Back in college, I took a sociology class where the professor was fantastically off beat and got us to think outside of the normal thought pattern about life and certain schema to do with body image. I'll never forget that class. Her main saying was to "re-frame the gaze" in which we look at the world, and I've thought about it ever since. Roughly two months ago, I read an article and I wasn’t surprised at all with what it had to say. It wasn't as enlightening as it was depressing about society and the nature of women's thought patterns regarding their body image. It stuck out in my mind and has since inspired tons of thoughts and #sagaciousstatements, but I thought it really applied to this week’s guest post from my friend, Dee.
“Roughly 90 percent of women are unhappy with the way that they look” and the author of the post said she didn’t personally feel good about her appearance until she hit 40. FORTY!!! As unsurprising as the data is about females who loathe their own bodies, it’s a terrible thing for you to go through over half of your lifetime trying to fix something that isn’t even wrong.
What does the 90% mean? It means that even IF you are categorized as ‘thin’, you hate something ELSE about your butt, thighs, arm fat, *whatever* it is. HOW SAD IS THAT? That ALL of us, for the most part, have such a negative perspective to find something wrong with the vessel of life we walk in everyday… I don’t want to be one of them anymore. Neither did Dee – all it took was one defining moment, and now she’s more focused than ever before.
“When everyone in kindergarten were sticks, I had large calf muscles and defined arms. I was always a larger size and felt so out of place. I used to ask my mom if I could shave off some of my bone so I could fit in. Apparently, that’s not an option. As a result, I bounced around from using diet pills, battling anorexia, bulimia, and joining intensive exercise programs. Those ‘solutions’ only led to fostering more hate towards my body and created a cycle of love/hate for food, increased my self-loathing, and my eventual desperation.
It took a challenging and grueling breakup for me to look myself in the mirror and truly take it the phrase "love thyself" to heart. It consumed a lot of my time but I reached out to friends and family who supported my healthier life changes. I started joining walking groups, continued running daily, stopped eating out so much, stopped going out to bars, and created better eating habits. I learned to say “no” to foods that I didn't want to eat and “yes” to foods that were healthier.
I still struggle with my weight and there are days I still feel gross by what I see in the mirror, but I say "Hey... This moment is the only true moment. Everyone has a past and a present; but there is no promise of a future; no promise of a new moment to come.”
Give yourself the same compassion you show everyone else and you will be so deeply loved each and every moment no matter what you think you see in the mirror. You are beautiful."
What I’m getting at here is there is no room for negative thoughts on your journey. NONE. Reframe your gaze – zoom out and see the bigger picture! Change is always scary because it’s new and uncomfortable. It’s about learning to take that awkward feeling and channel it – use it to boost your motivation that you’re making positive steps towards your goal. I have to work on that myself.
Regardless of what it is, a body insecurity, friendship issue, a relationship ending, or a co-worker getting on your nerves about competency - why spend so much energy on the things that bring you down? Life is too damn short to spend it unhappy about your appearance or any other temporary situation.
Commit to the positive! Get up, get moving, live life and love it!