I feel like all women, and maybe even some men can relate to the feelings of inadequacy that they eventually encounter when it comes to their looks. I mean, you’d have to be a slug living under a rock (or maybe just never go on the internet) to never notice the media’s projection of how beautiful people should look.
From Kate Middleton’s constant clothing scrutiny, to the latest fab diets of various stars- everyone is trying to look their best. Although non of us commoners are expected to be quite as expensively dressed and airbrushed as the stars, we all still hold ourselves to a pretty high standard, don’t we?
I don’t know about you, but at least a couple of times per day I look in a mirror to assess how decent I look. And while I don’t always wear make up, you can bet I am usually thinking about how pretty (or weird) I appear to those around me. Why is my hair so frizzy? Ugg, I should have woken up before the kids and washed it today. I think I see a nose flake, did I forget to exfoliate this morning? I wonder if I look good (interpretation: skinny) in this outfit.
If you’re like me, all these thoughts swirl through my head daily.
And while most of us can put on a sufficient amount of make up to conceal our pimples, wrinkles, and dark spots, our weight is a harder thing to hide.
At the inspiration of a friend, I was motivated to write this post about the current beauty culture, and the shallowness of it. If you’re a woman, you’ve probably experienced feelings of not being thin enough in your life. I certainly have, and most people would say that I am thin already. That is just to say that we all seem to have this idea that compared to the mostly universal standard of what is beautiful, we will never be good enough.
But let’s talk about this standard, shall we?
First, who sets this standard? It seems to me that beauty standards have always come from the TV, movies, magazines, etc. The most laughable part of this fact to me, is that all of these sources have access to make up artists, professionals who pick out unattainable clothes for their models to wear, and the newest technology- computer editing of photos.
In light of this, ask yourself, are these really the people who I am looking to as my standard of beauty? I mean, if some of the most naturally pretty women must have their thighs “sculpted” by a computer program in order to appear “better” that they truly are, what does that say about MY body?
I’ll tell you. It says,
“You are not good enough the way you are”
“Your body is not good enough the way it is”
“YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH”
Well I am done with that logic! In fact, I call big fat bullshit on that logic.
It’s shallow, worthless, and worst of all, degrading to the very human lives it was created to serve.
It’s been ages since I thumbed through the pages of Cosmo, or Seventeen to figure out which of the beautiful girls I wanted to try and emulate. And while I try to only choose reputable articles to find out what products can make my skin, hair, and personality all better, until the past few years I would still secretly beat myself up for not being thin like I used to be, and for letting my physical appearance go after having kids.
After my first of five beautiful babies, I was so focused on losing the baby weight that I was literally trying to diet and breastfeed at the same time. I didn’t care that this was not advisable, I needed to be thin again!
With subsequent babies I was a little more forgiving of myself for carrying extra weight, and realized that it would go when it decided to go, and I was not going to diet to get rid of it. In fact, I specifically ate whatever I wanted with some regard for my overall health, but with less regard for my weight and muffin top.
With my last little one, I had a revelation. I felt better pregnant– which was also at my heaviest weight I had ever been- than I had even 40 lbs lighter after I gave birth to my first baby and was dieting like a sleep deprived maniac new mother! The difference was, I stopped caring about what the media told me I should look like, and I started being grateful that my body was healthy, and had miraculously given me perfect and healthy babies. Somehow I had transformed from someone who’s identity was based on being a thin person (which really, there are so many disappointing points that I could make about that identity), to a person who loves my body UNAPOLOGETICALLY simply because it’s mine, and this is me.
I will probably still care about what I look like to an extent in the years to come. I will still check out multiple swimsuits in the dressing room to find the most flattering one. I will still do squats every now and then in hopes of perking up my rear. But I can promise you that I will care a whole lot more about what I feel like more than how I appear to others. Because, this is me- unapologetically.