Thoughts about Body Image

Over the holidays I thought a lot about body image.  It seemed like once I was removed from my feminist world, the negative body images poured in, most likely influenced by my mother’s Wii Fit (nothing can make you feel as bad about yourself as a computer telling you that you are older than you really are…).  I kept having to remind myself of what I liked about myself just to keep sane.So in the next few weeks there will be a series of posts about body image — some from me and some from guest bloggers (yay!!) We’ll talk about why we like the way we are and how we are influenced by the images around us.  So to start of the new year, here’s why I like the way I am:

It’s taken me a long time to be able to confidently say what I like about me and why I like it.  And even though today there are still things I would change about me, I’m comfortable with how I am now.

I love my curls. It’s taken me years to be able to say that, but I love them.  I love how they mark me as different and I love how they’re fun.  I love that they are completely unmanageable when I wake up in the morning.

I love that I have short legs — short enough to earn the nickname ‘Stubby’ from my sister. My short little legs are the perfect size — and they are strong.

I love that my body type is representative of my heritage.  I have curves from my mother and get freckles in the summer thanks to my dad.  I love that people assume some things about me based on how I look and I love watching them realize those things aren’t true (as awful as that sounds).

The one thing that I struggle with about myself is weight — as in I always feel like I’m underweight.  I’ve been told on several occasions that I am too skinny, and that lead to horrible body image for me in high school (my family is all very small, and growing up somewhat ‘normal’ around them made me feel chubby.  Screwed up right?). There was a time when I was happy with my weight, mostly in college.  The freshman 15 worked well on me and I felt confident and healthy.  Then I moved to DC and lost it all.  Since then I’ve felt insecure about myself again.  But the difference between this insecure girl and the insecure girl from high school, is that this girl knows that it doesn’t mean anything more that what makes me happy.

And this is not to say that I don’t have days when I feel twice my size and ugly as anything.  But I think it’s both normal and healthy to have days like that.  A while ago, my best friend and I were discussing this — how when those days happen everyone tries to make you feel pretty and tells you to ignore those feelings.  We both agreed that those comments never helped and that sometimes the best way to make that feeling go away is to indulge and spend the day on the couch.  I like to think of those days as re-energizers. The next day I wake up determined to not be a bum and do something productive and that makes me feel confident and pretty again.

This blog post took me much longer to write than I had anticipated.  It was harder to come up with what I liked about myself and why than I thought.  Which I think speaks to how we all deal with body image.  I tell people all the time that I like the way I am.  But when it actually comes down to it, it’s hard for me to categorize those feelings.  It’s almost a situation where if I tell myself enough I’ll believe it.

Maybe that’s the trick.  Just keep telling myself over and over that I like the way I am, and one day I’ll be able to have no problems saying what it is that I like about me (physically anyway.  I have no problems talking about what I like about the rest of me!)

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One Response to Thoughts about Body Image

  1. Stephanie says:

    This: “Which I think speaks to how we all deal with body image. I tell people all the time that I like the way I am. But when it actually comes down to it, it’s hard for me to categorize those feelings.”

    Spot On. And – in my opinion – tragic. We’re not taught to talk about what we like about our bodies. However we’re taught over and over and over to discuss what we hate about them. Tragic.

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