Thursday, June 13, 2013

Disarm: Thursday Thoughts on (Body Image)

I didn't start this blog to share my metaphysical musings with you. I generally don't think I'm horribly metaphysical anyway. Give me a few glasses of red wine and I will probably go there (and you'll wish I hadn't), but right now my head is mostly full of useless bar facts. By the way, in case you were wondering, in Maryland, even if you catch your wife and her lover doing the tango in your bed, DON'T KILL THEM. No voluntary manslaughter exception in Maryland. So I know that. 

Back to the point. While I'm certainly no philosopher, there is one thing I consistently think about that I feel is a valid topic on this blog. That is that ever dreaded discussion: body image. Self Esteem, Self Love, being comfortable in your own skin. The topic most exhausted by women everywhere. 

Let me first say, I HATE this discussion in general. We've heard it ALL. It goes something like this: 

First of all, Marilyn Monroe was not actually a size 12. I HATE THIS MYTH. Have you ever tried on a vintage dress? I rest my case. I just don't like being lied to - even in the name of self esteem. 

SEE. Just to clear that up. 

To get to the point: All the mixed messages weigh on us everyday. DONT obsess over your weight, but don't be overweight. LOVE your curves...but just ten extra pounds increases your risk of heart disease. If you exercise while you're pregnant you'll have less baby weight to lose. Pasta is the DEVIL. Kim K better get her shit together. 

I'll tell you right now I don't have the answer as to how to mitigate the damage all this does to our psyches. All I know is it drives me insane. Its also the reason I shop. It's probably the reason you shop. Retailers have figured out that we are easily susceptible to "thigh slimming" shorts and promises that a new hair product or cosmetic will work wonders. Haven't you ever wondered about the size inflation at Jcrew and Anthropologie? It makes us (me included) feel good that we fit into whatever size they put on the clothing. 

In the interest of metaphysical honesty: I'm insecure about my appearance sometimes. Not all the time. I mean, I definitely have those moments when I look in a mirror and think, "I look good!" But I also have those moments when I don't treat myself like I should. 

I could go into a rant about society being a horrible place - or tell you that I think most of the body image issues today are caused by other women (I DO think this). But this is the only thing I want to say: 

Take responsibility. 

Society isn't changing. The people in it are going to judge you everyday, from all corners. We can berate society for its conflicting crap, or decide to take responsibility for our own mental well-being and healthy body image. It may be society's "fault" that you feel bad about yourself, but the blame game will get you nowhere. I have to put the blame aside and focus on what I can do to feel at ease. 

Here are the things I must accept: 

I'm never going to be tall.

I'm never going to look like this

That is O.k.a.y. 

But I can also do what is in my power to make myself the happiest I can possibly be. For me, that is generally keeping to a healthy diet and staying active. For you? I don't know. It's what works for you.

Thats the thing, some people enjoy working as hard as possible to look like Gisele! Some women truly do love their curves. 

You will not find the answer to this in a store. You won't find it in any juice cleanse. You are only going to find it by working at taking responsibility for your mental state. Setting all health goals aside...this is my only new goal, to be 

I think, maybe this should be the general goal? To feel comfortable and happy? I think the only way to do it is individually. You have to take responsibility for your own thoughts and actions concerning your body. You can blame society for your low self esteem, or you can work to change it. 

I am not on my high horse. I have not yet accomplished this. I'm sure today I'll think about the size of my thighs at least once every hour. I'm going to take banishing those thoughts one step at a time.