I’m always saying that our Tumblr blog, which was a shot-in-the-dark-turned-gold, has led me to some amazing, ultra-inspiring people. One of these people is fellow Tumblr writer fresh gypsy, who was kind enough to share with me a confession-style piece from her blog. This particular confession was about the relationships that women have with their bodies and I found it to be really truthful and thought-provoking. I hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you to think about your bodies in a more positive way!
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Red Booth Confession #26 Ladies… we are SO hard on ourselves! Seriously. There is an epidemic of collective self abuse that MILLIONS of women endure in silence. .I was just chatting with searchingformybliss about a major irony for most females…In our youth or teenage years, when our bodies are blossoming with ideal resilience, we do not have the life experience to be reverent and appreciative of our physical form. Then as we mature into adulthood and our bodies begin to evolve and shift – we spend YEARS comparing ourselves to the way we looked when we were in high school. We beat ourselves internally for changes that are occurring naturally. .Sadly, I only achieved letting go of this comparison recently, in my mid 30’s, which means that I have spent half of my life mourning the ass I didn’t have one an ounce of gratitude for at 16. A woman in her 40’s comparing her body to a woman in her 20’s is as futile as comparing New York to Los Angeles. Coastal metropolis? Yes. Center of culture? Sure. But they are DIFFERENT, in so many other infinitesimal ways, that to even try to compare them is like speaking different dialects. .One of the first major hurdles in accepting the body is approaching it from the only position that exists – where you are NOW. I am not 17 anymore. I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore either, but I held on to a pair of my cig-smoking-20-something-skinny-jeans WELL into my 30’s, torturing myself with the pointless comparison. To the women that are blessed with children – your bodies adapted to motherhood just like your lives have. No one needs to tell you that when you’re legs up in the delivery room – but somehow that understanding evaporates when you are standing in front of your mirror, harshly comparing yourself to your pre-baby life. So many factors effect the condition of our bodies… health problems, emotion, stress, work, time, finances, geographic location, weather … the list goes on. When approaching your body, be fair and gentle in acknowledging all the elements it is juggling, right NOW. People complain that advertising or models or media or entertainers distort our perception of the female body. This may be true, but to me it’s like blaming the 18th car in a 100 car pile up. The grand MIND FUCK is the overall abyss of mixed signals that we are receiving from every angle…
- skinny is better
- thin is happier
- slender gets the guy
- girls that are too thin are sick in some way
- if you’re skinny you’re a conformist, folding to the pressures of society
- muscles are manly
- large is less sexy
- obesity means your lazy
- over weight equals depression
- heavy means loneliness
.BUT … “embrace your curves, girls!” OH … and “don’t forget to LOVE YOUR BODIES, ladies!” Holy c-o-n-f-u-s-i-o-n! How the fuck are we supposed to ‘love our body’ if every way we look at it has an undercurrent of being “wrong” in someway? The female body has become a walking Catch 22… if we’re big we’re worthless, if we’re small we’re selfish. WHAT THE HELL? Since this is the Red Booth, I will share where I stand, today: I no longer blame society for the way I feel about my body. I’ve made this conscious choice because if I blame society than I am giving society too much power over my life, and quite frankly – I want to steer this ship. I am far enough into my spiritual journey, that I have to take responsibility for myself. Society does not make me gain or lose weight. I DO. I choose what I eat, when and how much. I choose how many cocktails I have. I choose whether I go to the gym. I choose all of my coping mechanisms. I even have a choice in my thought patterns. I acknowledge that society whispers certain pressures, but I choose to own them if they manifest a clutter of chatter in my own head. If my self talk becomes negative, then by owning it as mine, I maintain my ability to turn down the volume on the noise. If I tell myself that society is calling the shots, then I might as well bind my own hands and settle in to the lullaby of the mind-fuck-mega-phone. .Ya follow? .I have not walked in the shoes of a soul in an obese body. But I have gained and lost… and gained and lost… and gained and lost enough weight to be able to relate to every portion of the emotional battle that occurs within a woman struggling to make friends with her body. .Where am I, in this relationship, NOW? .To be honest, I am 36 years old, and in practically the best shape of my life. I do not say this casually, as if by happen stance, with a lack of gratitude or to boast. The current relationship with my body is a direct outcome of revised inner dialogue and two years of consistent physical work. It finally dawned on me to just ask myself… HOW DO I WANT TO FEEL ABOUT MY BODY? The next step was giving myself permission to achieve it … FOR ME. I want to be fit. Not because Demi Moore is fit, but because I WANT TO BE FIT. There is a lovely equalibrium that occurs in my vibration when I am taking care of my health. Certain elements of my anxiety stabilize because I am being mindful, self nurturing and have a responsible outlet for stress. Certain elements of my attitude stabilize because I am doing more self appreciating, than I am self loathing, and that strengthens my self esteem. It’s not just my weight that becomes lighter, it’s my intangible spirit, which I am projecting into the world. When I feel good – I am more positive, which attracts better energy. It is a CYCLE. I wish to evolve beyond this battle. It is a two way street… I don’t want to blame society and I don’t want to apologize to anyone else for wanting to be in shape. I’m not a blind, gullible sheep. I am a woman that is willing to be accountable for the quality of her life experience. I want to treat my body with respect. I want to be strong. I want to be flexible and lithe. I want to feel physically pulled together and in control. I want to sweat out toxins. I want to beat the shit out of an elliptical. I want to feel a rush of endorphins. I want to be able to do a cart wheel, in the back yard, with my step daughter. I do not take care of myself FOR society… I take care of myself for the moment I am alone in my closet and experience the liberating FREEDOM of gliding in and out of my wardrobe without one breath of self condemnation. I do not take care of myself FOR my husband… I take care of myself because it makes ME feel sexy, which is an energy that also happens to be appealing to my partner. What I want for my body is to be as free from self loathing as possible. I support any weight, that anyone has the desire to be – IF you can honestly exist there in the absence of self loathing. Please don’t tell each other that you are ‘embracing your curves’ if you are hating yourself on the inside. Please don’t convince yourself that you are at peace if your goal is eating 300 calories a day. Self loathing is as abusive and destructive to our SOUL at 95 pounds, as it is at 135 pounds, as it is at 345 pounds. The front line of the battle with our bodies is not society – it is the inner dialogue that is happening in private, between our ears. It is an utter shame that women are not more gentle to each other in collective understanding, but we are often too busy comparing ourselves and judging each other. Self acceptance and mutual compassion is not produced in Hollywood or on Madison Avenue… they are choices that we are going to have to make for ourselves. Putting on your ‘big girl panties’ is not about the size of your ass; it’s about the width of your mind and the depth of your heart. xoxo .* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * .Absolutely brilliant. I love the topic – self-loathing. I think it’s something that most people do (definitely had my fair share), and we are so used to doing it that we hardly notice. It becomes the language that we use with ourselves. We need to be responsible for ourselves and our thoughts and treat ourselves with more respect and love. Folding to the self-appointed pressure of following society’s ideals is a choice that we make and that no one can force us to do without our consent. .All that Freshgypsy said, I couldn’t have said better. One more thing I would like to add, is that self-abuse is a habit and cycle. It often doesn’t just stop when you want it to – it is something you may need to work on. But by replacing one negative thought at a time with a more positive one and by consistently being more appreciative, understanding and nicer to yourself, you are breaking the pattern. I can’t stress how important this is – you only have one life, one body. Do you want to waste it in hate? .A big thanks to fresh gypsy for these amazing words of wisdom! (All images used are from freshgypsy).