“In life, as in art, the beautiful moves in curves.”
“Beauty: it curves, curves are beauty. Shapely goddesses, Venus, Juno: curves the world admires.”
“The body of a beautiful woman is not made for love; it is too exquisite.”
Aren’t these quotes lovely? I mean … swoon, right? Alas, they are not mine they are from famous old dudes. Just kidding, I’ll be more respectful than that — they are from authors (Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton and James Joyce) and French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. I could Google search dozens of more quotes from famous men and women throughout history that promoted body positivity and the beauty that is the female form. If you’re wondering why I chose some older gents, it’s because I wanted to remind men and women that way back in the day … I mean, waaaaay back when women’s curves were desired and admired. The body positivity movement isn’t new but we have definitely gotten off course. There are ancient statues and paintings of women showing all their lady lumps, which basically means I was either born in the wrong time period or I have the body of a goddess. I’ll choose the latter. And if I have the body of goddess then my dear SO DO YOU.
Now, if you were to ask me a decade ago, I would have said “oh yeah, I’m all for body positivity,” and then I would go home and add up my calories for the day, pinch my inner thighs a few times and look up ways to get the coveted thigh gap. I’d read magazine after magazine about what I need to do to get of my bat wings, chub rub, thunder thighs, etc. I’m not proud of that part of my self-love journey, but it was an important part of it. I did learn plenty about my body, what it is capable of doing as far as physical activity, how my body loses weight and where it also gains weight first. I also learned that I clearly had an unhealthy relationship with food. I would treat myself when something “sinful” if I was a good girl or I would punish myself by saying no if I was “bad.” That’s not a good thing, ya’ll.
Today, with 10 years of marriage under my belt and three beautiful children (all born within 5 ½ years of each other) I’m just now, slowly but surely, learning what it means to be body positive. That doesn’t mean that I love every single part of my body 100 percent of the time but it just means I can recognize how strong and powerful my body is no matter what size jeans I wear. Recently, I decided that maybe I needed to get some blood work done just to make sure that everything was running smooth under the hood. Well for my most part, anyway. My mother had a stroke last month and like most scary things in life, it kind of wakes us up from the stagnant or gray area that we tend to live most of our life and makes us re-evaluate some things.
I met with my doctor and he explained that my numbers — sugar, potassium, calcium were “textbook” and that the only thing that needed to improve slightly was my exercise routine. I already knew about that, I sluffed off all winter because like most people. I let my inner bear come out and I rotated between hibernating and eating, naturally, because that’s what bears do … they might eat more in the spring and then hibernate all winter but you get the idea.
My good cholesterol was a little low, which meant I needed to work out more, which I understood, but other than that all look good … until my doctor pointed out that for the past 6 years or so my weight has yo-yoed between 20 or so pounds and that I was a weight XYZ pounds back in 2012, I could get there again even though it was a long time ago. I’m not joking — he said “Looks like you weight XYZ pounds at one point … oh but that was a long time but still you can get back to that.”
I was genuinely surprised. I didn’t know what to say. If my numbers were really bad and I needed to lose the weight for my health, okay sure, that I understand … but to tell me to lose weight for no logistical reason. Did you feel that? My eyes are rolling so much that I think I just caused a F1 tornado to touch down in Kansas City.
Being told to lose weight because society tells us that in order to be happy if we have to be what society considers “thin” — I wanted to shake my head, my fist and then shake him. It was as if to say that I couldn’t possibly be happy 20 or so pounds heavier than he would like me to be because, I mean, he is a doctor and knows what he is talking about. WRONG Doctors do not always know what is best for you, you know what is best for you. We have intuition for a reason and we need to use it more, and my intuition told me that he was wrong. I shared with him that the commitment I made to focusing more on my mental health than the scale was still important to me and that I would exercise more but if I did lose the weight that would be my decision. He nodded and then we moved on to another part of the exam.
This is what is wrong with society. THIS. THIS MOMENT. How are we supposed to get our daughters to understand that as long as they are healthy they are beautiful? Actually, even if you are not healthy but you are working on it like so many people I know, you are still beautiful. How are we supposed to raise our daughter’s body confident when they are being told that what they are doing is not enough? No wonder there are so many women out there who feel inadequate. We are told in some shape or form that we could be better and do better — drink more water; walk more; we need to CrossFit … no wait, hot yoga … Botox, lipo (discreetly, of course) and … oh wait, I forgot that water is so 2015 and it’s all about fruit infused water, my bad … but hey if it doesn’t work just “fake it” with Spanx. Now, don’t get me wrong I love a good pair of Spanx when the occasion calls for it but what message am I sending my daughter if I look like a biscuit can on the verge of busting open. No one come near me with a spoon, okay? Let also not forget how hard it is to pee in those things. I’m basically telling her lumps are okay if they are the lumps that society says is okay (boobs and booty) but everything else needs to be neatly tucked and folded in.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not promoting people just gorge themselves all the time. Everything is in moderation but I get to decide what that moderation is because it’s my body. You get to decide what is put into your body because it’s yours. Doctors should only comment on a person’s weight if there is a medical issue. I’m not there to be eye candy for my doctor or anyone else and neither are you.
I like to point out that I’m not sure if I will be seeing this doctor again, which is sad because he’s been our family doctor for a long time. I’m still mulling it over but he put a sour taste in my mouth and not the SweeTarts Chewy Sour kind of sour. While disheartening, meeting with the doctor showed me just how much the work I have put into my mental health is paying off. Granted, I still have days where I am anxious and nitpicky over ridiculous things like splotchy skin, a zit, or the fact that by the end of the day I have five O’clock shadow in my pits (armpits, that is). And that’s when I have to remind myself that if someone is so close to my pits that they can see my fuzzy new growth, they need to step away and I need to re-evaluate the relationship.
My hope is that if you come across situations similar to what I experienced with my doctor that you don’t let it get you down. Keep working on yourself, keep your goals realistic and stay strong. Remember, you hold the most important opinion of yourself — you, sweet friend. So make it a good one. If all you have done most of your life is hate on everything you don’t like about your body, try focusing on what you do like and watch your perspective change. Go easy on yourself. No matter if you’re a size 2 or 24, as long as you are healthy (cholesterol, sugars, calcium, etc.) don’t fret about the scale. And if your numbers suck, kudos to you for doing what you can to be the best you. Still, go out and enjoy a messy Popsicle with your kids, eat the damn cake and while you’re at it … have a slice for me but make sure you come back and tell me all about it.
One last reminder, the sexiest body part you own is your smile and sexiest thing you can wear is confidence. And in case you forgot what confidence means, that’s you letting you be yourself.
Now excuse me, I need to go pick up a pizza for my Greek goddess portrait.