i said i would post yesterday, and i certainly did not. i lied.
while i could try to justify myself and tell you all about my boohoo-sob-story of a day, i'll just accept my stinky-liar-ness.
moving on, shall we?
today's topic: accepting changes.
the first time i remember noticing my body had changed was when i was 10. it was just a normal day at swim practice, and i was in that lovely, i'm-so-awkward, not a baby, but not a teenager stage, and i was in it full force. ah yes, puberty.
i was standing in line for my turn off the starting blocks, minding my own business. the swim suit i happened to be wearing that day was pretty old, and honestly, a bit sheer up top, but we didn't have a lot of money, and i was 10, so hey! what did i care? i was a late bloomer, mentally and physically, and i was probably flat as a board (ah, i miss those days!). unfortunately, i was swiftly informed by a teammate that i was a slut for wearing a suit like that.
um... excuse me? at ten years old, i had never heard the word "slut" before.
but the damage was done. shamed, embarrassed, and singled-out, i left practice early that day counting down the minutes until i could throw that wretched suit away. i spent that night wracking my brain, trying to comprehend the terrible offense i had committed.
then it hit me... there must me a difference between girls bodies and women's bodies, and that difference must change everything. i knew my mom looked different than i did, of course, but she was an adult, and i was a kid!
but maybe, just maybe, i wasn't as much of a child as i thought i was anymore. maybe i was past the point of innocence, of youth. maybe it was time i started paying more attention to my body, boys, and what i wore. how could i have been so stupid to have missed it?!? apparently, all the other girls had gotten the memo, and i kept walking around like an ignorant fool in my sheer swim suit.
i was mortified.
since that day, my awareness of my body has never. left. my. mind.
it has been a consistent learning experience, a source of unending struggle, and my daily emotional battle.
i have judged it, tortured it, exercised it, starved it, loved it, pushed it, touched it, been ashamed by it, stretched it, stuffed it, belittled it, praised it, and hated it.
in almost 11 years, my struggle with my body has never slowed down. not for one, measly second! it never ceases to bring a new challenge into my day, be it against food, my mind, or others' judgement.
but one thing i didn't prepare myself to face was that it would continue to change. year after year, day after day, actually.
see, i knew this: there are not two categories of women's bodies - child, and adult. likewise, there aren't even two shapes of women's bodies - thin, and curvy.
no, just flip open any magazine you could pick up at the doctor's office. within its glossy pages, you could find probably 100 adjectives alone in reference to our bodies: pear-shaped, curvy, thin, athletic, shapely, boxy, straight, toned, plus-sized, sickly, healthy, busty, hour-glass, pre-pubescent, anorexic, large, etc.
you know what throws me for a loop?
i don't know about you guys, but if i think i've figured out my body's "shape," the next time i work out, go pee, or eat chocolate, it's not the same, and now i've got to figure it out again! in one years time, any one of those adjectives could have described my body... i haven't stayed "one shape," ever!
my body changes week to week, literally. clothes that looked good on me 6 months ago probably don't look so good today. what kept me full 6 months ago might not be what works this week. and i certainly feel differently about my body today than i did 6 months ago...
i've felt restless, almost homeless, because i couldn't pinpoint exactly what shape i was. honestly, i've felt almost like i have no identity. i can't locate my shape in the latest article of "flatter your body with these shorts!", so i must not exist. my body must not be normal.
no one really prepares us to dress the body of a living, morphing, chameleon. we are humans, not primary shapes. we are individuals. you can't define a human like a cookie cutter... at least, not for long.
how can we stay happy with our bodies if they don't stop changing?
1. adjust your thought process.
first of all, i had to realize how ridiculous "defining our bodies" is. i would be terribly offended if someone thought they could sum me up as a person in a few words, so why do i treat my body like that?
secondly, i had to ask myself, "why do i care?" this is crucial.
do i believe i suddenly will be sexier if a sales clerk defines me as a "pear" instead of an "apple?"
do i believe i am more beautiful if i can pick out my body shape, identified by Glamour magazine?
the truth is, bodies do not belong in a category, like a subject in school. my body is beautiful no matter how it is catagorized, identified, or grouped for a magazine article. it's the same before i read the article as it is after i read the article. it's the same no matter what is trendy, fashionable, or how designers make their shorts this season.
2. realize your shape is unique.
i think as women, we tend to put our bodies in two possible catagories: fat, and thin. this is dumb. even if it was true, "fat" and "thin" looks different on each of us, depending on your age, race, lifestyle, genetics, and diet.
example: when i was heavier, i looked a lot different than my mom when she was heavier. when i'm thinner, i look a lot different than my mom when she is thinner.
also: as a silly little white girl, i probably look much different at this weight than, say, an asian/african american/ethiopian/german/french girl at the same weight... get it?
i've definitely been guilty of thinking, "well, if i'm not thin, i'm fat." but there is a HUGE space between fat and thin, with most of us not being one or the other. we aren't at an extreme, so to say - we're in the body "no man's land." we are out-of-shape and athletic. we are hippy and straight. we are busty and flat-chested. we are toned and womanly. it's not as simple as fat and thin. even being part of the majority, we are unique.
3. and unique is wonderful.
i know it's cliched, but it's awesome, and it's true. you are the only person who can ever look just like you. you are the only one who can rock your favorite jeans like you, run a race like you, dance like you, sing like you, style your hair like you. you are the only you there will ever be. people will be jealous of you for that! seriously!
so how would you like to live out that legacy? how would you like to be remembered? what would you like to do with that power of being the only you?
i know i have let my self-consciousness rob me of enough. i'm ready to own this body i have today - not ten pounds from now, not when my skin is clearer, not when i am in better running shape, and definitely not when Glamour magazine says i am an "apple," "hourglass," or "round" shape.
4. now, challenge yourself.
strip down and look at yourself in the mirror. scary, i know, but just do it before your next shower or something. really examine yourself.
what are ashamed of?
what does your body say about you?
what don't you like about it?
what memories does your body bring back for you?
how has it failed you?
how has it frustrated you?
how has it embarrassed you?
phew... that's the hard part.
pondered those for a while? good.
all of these answers are part of what made you who you were. they have shaped your thoughts, your body image, your self-esteem. they made you, you.
now forget all that.
that's not who you are anymore. you are not your past! you are who you are today.
to be positive about our bodies in every phase of our lives, we have to commit to a continual process of self-evaluation. every day, we must wake up and face the world with the body we have today, not yesterday or last year. we must make peace with what we live with right now, and we must do it daily.
still naked? good. ask yourself a few more questions.
so who are you now?
what awesome goal has your body let you achieve recently?
what do you love about your body today?
what is your favorite feature about your body?
what do you receive complements on the most?
what is your strongest part?
what has a significant other expressed delight in?
what is your favorite part to dress up?
these answers will vary depending on how old you are, what day it is, and if you got 8 hours of sleep or 8 shots of tequila the night before.
and that's ok. really, it is.
change doesn't always mean bad. our bodies are in transformation from the day we are born until the day we die. change is the process we call life.
the way you feel about your body is how people will feel about you. seriously. if you hate yourself, other people pick up on that. if you deflect every complement you ever receive, people will sense your insecurity. if you feel powerless because of your weight, people will assume you are unmotivated.
all this to say, what you see in the mirror is defined by what your innermost feelings are. if you don't love yourself, fake it. preach it to yourself daily. ask why others can love you when you can't love yourself.
a body is just that - a body. it's like your car... it goes from A to B. it takes us places. the value of a car is not really that it's a car, but that it carries precious cargo. the same is true for your body... it holds the treasure that is you. your spirit. your emotions. your dreams, hopes, and ambitions.
look in the mirror every day and tell yourself - you were wonderful yesterday. you are wonderful today. you will be wonderful tomorrow. that does not hinge on your BMI, the scale, or your body fat.
i am going to start reminding myself of this: your body, your circumstances, and your address will change, but YOUR WORTH does not.
have you struggled with changes in your body?
has losing/gaining weight/muscle/fat changed your thoughts about who you are?