2012 appears to be the year that I’ve finally made peace with my physical appearance. Actually, sometimes I think I must have reverse body dysmorphic disorder, because instead of seeing myself as full of imperfections, I tend to be quite pleased with myself.
I mean, no, I know that my boobs don’t defy gravity.
I still have acne sometimes.
I have a little cellulite on the backs of my thighs.
My love handles sometimes like to bust out like they know people.
I don’t have abs you can bounce a quarter off of.
After a lot (and I mean, a lot) of careful consideration, I don’t think I even want them, honestly.
I spent 23 years looking into mirrors and hoping that I would see someone else; someone with a different nose, bigger eyes a more thrilling shade of blue, and a more defined jawline. Then somewhere within the last few months, I stopped looking in the mirror quite so often, and I started being much happier whenever I did. It was some wonderful combination of no longer caring quite so deeply, and the blessing of blossoming later in life, and I’m pretty sure the former influenced the latter in some way.
Here are two quotes that have become a big part of how I approach my physique:
“You have a good mind, a pretty face, a disciplined body that does what you tell it to. You have everything it takes to make a lovely woman except the one essential – an understanding heart. And without that, you might just as well be made of bronze.” – Mr. Lord to his daughter Tracy, in The Philadelphia Story.
“Essentially, exercise in France enjoys nothing close to the evangelical status it does in the States, and in general pressure to look like a female triathlete simply does not exist. “Why do women want washer board stomachs and hard men’s bodies?” Corinne asked me one day as she flew down the rue de Rivoli.” – Entres Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl, by Debra Ollivier.
I’ve loved The Philadelphia Story since I was a kid, and I read Entre Nous in my early teen years – these two quotes regarding a woman’s physicality stuck with me immediately, but I only recently began to really factor them into my everyday life. Of course, I’m still working on the understanding heart part, and none of that means that I don’t find exercise incredibly satisfying or don’t enjoy the way my body looks when my muscles are toned. It just means that at the end of the day, I am very grateful to have a functional and healthy body that listens to me when I listen to it, and I like the shape that I was born to have just as much as the one that I can work hard for.
On that note, I am very sick of the whole “Real Women [Appearance/Action]” movement because it just dissects women into more ridiculous categories and puts them into more boxes to identify themselves as something that is natural for some but unattainable for others. Yes, as a woman with hips and breasts and a tummy who is living in a world of glorified anorexia, it does make me feel better to see the occasional reminder that some people do believe that “real women have curves,” but it totally sweeps over those naturally thin women with “boyish” figures and it’s insulting to their sense of femininity to say otherwise. Chopping women up into tidy little categories while simultaneously painting the entire gender with an incredibly broad brush? No, thank you.
women people look like the best version of themselves, however that is, and do the best of what they want to do and need to do, whatever that is.