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Archive for December, 2011

Sometimes I feel like life is just an exercise in repeating the same lessons over and over again until they are mastered. As we head toward a new year I’ve been thinking a lot about where I am on the path to mastering the lesson of accepting my body.

At the beginning of this year, instead of once again vowing to lose weight, I made a resolution to make 2011 the year I finally made peace with my body. One of the ways I followed through on this resolution was to start this blog. My journey this year, just like the timeliness of my blog entries, has been far from perfect. At the same time I can see signs of progress.

Last week I read a fantastic post at the blog Already Pretty about flawed notion of  body flaws.

…the assertion that bodies can even have flaws implies that some bodies are flawless. It creates an imaginary and impossible hierarchy of beauty that women strive to ascend. It makes us all feel inadequate on a fundamental level because flaws are damage, errors, mistakes. Flaws are wrong…

…Your body is NOT WRONG. Your body is NOT FLAWED. Your body is also not perfect, but guess what? Neither is anyone else’s, and that’s just biology. Anyone who wants to talk to you about how to hide or mask or eliminate your flaws wants to sell you some crap that they’ve invented. And whatever crap they’re selling may slowly, subtly strip away your humanity and uniqueness. Because the Beauty Machine believes that we all want to look like identical airbrushed photos of former humans, and it sells us that desire over and over again.

You get to decide what you love about your body and what you want to show off. You also get to decide what you don’t love about your body and what you don’t want to show off. This is not to say that if you haven’t learned to adore and proudly display your keratosis pilaris that you’re a failure. No, indeed. Bodies are complex and our relationships with our bodies are complex. You as an individual get to make choices about how you dress your body and why, what you downplay and what you highlight…

This post stuck with me when, exactly a week ago today on vacation with my husband, I took the opportunity to really look at my body in a full length mirror. My eyes focused on my usual “problem areas” that have lead me to have an on-going love/hate relationship with my body. He saw my narrowed brow and asked me what I was thinking. I admitted there are parts of my body that I still don’t like, but said that I have decided to love them anyway, because they are a part of me. He hugged me and told me he found my answer “deep and impressive.”

I laughed and admitted that I was paraphrasing something a friend had said about a different situation that she chose to accept because it was a part of her. This friend, Kim, also helped me re-learn a lesson about body image with her recent post on A Brave Life. In the post she talks about how everyone has their own body “flaw” that they feel is holding them back, and described her own experience coming to accept her percieved appearance short coming. The reason this struck me is because I know Kim in real life and to me she always looks beautiful. This “flaw” that was once so apparent to her I never even noticed. It made me wonder again how much my percieved flaws really matter to anyone but myself.

While I know I still have more work to  do before I can say that I’ve mastered accepting my body, I know  for sure that I’m farther along now than I was when this year began.

 

 

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