Today I had a very involved battle with myself on the last 14 minutes of my commute. When I round the corner of 28 and 89, I always get sleepy and today was no exception. But instead of pumping myself up for an evening run, I just told myself, "No. I want to get in my jams and eat 4 Junior Mints. And. Do. Nothing."
I climbed the stairs to our second floor apartment, and out of breath, I scolded myself. I admittedly felt bad that I didn't effortlessly cascade up them stairs. Counting the months in my head, my distinct thought was, "Well, you only have 3 months until bathing suit season."
Plenty of time to shrink my waist.
That was my thought. Ew. I caught myself thinking about this and paused for a minute. This is my thought every spring: that I have enough time to get smaller. This is the time to get serious about weight loss because I have
. Three months and then I can show off my waist line, even wear my mint green 2 piece, leaving my tankini and boy shorts behind. I have all this time to get
For a woman who has spent so much time painfully trying to love herself in the now, instead of in the future when I'm better, skinnier, prettier, these thoughts are hard for many reasons. First of all, it points out how much more I need to figure out about self-acceptance and loving my body. It also points out that even though I avoid Cosmopolitan because it makes me feel bad about myself, I avoid a lot of reality TV because it makes me feel bad about myself, even though I spend a lot of energy avoiding things that hurt my body image, somehow it still creeps in. Sure, I can proclaim to the masses that I'm okay, you're okay, we're all okay in the skin we're given, sometimes (a lot of times), I personally don't believe that. I want my hair to look better. I want my smile to look like I don't drink coffee everyday. I want my skin to be flawless without wearing makeup. And I want to have a flat stomach, smaller thighs and less jiggle in my arms.
But don't the majority of women do this? I mean, judging by how much we all spend in beauty products per year, I think it's safe to say that a host of industries are getting rich on the fact that we all hate what we look like, no matter what. I read this amazing article about women and accomplishments. They pointed out that a lot of women, no matter what they achieve, always have this wish to be smaller. No matter what size, how successful, there is always this desire to shrink their waist lines. And I am no different. Looking back at photos, I constantly criticize. Ugh, my makeup was terrible (in my Jubilee photos). Yikes I look like a teenager breaking out (in my graduate college graduation picture). No matter what I've achieved, I still don't think I'm good enough, in some way. And those amazing days somehow get dwarfed underneath some giant self-hatred. Self-loathing. Where being gorgeous is the A+ and I have never received anything but a C-. I have coveted being smart as my ultimate goal, but even having two degrees and a successful professional life, somehow not looking model-pretty makes everything not good enough.
Since when was being perfectly skinny more important than everything else in my life?
Dear God, can't I just accept my size 8 jeans, sometimes greasy hair and skin?
I don't really know. I've come a LONG way from a starving high school student hungry for attention and to be tiny. And most days it's okay to be me. But the longing to be smaller still manifests itself, at all the wrong times. And there is never a time where I LOVE my body. What's up with that?
Let's just look at Pinterest. Here are all these amazing recipes for your family that you can make. But if you want abs like your "inspirational" workout pictures, better eat this sad diet food while that lasagna is cooking. Sure, make those adorable cupcakes for your co-workers but unless you want to feel like a giant lard, better stick to 6 "small" almonds for your snack. No nap for you! You better werk that fat butt into shape if you want to squeeze into that bathing suit in three months. And make something cute for your classroom while you're not sleeping. Be. Perfect. In. Every. Damn. Way.
Where does it end? I don't know. I grew up with a loving mother that didn't necessarily teach me to hate my body, but I never learned how to love it "as-is." How do you learn such a powerful skill? As a perfectionist, I want everything to fall into place, effortlessly. I want to relax after a long 12 hour day but I also want to be smaller. I always want to be smaller. And I wonder why. Why is smaller better? Why do I want to have a tinier pant size? What is the value? Ego? Something to post to my Instagram when I reach my "goal?" Am I really pursuing health or do I just want to look like someone I have seen on tv?
I have miles to go in accepting who I am, where I am and what dress size I wear. I want to really believe, "Self, you're absolutely amazing right
, in every single way, a lot like Mary Poppins." Somehow, that feels cheap, inauthentic, something that I just say to myself in order to feel less shallow and more self-actualized. But even if I don't believe it, would saying it still make a difference? If I put it out into the universe that I am not just okay right now,
but I'm perfect right now,
would it help me believe it?
I guess it couldn't hurt, right?
And most importantly, honestly, let's stop judging other women for their clothing choices, their hair styles, their pant size. I know it's tempting to scoff at someone wearing something ridiculous at Wal-Mart but stop it. It's hard enough to be nice to ourselves. We don't need anymore body hating from the rest of the world, okay?