WARNING: FEMALE BODIES AHEAD
Can I be honest with you? Like really really honest?
I have hated my body for years.
(This is the point where all 3 people reading this will sigh because the ‘honest’ statement was kind of a give in.)
I mean really, what female these days doesn’t have something she doesn’t like about her body?
I’ve been noticing a lot of self-image stuff lately… And not in a good way.
Like on Pinterest, every day there’s posts like this:
A picture like this shows up entitled “PERFECT BODY!” and “Inspiration!”
I don’t know about you guys… but I’m concerned about that woman’s nutrition. I can see her ribs on both her sides and up at her collar bones. Her abdomen is so thin I wonder if she is able to menstruate in a healthy pattern. And she has so little muscle I can only imagine how weak she is…
Part of me feels terrible for ripping apart her body, and at the same time – we need a wake up call!
Media’s image of “perfect” is unhealthy!
A photo has recently been circulating the internet, trying to get people to realize how crazy our demands on the female body are.
This is today’s “plus sized” model. With surgical lines drawn to depict how much her body would have to be altered to achieve the Barbie body.
uhmm… THAT’S NUTS PEOPLE! Like really, really nuts! (not to mention the fact that she’s considered PLUS SIZED)
Now let’s get personal…
WARNING: MY FEMALE BODY AHEAD
In 4th grade, my sister and my neighbor told me I stood like a banana and that I looked like a duck.
In 6th grade, my teacher separated the class pulling all but me and one girl aside saying that the other girls were skinny and us two leftovers… not so much.
In 7th grade, a fellow classmate called me a beached whale.
In 8th grade, a boy told me he was “OK” with me being somewhat chubbier than the other girls he knew.
In 9th grade, someone asked me if I had ever considered breast reduction surgery.
In 10th grade, a man asked if my sister and I were twins. When we told him that Haley was older, he looked confused and said to me “But you are fatter!”
I could go on and on.
Word sting. And they all have added to the lens of how I have looked at myself for the past who knows how many years.
One of the most difficult things for me is that I have been the SAME height and weight since 7th grade. I am 5’5.5” and I weigh 145lbs. As a sophomore in college, it’s not a really big deal anymore… but as a 7th grader. That was a big deal (no pun intended).
Until 10th grade, I was always taller than the boys around me. I was always bigger than my gal pals. People were always commenting on my wide hips, which have lovingly been entitled “the harding hips” since they seem to run in my family.
-My friends always had the flat-hey-if-I-flex-you-can-see-my-six-pack bellies.
-They had the small, cute, perky boobs.
-They had the thighs that didn’t touch each other when they stood straight.
-They had the arms that didn’t wiggle when they brushed their teeth.
Add onto that, that I come from a family of very thin women.
-My mom decided to join my dad on his diet and her friends told her to stop before she got too skinny.
-My oldest sister played soccer for her college on scholarship and understandably had that great athletic body.
-My other older sister could wear any new trend without having cleavage spill out everywhere or her body look like a pregnant potato.
-My youngest sister is a straight bean pole. She’s got runway body.
Then there’s me.
-In a family of thin girls, I got the curves.
-In a family of athletic girls, I got the asthma and the side stitches.
-In a family of smaller-chested girls, I got enough boobage for all 4 of us daughters.
I have never thought I was overweight or too fat. But ever since 4th grade, I always saw myself as that “Could lose some poundage” kind of person.
That’s changed. Dramatically.
In 12th grade, I had someone tell me that my body is the exact type that psychologically communicates “fertile” to men…and therefor makes it attractive. Being someone who wants to be mother, that struck me in a positive way despite the fact that they had just likened me to a psychological sign of a breeding ground.
In my first semester of college, I did some research and discovered that I have the exact same measurements as Marilyn Monroe – she owned sexiness like none other.
and in the past year, God has shown me value of being made in His image.
I am a representation of HIM. I reflect His glory, His creativity, and His beauty. There is nothing more peaceful than looking into the mirror and seeing “loved” and “made in His image” instead of “chubby” and “awkward.”
Honestly, I think the cherry on top was dying my hair red (pun intended… hopefully you got it). I like to tell people that my hair color is like my personality… too crazy to be normal… but too normal to be crazy. It’s what made me see myself as… well, me.
I recently looked in the mirror at myself. Red hair. Big nose. Wide hips. Scars. Stretch marks. Cellulite. and all. And I loved it.
I took a picture of myself, and wrote in black what I used to see and in red what I remind myself of every time I start to hate on my body.
I didn’t see a lack of “beauty.” – I saw “unique” which made it beautiful.
I didn’t see “fat.” – I saw “full and soft” which reminded me I was healthy and feminine.
I didn’t see an “awkward girl.” – I saw a woman, confident and comfortable with who she was.
The best part was walking away from the mirror, and realizing that I was also PMSy and bloated.
I am beautiful.
I will tell myself that every time I look down at the rolls on my belly, or the stretch marks on my legs, or my jiggling arms, or my bumpy, curved nose.
I have a healthy youthful body. And I will continue to remind myself that I am made in God’s image even when I’m saggy and wrinkled. If I marry someone, he will be the kind of guy who wants to work out with me because he wants me to be healthy, not because he wants me to look different – and he will see me as beautiful and tell me that despite the world’s definitions of my imperfections.
This clay is learning to be comfortable with the way the potter made her.
So embrace who you are and how you look.
Remind yourself that you are made in God’s image
which makes you beautiful in it of itself.
Remember that unique is beautiful, not uniformity –
and confidence is attractive, not worry.
Find the positive. Cherish the “negative.”
And never forget to…