwhile, I need to be less.
It’s no wonder so many women spend their whole lives dieting, binging, starving, and obsessing over becoming an impossible media-perfect image. Berating themselves for the falsely perceived wickedness of their bodies.
In answer to your question, no, I do not want to be shaped differently than I am. My life is much more than the pursuit of an unachievable disappearing act.
Reblogging because this got such a response on Dark.