One of the things you hear most often, especially from women, is how much they hate how they look. It’s kind of a thing, like loving shoes, getting your hair or nails done, or buying clothes: society has come to think of it as a “woman thing,” usually associated with comments like “I’m so fat!” even if they aren’t.
Not liking the reflection in the mirror is commonplace and to be expected. In fact, if a woman (or anyone) looks at her/ himself at remarks, “Damn, I’m hot!,” people think he/ she must be vain or kidding or “how weird!” When did liking yourself, particularly how you look, become unusual??
This is one of the things that Whitney Thore (My Big Fat Fabulous Life) is fighting against. You don’t have to be thin to like yourself. You don’t have to be beautiful, or talented, or extraordinary (although liking yourself these days seems to be extraordinary enough!!) You just have to be you. This is where so many people end up hurting themselves, either by accident or intention, in their epic quest for the mythical Perfect Body Image (shiny light of heaven here). Personally, I think the Perfect Body Image is hanging out with Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster! Because NONE OF THEM EXIST!!
I may joke about this a little, but this is truly heartbreaking. People live their whole lives thinking “if only…”: if only my ears weren’t so big; if only my nose wasn’t crooked, or have that hump in the middle; if only I were thinner; if only my smile wasn’t so off center. Whole lives lost to unhappiness due to a minor (yes, MINOR) imperfection! When we compare ourselves to unrealistic ideals, we fall far short, because we are human beings, not ideals. “If only I could look like Chris Hemsworth.””If only I looked more like Scarlett Johannsen.” If only….
We have a phrase for celebrities: the “beautiful people.” Somehow we get the idea that looking “beautiful” means life is perfect and everyone loves them. They have no troubles or issues, but we all know that’s not true. We have entire tabloids, tv shows and websites devoted to showing everyone the troubles of the rich and beautiful. Gwen Stefani is certainly pretty and talented and her just as lovely and talented husband cheated on her with the nanny. Russell Crowe is also talented and handsome and his wife had an affairs. Whitney Houston, also beautiful and talented, died of a drug addiction. The same with Prince. (RIP to both of them.)
Loving yourself shouldn’t have to require therapy, but often it does, because it means looking at your flaws and imperfections and saying, “I’m okay with me.” We love others knowing they aren’t perfect, and often we come to love their little foibles, but when we see our own, we see only what is wrong. I have a quote from Dr. Seuss on my wall: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Truer words were never spoken. Those who truly love you love ALL OF YOU and those who don’t, DON’T MATTER!!
I am also reminded of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130: (My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun) in which he tells it like it is about his lover. The last couplet says it: “And yet I think my love as rare/ As any she belied with false compare.” She’s not a goddess or an angel or have rosy lips or a snowy bosom; she’s human and he thinks she’s beautiful anyway. He loves her for BEING HUMAN. (Even in 1600, we were having this problem!! We’ve come a long way, baby! eye roll- yeah, right!)
I came face to face with some of my flaws the other day, when I stopped at the gym long enough to get a look at myself in the full length mirror. (Usually I’m running late for class!) I knew my legs had a lot of saggy skin, but now I really got a look at them, and I took a picture. I was able to acknowledge that they looked worse than I thought they did, and I considered posting the pic on MFP, because it’s me. I hesitated because they look a little scary, in that I don’t want people to see that saggy skin and give up their weight loss because they don’t want to look like me. Fifteen years ago, I had surgery on my wrist and after the staples (real staples!) were removed (with an honest to God run of the mill staple remover!!!), it looked like Frankenstein had been at me. It scared little kids and family members were kinda grossed out, so I wore a bandage on it long after I needed it to keep from scaring people.
I’m not sure if I’m going to post my pic or not. I probably will. I don’t like the way my legs look, but oh, well! This is me and frankly, I like me. I’m smart (and a smart ass), and I think I’m kinda pretty. There are guys who are interested and guys who aren’t. Truly, if I’m going to start wishing for things I could change about me and my life, I’d probably start with blue eyes, and no glasses and maybe fix my ears a little, and then maybe I’d think about getting to my legs. Heck, if I’m going to start wishing for impossible things, can I put Russell Crowe on my list?? Does the Loch Ness Monster take online orders or do I need to call Scotland directly??