My friend Alicia posted a brilliantly honest piece on her blog this morning that I can not encourage you strongly enough to read. The online world, which is usually a fair echo of the real world, seems to constantly flow back and forth between body shame and overly confident body pride. I’m all about loving yourself, but it seems like an unrealistic expectation to expect constant acceptance at a constant rate. I’ve spent years hating my body and how it looks, and I remember feeling so ashamed that I couldn’t be proud of my body the way others are. I’ve come a long way since then, but I still struggle. There are days where I hate my stretch marks and days where I feel like my skin fits me perfectly. Side note? I’ve felt a huge surge of confidence with my own body since cutting my allergens out. It’s not that I’ve lost any weight, but I didn’t realize the full extent of how bloated and swollen I was.
Anyway–I loved the honesty in Alicia’s post, so I figured I’d echo it in support, as uncomfortaable as it makes me. The whole point is that it shouldn’t be uncomfortable, that I am a beautiful work in progress (unfinished & perfect, amiright?).
I weight approximately 170 lbs.
I stand at 5’3”
I wear a 32D
My core measurements are 38″ 32″ 42″
I wear anything from a size 8 to a size 12, depending on the cut. When I was in college my range as a 6 – 10 range, although I pretended that I couldn’t wear anything bigger than an 8, since I was sure that being in the double digits of size was this unforgivable line I couldn’t let myself cross. Fortunately I realized wearing clothes that fit is way more comfortable.
I like that I have curves. I love the indent of my waist, which is something finally reappeared again after I cut out wheat and eggs. I love my calves–they may not fit tall boots but they have some curvey muscle on them from all my bike riding. I’m excited about my arms again, which has a lot more to do with my pterodactyl than anything else, but I’ll take what I can get. I’m a big fan of my eyes and my eyelashes. I love my hands, too, and I love my long fingers and that I can grow long healthy nails (when I’m not busy biting them). I love the mole on my upper left cheek–even if it means people occasionally wipe their spit on me. No joke! It hasn’t happened for years, but all the way up to early high school I would have strangers do the spit wipe, telling me I had a smudge of something on my face. So gross and so awkward.
I struggle with my stomach, although not-swollen belly is easier to love. I used to be incredibly self conscious because the way I would bloat after eating made it look like I was several months pregnant. My family joked about it, and I know it was all lighthearted, but it’s still something that makes me incredibly self conscious. The funny thing about egg- and wheat-free eating is that I don’t look like I’m in my second trimester after meals anymore. Yay!
I also struggle with my chin and jawline. Ever since I had jaw surgery (orthodontic based, they broke my jaw in the mid and on the sides and reset it) I feel like I have no chin. My face seems to have just enough fat to create a smooth gradient from chin to neck that makes me afraid of my side profile. While we’re on the subject of my face silhouette, I’ve been a little self conscious about how sharp my nose looks, especially coupled with round eyes.
My thighs aren’t something I think about, but whenever I read about the new ‘trend’ of ‘keyhole thighs’ I get a little self conscious–mine definitely rub together without tights, and they have stretch marks. Rachele from Nearsighted Owl definitely made me feel a million times better about the “chub rub”, and I resonated with one of the commenters who wrote that she used to think her thighs rubbing together was a natural punishment. It’s not a punishment–it’s called biker shorts, and they’re a godsend.
My summary? I’ve spent years struggling with my body image and accepting how I look. I’m at the point where I refuse to talk about needing to lose weight–I refuse to tell myself I need to lose weight. I’ve been drilling the new philosophy that my lifestyle is what matters. Developing and maintaining a healthy relationship with food–eating healthy, indulging in treats, avoiding my allergens is my priority. Keeping my physical activities in check, bike on a weekly basis, walk Lyra plenty. If I do those things, if I live a moderately healthy life, there is nothing for me to worry about when it comes to how I look.