I’ve been remiss in linking to a wonderful series on body image. Several writers and bloggers have participated in a body image warrior week, discussing everything from food issues to media.
I’m a woman. I’m not immune to body image issues. Hell, I started dancing in my pre-teen years and have ample memories of having the “wrong” body type for ballet, of developing (at the time a tiny) body and thinking it was “wrong” and then getting that obligatory college eating disorder. Mind you this was before the internet with it’s pro-ana sites. We had to teach each other how to not eat, over exercises, and count every gram of every thing.
I came out of it reasonably well (no actual need for rehab like a few of my friends), but that kind of disordered thinking does a number on you. What’s stupid about it is, you allow yourself to measure your worth on your weight rather than accomplishments.
(News of note, it’s not just women. Men too find themselves at odds with their bodies.
I’ve heard all the arguments about how it affects people needing control (I did, for various reasons), or media and advertising (of course), or even OCD (I do check the stove a lot) but mainly I still get pissed at myself for caring more about how I look than about my actual impact.
I guess one can’t ever see impact in the mirror.
Aging changes the body, and in ways we don’t always appreciate. Younger readers, get ready. It. Will. Happen. To. You. It’s simply biology and can’t much be fought unless you have massive amounts of money to do super painful procedures on yourself, and even then, things still don’t look “young.” Just….plastic.
One of the two best tips I’ve heard in terms of taking care of yourself is to go ahead and let go of “skinny clothes” because if you’ve aged, had kids, worked out (and gained muscle) etc… you may never get your body back to that point of the original fitting of the clothes. Buying clothes that actually flatter and fit are much better for the self esteem than keeping old skirts and things around that just will not be fit into.
It feels like admitting defeat I suppose, not keeping that gorgeous black taffeta (with red polka dots) 50’s dance dress I bought when I was 18 and which fit until I had my second child (my ribs expanded enough that that’s the part that I can’t zip), but maybe someone else would get much more joy out of it.
Keeping it’s just a symbol of the past. Of who I was. And I’m not that person anymore.
The other great tip I’ve read was that the reason celebrities look good? Is because everything is tailored. Everything. Even t-shirts. No shit.
So here’s to the body image warriors out there working hard to try to smack a little sense and balance into the rest of us.
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