I often think back into my preteen years on what imprinted upon me. To focus on what will help write my daughter’s stories and shape their image of their imperfect bodies.
I bought my first women’s Cosmo magazine when I was about 11, I used to spend my money (babysitting dollars) on Tiger Beat, Teen Beat, Sassy, and Bop, they were full of bright colors, fun clothes, and teen friendly tips. As I made the transition into adolescence, something else in me shifted, body image. Not only was I seeing my self in a different way when I looked in the mirror, but I felt pressure to look a certain way when I knew I would be around others. As I read and became invested in the monthly “how to” guide, things started getting uncomfortable, where I wasn’t good enough the way I was, for boys or friends. For the first time I was shown/told what BEAUTY was, and either I fit the mold or I didn’t possess it. From then on I would strive to be the ideal image of a girl on the pages of that magazine, even my music would shape that, be backed up by the t.v. shows, and eventually I would learn to hate myself for not being born with the genes to fit in.
Isn’t it funny how comparison sneaks up on us? How we go from perfectly happy with who we are in the world to feeling above or below another person in an instant because of visual cues? We all have been there in a store with the one person we didn’t want to see us without concealer on in our frumpy clothes with bedhead. We stumble all over looking for excuses to dismiss our horribly unkept self and try to save face because brows are LIFE, and now we have no credibility any more. lol Or so a viral meme tells us so. The truth is from that moment on we will pick ourselves apart for not “being” pretty; not in public, not in life, and not in front of that person. I remember when I couldn’t leave the house without makeup, perfectly picked outfit, or good hair day. It was a production, hours of work, to step out into the world and fit in. It was like I wasn’t good enough to be myself. I required fixing to exist, inside my own body and outside for everyone else to critique. I got so sick of it, I decided to completely take the focus off others and find what made me beautiful for myself.
Why do we allow others to put beauty on this almost unobtainable pedestal? I say ENOUGH. You dont need to please anyone. Don’t let the unrealistic media planted expectations tell you how you measure up to beauty standards.
As women we are constantly bombarded with the ideal image of what are bodies are supposed to look like. We always fall for it. It makes us cry in dressing rooms, body shame in our minds, and go on crazy punishing diets to fit into it. We need make our thoughts accountable and ask our body’s for forgiveness.
In my fitness journey parts of my body that I used to focus negatively on, became stronger and I was actually proud of them. I could do things I had never done before; mud runs, half marathons, and pushups! One day, I just quit shaming myself because I was too busy loving all of my growth. There is no secret to loving yourself and your flaws, there is no magic formula, there is just kindness. Where ever you are right now, your body is good enough. That doesn’t mean there may not be some changes you would like to make, but it means you can see yourself for your worth without beauty hanging over your head. That body you have right now can do amazing things, things you would have never thought it could. Use positive energy for building yourself up, instead of tearing yourself down. Because dear, you dont need to fit into a box, or compete with a girl in the magazine/crowd, or even your inner mean girl. You have to teach others how to love you and your body by being the example. We have to quit letting the media tell us to conform to a standard, one size fits all or ” ALL needs to be one size to fit”. They do NOT get to choose how we define beauty or the power we feel when we find in inside ourselves. Once we come to terms with our flaws, we are unstoppable.
No one is you and that’s your power. That’s what makes you beYOUtiful.xoxo
Sweat ’til You Shine,
Carleeh @healthysocialite www.healthysocialite.com