Don’t stare at me like I’m an alien. Do you want me to start?
Well, to begin, the stretch marks on my stomach would make for a great roadmap of California. And while we’re at it, my boobs sag. Really, they might as well drag on the floor and make little chalk drawings of abstract art. (Don’t you dare laugh. You know some odd duck out there would pay millions for that.)
Wait, why are you still looking at me that way? Seriously, did you think I was going to tell you to just saddle up and love your body? Right here, right now?
Yeah, no. If it were that simple, we would not all be here learning from others in this nice little body love section of Curvicality. (I learn from others, too.) Come on now, you know I’m right. And I promise there’s a good point to this less-than-positive intro.
That point is this: Everything has an ending. Better yet, every ending comes with a new beginning. But for that beginning to shine through, you’ve got to make peace with the past and understand why you struggle with your body image in order to let go of how you think things should be.
Trust me. I get it.
You may be angry that your body has what you perceive to be flaws. You may think your body should be different. You may think it should be easier to feel good about how you look.
It’s OK to be frustrated. However, until you make peace with these “shoulds,” and why they exist, you can’t and won’t end your journey with body frustration in order to love the skin you’re in.
You’ll fight yourself to the core.
I haven’t always been in love with my body, that’s for sure. In fact, I was my own worst frenemy. I used to masquerade as a confident woman, when inside I was feeling the exact opposite. As soon as I was alone, it was a battle with the mirror. All those neat little things I just told you came flooding into my head every single morning and night. It was a real party of the mentally deranged sort.
No matter how much I worked out, I couldn’t fix what I perceived to be flaws. It irritated me. My stomach was always bulging. My chicken legs were too small in comparison to my round middle. (I have an “apple body” type.) Even my nose annoyed me because I wanted it to slope up just a little.
I spent years reading self-help articles that all said the same thing: “Love your body, girl. You’re perfect just as you are.” It never worked. I still hated every inch of my curves. The problem wasn’t that the articles weren’t right. No, that wasn’t the problem at all. The problem was that I never took the time to grieve the body I would never have and understand why I thought I should have it in order to adore the body that is uniquely mine.
The Pity Party You Need to Allow Yourself to Have
It’s a breakup of sorts. Moving on from body shame is a process.We think we can skip to the good parts without wading through the icky parts. However, wading through the nasty stuff is how we get to the new beginning we all so desperately long for.
To get to this point, you’ve got to process your hurt and self-hate. Acknowledge it. Shoving it under the rug will only make it more pronounced.
Once you do this, you can ask: Why do I feel the way I do about my body? That’s when the new beginning reveals itself. It appears when you free up space for a new beginning in your heart.
None of us were born with compromised body image. We were all born knowing no frustration. Think about that for a minute.
Going back to my “flaws,” I only hated my stretch marks because I soaked up a message that they were a problem. Stretch marks are a normal thing. And if you think about it, they’re actually miraculous. What if our body didn’t have the ability to compensate when the skin expands? Our skin would rip, which is a really scary thing. Stretch marks are not bad, wrong or ugly. They’re an amazing example of the body’s ability to adapt.
As for the boobies, that’s another example of a societal expectation that screwed up my body image. Saggy boobs are normal. Gravity is a thing. The only reason we think saggy boobs are unattractive is that we’ve learned this from the media.
Please, take that first step. Allow yourself to grieve what you wish your body was. By doing this, you can figure out why you feel the way you do. Find the root of those messages. Body love is waiting for you on the other side. Your body will thank you later.