Is the perfect body worth it?
I can’t tell you how many hours, how many days, how many years I have wasted worrying about my body. There have been years where it consumed my every waking hour. From the moment I woke up, food and being fat were the only two things I could concentrate on. Who would ever love a fat pig like me? Why didn’t I have the perfect body?
My weight obsession started when I was only 8 years old when I compared my belly with my friends and noticed they didn’t seem to have the same rounded tummy as I did. I wanted to be that popular girl you saw in every American high school movie, so of course this meant I needed to look a certain way. I needed to be skinny, to have big boobs, to be sexy but funny too, I needed to have beautiful hair with bedroom eyes and long legs. Surely having all this wasn’t that hard to achieve. Little did I know that all the energy I wasted trying achieve my ideal version of beauty, was destroying my soul and crushing my confidence.
And I’m not alone in my thinking. The pressure to have the perfect body is everywhere and difficult to get away from. Media advertising shows us everyday what we should look like. We should be skinner or prettier or taller and we should all be striving for this unrealistic image of perfection. What is perfection to one person is ugly to another but we are striving to be something other than who were are.
Looking back at some of the things I did to try to achieve the perfect body and it sickens me. All the pain I was in, all the disgust I felt, all the hatred that consumed me because my body was failing me. I truly believed this perfect body I had, a body that was healthy, was actually letting me down. In my mind I had large thighs, a wobbly stomach, cellulite and small breasts. Who could possibly love a body like that when I hated it?
I remember one of my goals was to look good in a pair of denim jeans. I believed I had a big arse and standing next to my size 8 girlfriend, I probably did. So when I went out I would position myself in a room so my butt was facing the wall and away from attention. I dieted every second of the day. I over exercised, constantly stressing if anything got in my way. I starved my body and often hid from the world and all for what. To finally fit into a pair of denim jeans and still hate what I looked like. No matter how hard I worked to achieve a goal, when I finally got there, I was no happier. I was never enough.
How could I expect to be happy if society told me I was not enough?
When you look in the mirror and the first thing you see are what you deem to be your flaws, how on earth is this a healthy perception? How can we teach the next generation to embrace their body, their individuality and love what reflects back at them, flaws and all? The battle starts at home but as the child grows, the influences become so powerful that unless the child has a solid foundation, nothing is going to stop the negative thoughts from creeping into their mind. There is not one stage in a woman’s life that she is free from society’s version to be better than what they currently are.
- Little girls are told they are beautiful – like a princess.
- Teenagers are bombarded with sexualised images to enhance their assets and improve their features as this will make them normal.
- Everyone should own that little black dress
- Thin and sexy are signs of a successful woman in the work place
- Telling a pregnant woman how fabulous she looks as she is all baby.
- The yummy mummy
- Fabulous and forty
- Fifty is the new thirty with wrinkle creams and active wear.
This list goes on and on and the message to woman is beautiful is only external. If you have the perfect body, you will be happy.
If I embrace my perfect body, will you?
I have been on this roller coaster, fallen victim to society and there are still many days I curse this body I have been given. I have never looked better, felt healthier and had such a strong positive mental attitude, yet I society still shouts at me that I do not have the perfect body.
- I have a stomach that looks like I have had four children with excess skin. Shit – I have had four beautiful, healthy children.
- I have cellulite that society tells me with good diet and exercise (oh and pills or cream) it should go because no one wants to see your disgusting legs in public. Well I do have a healthy diet and I do exercise and my cellulite has been their since I was 18 yrs old. Fuck it – it’s a part of me and it stays.
- I have scrawny little boobs that sag way too much. Crap – they have only fed my children and never actually let me down. These disease free boobs with stretch marks stay.
The day I gave birth to my first child, was the day I noticed just how cruel I was to myself. I had just grown and entire human being, given birth and as I stood in the shower feeling elated and exhausted at the same time, all I saw was my floppy, weird-looking stomach. How could I let this precious little baby go through all the hatred I had been through and still feel I was not enough. Relapsed that day I was never going to be enough if I let myself believe that. I was more that just a body. I was a beautiful and kind soul and now I was a mother. It was my new role in life that made me realise I had my self-image all wrong. My children would learn that they is enough – ALWAYS.
I cannot stop the external influences on my children, but I can develop their own love for they bodies, flaws and all. I am yet to meet that perfect body, that perfect person who is ACTUALLY happy.
Have you embraced your body?
Linking up with Kylie Purtell for #teamIBOT