It’s a thing all women think about at least once in their lives, usually at least once an hour. With certain things that have been said lately and just because I felt compelled to, I wanted to write a little . . . I don’t know, SOMETHING on the subject.
There is so much pressure out in the world to be humble, to stay small, to not get too full of hot air and not fulfill too much of yourself for risk of being seen as arrogant, selfish, and downright hurtful to everyone around them. It’s right in the language, don’t be too full with your own spirit, the Self in selfish is Bad.
Honestly having been a victim of these repetitive attacks I can’t stand it. I can’t stand watching my friends and loved ones wilt at the sight of themselves because their abs aren’t professionally airbrushed, because their birthmarks aren’t photoshopped off, because scars never really heal.
Mostly though, I can’t stand it because it is not real.
This idea that you are bad because you aren’t the template plastered on a billboard is a completely made up concept. There are so many genuinely beautiful people in the world killing themselves with diet plans, with expensive surgery, with plastered chemicals on their faces chasing that idea, not even of being perfect, of just being enough. As if self fulfillment ban be bottled for $39.99 a pop.
This is, of course, been the goal all along and it saddens me to see so many falling to it.
I’ll share a small story that really woke me up to this. Having taken my fair share of marketing and psych classes I Knew these psychological marketing tricks existed. Having taken digital art classes and being thoroughly familiar with photoshop I KNEW the ideal image was just a well made filter in an art program.
Still I looked down at myself in the morning and like most women, I didn’t like what I saw.
There was this little bit of excess around my middle that I couldn’t shake. I couldn’t call it ‘fat’ but there was a pudge, this soft little doughnut around my waist just below the belly button that just hung around taunting me: “You could wear a bikini again if only you worked hard enough to make me go away.”
What I was really saying and what so many of us are really saying is: “I could be desirable, I could be happy, I could feel better if I could just erase this stupid stubborn Flaw.”
So I worked out, I ate less and even though my arms toned up to the status of wonder woman, even though my thighs gained their shapes back and my skin glowed with approval, the pudge remained. And I despaired.
Standing in front of the mirror one day I tried to think of new workouts to use, what else could I do without, how else I could just overcome this last piece of failure. Then my three year old son walked up to me. Quickly I yanked down my shirt, hiding my shame even from him. He walked up quietly and grabbed the edge of the fabric and tugged.
“Oh that’s just Mommy’s belly.” I assured him.
He gazed at my most hated feature and mushed his little hand into me. He smiled in awe, poked my freckles and tried to imitate the word for them without much success. He Loved my belly, and didn’t even understand that my gazing was from a place of self loathing and not self admiration. I laughed because oh kids they’re so cute, but every morning after that he would walk in looking for me, and if he found me gazing in the mirror with troubled thoughts he would either play with my tummy fat like pay dough or just look at his own belly with a smile that said: Isn’t this great? Bellies are so cool!
At first it made me a bit sad that he was so oblivious to my suffering but seeing that look again and again made me really see: I was hating myself for no reason. There was nothing wrong with this little bulge, how could there, my little guy was just so very happy and content to look at our bellies in the mirror and marvel at them so openly.
And sure, I don’t gorge myself on 10 pizzas a day, that would be crazy unhealthy, but now I don’t stress myself out over what one ice cream bar is going to do to my waistline. I don’t refuse the cookie my daughter decorated herself for fear it will set me back, I don’t pass on cake at parties or refuse to do all but nibble at Barbeques. Sure I keep to one piece of cake and a reasonable amount of food to stay healthy (high cholesterol and diabetes runs in the family after all) but here in my late 20s I have realized something monumentally important:
Life is too damn short to adhere to unrealistic standards
Especially considering all the needless misery that chasing them has caused
Trust me: No matter what you think it is, unless it is a literal tumor that is making you physically ill, or an ailment that interferes with your everyday activities, I promise there’s nothing wrong with you. Even if you’re plagued with a medical problem, this too will pass or can be treated, it’s not the limit of who you are as a person.
Your freckles, your wrinkles, your scars and imperfections. They make you so heart wrenchingly beautiful and unique, not despite them but Because of them.
All of you. No exceptions.
Some people will liken themselves and their personalities to walking dumpster fires but have you ever seen a literal dumpster fire!? They’re spectacularly terrifying and intense!! People with weight issues liken themselves to whales and seals but both those animals are so darn cute! Go Goolgle image search a seal right now and try to hate it I dare you!
People with curly hair wish it would lay flat for a day and put hot irons and product to it while people with perfectly straight hair douse themselves in hairspray and curling irons. people who are pale want to tan, darker skinned people paying thousands for skin bleaching. It seems that to some degree we all have a bad habit of taking ourselves for granted.
In conclusion: Stop buying into self hate culture, you’re not full of yourself for having a smidgen of self confidence, or even a giant heaping dump truck full of it. You’re not a bad person for being who you are even if that person isn’t so confident or can’t cook the perfect breakfast, even if you’re socially awkward or just a plain clutzy wreck in every direction. People who fail to ‘human’ correctly are usually the main star of the show after all.
Every interesting character in every story ever told has fatal flaws and I bet your favorite movie/t.v. character does too and you freaking love them for it.
I know this has been a bit long winded but for today I’ll ask only this:
Don’t worry so much over the little things in your appearance I promise no one notices them nearly as much as you do, and odds are someone out there even admires the thing you see as bad.
And most importantly: Look for the character in yourself and smile, there’s someone out there that would sorely miss it if it were to disappear.
*Hint it’s probably me <3
~The Wandering Idiot~
*edits to fix spacing issues*