Here is the deal.
My body is FAR from aesthetically perfect.
I know that being on social media means that people are going to look at me and make judgements about me. I also know that people are going to look at me, and make judgements about THEMSELVES based on what they are perceiving when they look at me.
I know that no matter what I do, no matter how ‘truthful’ I try to be in my posts, when I post photos of my body (which I do on a daily basis) in some ways I am going to be adding fuel to the fire of self hate, body loathing and unrealistic beauty expectations that exist in the world. Not because I am so stunningly beautiful or perfect myself, but because this is simply the nature of human consciousness at this moment in time. We see what we see, we project ideas onto it, and we make those ideas mean thing about our own worthiness, wholeness, rightness and lovability.
I also know that many look at me and see a thin, privileged woman who touts the idea of ‘loving her body’ - and that many think “Of course YOU love your body, you are thin, objectively pretty and privileged, what more could you want?!”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with this judgement or observation either. 5 years ago if I were to see someone who looked like me telling me to love my body, I would have brushed her off too.
The reason I wanted to write this today, to share that no, I am not ‘perfect’ and that I don’t have it all together, is simply to share that perfection is not what makes one lovable.
I wanted to ‘air’ some of my imperfections, as a way of demonstrating that it was not in all the socially acceptable stuff that I found body love. That it was not in all my shiny bits that I figured out how to embrace the being that I am. That truly, it was facing what I have always considered to be my flaws that was the shifting point for me.
We Hate Ourselves Not Because Of Anything Objective:
I hope that in this piece I am able to show that we ALL perceive ourselves the same way when we are hating ourselves. That it really doesn't matter what the objective truth about how we look, how we act, how we ARE that is causing us to make up our minds to hate ourselves - but instead it is this collective experience of finding reasons not to love ourselves and owning those reasons as truth that makes us feel so badly about ourselves.
It is the collective ideas that we ALL own of what ‘good enough’ would be, and the subsequent measure ourselves lacking in comparison to these standard that causes us pain - not anything in true reality.
The truth is, it truly doesn’t matter what your body actually looks like - everyone who doesn’t love and embrace who they are and what they are is having the EXACT same experience.
There are no levels of self hate, no one who is more justified in their choice to hate themselves than someone else. There may be those of us who are farther outside the ‘bounds’ of whatever is culturally viewed as acceptable in this time and place, but truly, that feeling of not being worthy of love based on how you look is the same in each individual who experiences it. The justifications we have for rejecting ourselves are all perceptively equally legitimate in each individual.
In other words, hating ourselves due to how we look is a UNIVERSAL experience. It is not different for the short Malaysian woman than it is for the big chested Scottish man.
Deciding you don’t look how you should, and that this means you are unworthy of love is 100% a carbon copy of how everyone else who has ever made that choice feels.
Which means that stepping into a place of deciding to love yourself - no matter what your body looks like and how that measures up to societal standards - is the same experience for everyone too.
Loving Yourself Is Self Empowerment:
We all make the same empowered shift when we decide we are not going to let anything outside of ourselves make us feel any less worthy of love.
With that, I am going to give you a whole run down of all the parts of my CURRENT body that are outside the bounds of societal perfection, just to demonstrate that I choose to love myself and how I look every day, just as I am suggesting you do. That there is no inherent place we can get that will tell us we are good enough, that we look ‘right’ and now we are worthy. There is always going to be something we can use as a reason to hate ourselves and to blame that self hate on our bodies.
Or we can choose love. Right here, right now. And we can keep making that choice.
My Flaws From Tip To Toe:
I have thin hair on the sides of my head that sometimes make me look almost bald. This happened when I gave up chicken when I was 14 - and since then my hair has never come back to its full thickness. Often times people accuse me of having an E.D because of this - but this happened WAY before I ever lost any weight.
I have really hairy eyebrows that are often out of control. They are constantly trying to migrate into my hairline.
My profile is really flat, it sort of looks like my face got smashed in.
My cheeks are HUGE. Always have been from the day I was born.
So is my head.
My face puffs up really easily whenever anything happens that my body doesn’t like.
I have dark circles under my eyes often - I am not very good at getting adequate sleep.
I have a carrying angle in both my elbows that makes it look like the bottom half of my arms got put on backwards.
My upper arms jiggle when I wave.
I have a really small chest.
I have LOTS of scars from childhood adventures - one on my right hand from when I got stitches, lots on my knees from falling down, even one in my armpit from when I got stung by a bee.
I have wide shoulders and narrow hips - giving me a more masculine than feminine silhouette.
I have a really lazy colon - which has given me digestive issues basically from the day I was born. I had only two cords instead of the expected three in my umbilical cord, and we think this may have been a sign of issues right from the get go. I have managed to make HUGE progress with my digestive health, but it is still FAR from perfect.
Due to this lazy colon situation, I get bloated. Often. I am not always super flat stomach walking around like miss thang.
I have a benign lump on my tailbone (that we basically can’t do anything about) that sticks out really far AND actually is kinda painful when I sit or lay on hard surfaces.
My tendons and ligaments are really flexible, which means that often times my bones slide out of place, pinch nerves and cause me to have lots of pain. I am pretty good at healing, but it is still a weird thing to deal with.
Due to my hyper flexibility/years of dance and yoga, my gate is SUPER weird. I look like a robotic ballerina who just got out of the factory when I walk.
I have a REALLY flat butt. Over the top flat. It also jiggles.
My thighs jiggle.
I have stretch marks on my butt, hips, inner thighs and calves from when I went through puberty and gained a whole bunch of weight basically over night.
My feet and toes are all messed up from years of dance. My pinky toes are pretty much totally curled under the second toes. They are also all scared and marked up.
Lots and lots of people do NOT like how I look. Many think I am too thin, too bony, not muscular enough, too short, too frail looking, that I MUST be sick.
And guess what?
I still love myself.
I still love my body.
I still think I am good enough. I still think I am worthy of being here.
I choose every day to say no to societal standards that tell me I have to change a whole bunch of things about myself before I am allowed to feel good enough.
I am not perfect. But at the same time, I totally am.
This is the body I have, and it is perfect for MY life. It serves the exact journey I wanted to take. It reflects what I have been through up till now, and it will continue to amass new and interesting characteristics that will tell the story of my journey for years to come.
I love this flawed up, amazing, beautiful body. We have been through alot together, and she has carried me every step of the way. She has adapted to less than ideal circumstances as a way of keeping me alive. She has continued to show me what is and what is not in alignment with me. She has served as my best allie and friend - even when I was hating and resisting and fighting with her. She was always on my side, even when I didn’t understand her and was not on hers.
I love me, and I love her. Flaws and all. Because they aren’t really flaws. They are the tale of this journey.
Just as your body is.
You are in the perfect body for you.
So the only question left is - are you going to spend the rest of your life hating what is yours? Or are you going to empower yourself to own yourself and your body - just as is, right here right now - and declare that you are worthy of love?
Because that choice is always available to you.