Hi friends! It’s been a while since I’ve written in this space (as always). I’ve actually been writing more than ever but have been hesitant to post here as I feel that my thoughts need to be much more structured and edited on this medium. The medium reflects the mood. But I wanted to do a quick thought dump on the following topic: body image. This week I was talking to one of my friends, who I love dearly and think is an absolute fire cracker. She strikes me as confident – and I have always thought she was gorgeous both inside and out. She inspires me to be a confident woman in the workplace (and outside of it also). Which is why I was shocked when she told me the following: “I HATED my body, for 20 years.” The way she said hate, was visceral—like she actually truly felt like her body (the outside) was betraying the person that she was (the inside). Recently she made a change in her life, and she has lost a huge amount of weight. On the outside, while I can tell she has lost weight, there isn’t a huge shift in my mind. But her personality is even more HER, if that makes any sense. She’s more outgoing, more talkative, more open. She told me she FEELS different and she finally made the damn change she wanted to get her body to match who she is.
On one hand, I’m so happy that she was finally able to get the body she wanted and that she finally feels free to be who she is. On the other hand, I’m deeply angry with our society and the societal pressure she faced and that we all face to look a certain way. I’m overwhelmed with the thoughts swirling around in my head. How do we balance the fact that we should have the right to alter our outer shapes with the fact that society pushes us toward one correct outward shape? For her, it was the right decision and she seems so much happier with who she is (and just period), but for others, they make changes and then don’t recognize who they are in the mirror, and are no happier than before.
I don’t know the answers. I have been thinking about it a lot. I think at the end of the day we should all feel comfortable in our skins (and do whatever we need to do to get there), and if we are comfortable, everyone else should feel comfortable with that too. I’ll leave you guys with something I wrote January 14, 2014 (below) that feels very personal to share.
I stumbled upon this beautiful video while searching for interesting designers for my job. I love the message of this video. We have discussed body image and body acceptance many many times on this blog and in life, and we will probably continue to discuss it as needed. I find the statistics at the beginning of this video absolutely appalling and kind of horrifying, but this is true life.
I found myself smiling with my entire being at a lot of parts in this video. Occasionally when I look in the mirror I find I am tearing myself apart. To me, my mind and heart and soul will always be my number one assets (easily devalued in our current framework of society, and difficult to see via just our outside forms). I never feel like I’m trying to “fix myself” when it comes to these things. I always want to improve myself, there is no doubt, but it’s so different. I want to devour books like there is no tomorrow (I bought like 10 books in the past 3 days I have a problem) and learn ALL OF THE THINGS and there has never been any doubt in my mind that I can fit love and acceptance for another new person in my heart. But when it comes to my body and I look in the mirror I always think, “I would look so much better if I lost 15 pounds once and for all” or “I wish I had clearer skin”. Sometimes I even look at pictures of myself that I LOVE and I wonder, “Do I actually look like this in real life?” I don’t know why I do this to myself when I am so loving of other people—I can find beauty in almost every face or being and I truly think every person has something you can fall in love with. I don’t know. I really just don’t know. Sometimes I feel like a goddess/warrior/superheroine/sparkling human being and sometimes I feel like I’ll never be skinny enough, pretty enough, “fuckable” enough.
I feel most beautiful when my heart hurts from how splendid and divine life is—a conversation that forces me to rethink everything, a book that inspires something within me, a view that steals the breath from my chest, quality time with my favorite people.
How could a body that holds all of this not be beautiful?
I stand by a lot of the things I said four years ago. I think the only difference is that I’ve drastically reduced the negative thoughts. I still have them and I still think them, but I try not to dwell on them. I’m more unapologetic in who I am. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love me because of the way I look (nor would I want to know them). But I know I am lucky because of that, and that people face prejudice every day because of the way they look.
Talk to me you guys. How do you feel about your bodies? What is your body image? When do you feel most beautiful? How can we be better? I want to know.