Women, you've been lied to
And we've all bought it. Hook, line and sinker. Every last one of us.
If you are of the female persuasion you unfortunately have been told by media, society and everyone else that not only is your most important attribute your appearance but in addition you are supposed to fit into someone else's idea of how they want you to look. It is ingrained into your existence. You are expected to appear in unrealistic ways and by simply looking like yourself you are told you are inadequate. It starts early. You have been so objectified that you have unreal expectations of yourself causing body dysmorphia.Yeah thats right, you've got it, no matter how perfect society says your size and shape are, you are still judged by your appearance and that is messing with your head. Nowhere is this idea more aggressive than in a bikini with all your parts exposed and ready for inspection.
I have so many thoughts about how damaging and controlling this is but I also think if you want to, you can step away from the madness, you can let it go and be free to just be you. It would be incredible for society to take us on our terms, to value our beings instead of our appearances but we can only ask for that if we do it first. I think this starts by saying that we are enough and making our own rules. As an example recently Alecia Keys made a radical move and stopped wearing make up, like all the time, not because she doesn't like make up but because she wants to send a message that we are enough. Just by being ourselves, we are enough.
In my business I constantly listen to women's ideas about their bodies and I know how deep this judgement runs. Women will talk to me about the rollercoaster of emotions they have about their bodies for hours. They will tell me things about their bodies that are simply just not true. I love you but we're neurotic and warped. To put it in perspective, if a man did this we would literally think he was insane. No judgement of ANY woman who partakes but it is the reason for botox, fillers, implants, eyelash extensions, exorexia... the list goes on. The idea that you are somehow inadequate fuels a huge industry where every single woman I know has a complaint about her appearance. I have had so many gorgeous women in front of me picking apart their bodies while I'm thinking "How can i possibly get her to see how incredible she really is?" Thats the rub, you're not seeing your own beauty! For years I have not allowed negative body talk around me so I thought that I was immune.
Because I lived in bikinis, loved my body and spent so much time helping others with positive body image I thought I would always feel comfortable in my skin. Not so spring-chickenish & some injuries later I was out of my usual physical but also mental shape. Exercise keeps me sane. At times when I looked at myself in the mirror I would think negatively about my body. I noticed this one day and thought, this is ridiculous, WHO is putting these ideas in your head? WHY are you thinking like this? I decided to fix it. I walked out of the room and put on some rose-colored-self-loving glasses, the kind I give other women. When I walked back in front of the mirror, no lie, there was this BEAUTIFUL woman in front of me, A woman that I love. She Had It Going On. All I did was change my mind about how i wanted to think about myself. In a few moments i went from self criticism and negative self talk about my appearance to feeling beautiful and happy with my whole person. Which was great because I have about a thousand better things to do with my time than worry about my manapua-potbelly. Miss me with that, I'm gorgeous y'all.
So, I challenge you. If you have negative ideas about the way you look, think about where they are coming from. Are they coming from an idea someone else has about the way they think YOU are supposed to look? Check in with yourself about the way you look and feel. YOU get to decide those things. Take control of how you think about yourself. Don't believe the hype. Celebrate yourself. How much do you think negative body talk is impairing your happiness? How much mental space is it taking up? Personally, I want to feel healthy, happy, strong, vivacious and kind. I think if I feel that way I wont need to get a spray tan, botox and a Brazilian butt lift to feel pretty. It means eating well, dancing, drinking hella water, alone time, being active, helping friends, getting enough sleep and being creative. But sometimes (like this week) there is no time for that so it really it means accepting myself any which way. It means being kind to myself ESPECIALLY when I'm not at my best. Treating myself like someone I love. It means taking care of the person on the inside because she's my buddy and goes everywhere with me. You gotta have your own back
Even though I have been a champion of body positive thinking for years and have vehemently expressed that women of all shapes, sizes & colors are beautiful I have perpetuated the lie we are told. Although I have put forward a sporty, healthy & adventurous image & don't retouch my photos I have been remiss in including bigger sizes in my photos...and by bigger sizes, I'm talking about average size women! Part of the reason being that your average size woman doesn't want to be photographed and have their body judged under a microscope. That is how bad our dysmorphia is. But that is all about to change so keep your eyes peeled. I got a couple Deeluxe Baddies about to break out.
The take away is that no matter our size and shape we as women are hyper critical of our bodies because we are hyper criticized. We need to be taken for our worth, not how appealing we are to others and that is in our hands. Being beautiful on the outside is just a lil thing we do but it is WHO we are that radiates. People feel you, they feel your confidence and your empathy, they feel your authenticity. Revel in the things that make you unique and special, don't let someone else decide how you will see yourself. Don't dull your unique shine to make others more comfortable, I've been proudly rocking my unibrow & buck teeth since 1971. Practice self love in the mirror and cut yourself some slack. Be your own kind of beautiful. Focus on your specialness because you are one of a kind.
I want to send a shout out of appreciation to my Mama who enforced body confidence from the get. She is the shaper of all of my ideas about positive body image and thought independence. You the bomb, mama. I am a lucky girl.