Grateful as f*ck is the new skinny

“I’m so stupid!” said the gorgeous Brazilian woman who was my coworker. “I complained about my cellulite and showed my husband. Until then, he thought I didn’t have any.” This was probably 6 years ago but I never have forgotten the lesson.

To begin with, how could this young woman with her beautiful dark hair, long slim legs, full breasts, giant doll eyes and perfect pouty lips, how could SHE be so insecure about her appearance? And yet, I have too often found myself in the presence of attractive, successful women complaining about some aspect of their body that they desperately want to change.

Film director Sofia Coppola’s unique profile

Of course we’ve all been there! There are days when I think I look like nothing so much as pale soft human-shaped dough. Or lately, I can get obsessed by the sudden appearance of fine lines, imaginary or not, that weren’t on my face the day before. So when I feel crappy and all “boohoo life has handed me a big pile of ugly”, I give myself a reality check…

(And, no, I’m not going to talk about pressure from the media, advertising, creating insecurities, beauty myth, blah blah, you already know this.)

Here they are, 3 things:

  • My body works
  • All the women I admire are uniquely themselves; their “flaws” are integral to their beauty
  • The men who love us have blinders on; they only see what they like

Let’s break it down…

My body works: You know how when you’re sick for several days, life becomes very small? Like, oh, if I could just swallow my own saliva without wanting to tear my throat out, everything would be fantastic?! Well, hey! Everything is fantastic. Right now, every day, super great. My legs get me everywhere I want to go and propel me around the dancefloor. My hands make my kitty happy when they scratch her under her chin and behind the ears. My eyes appreciate the beauty of the colourful autumn leaves and of another pair of eyes. I can go to the bathroom unassisted (yay!). Seriously, all is well.

I’d say the best thing to do if you don’t feel so great about all the amazing things your body can do would be to regularly engage in some strength training exercises. That my arms are a bit squishy really doesn’t bother me because they’re also strong. Do a few push-ups, tricep dips, squats and lunges in the morning before you go to work and start to feel invincible — Rawr!

My squishy/strong arms

Flaws = beauty: I have a particularly interesting nose. It’s weird, I can’t lie. When I was a child, one of my uncles [affectionately] called me “peanut” because of the shape of my nose. It’s also been greatly discussed in my family: where does Brenda get that nose? As a child, I really didn’t like it. Now, I wouldn’t get it changed (or “fixed”, ugh) even if a wildly qualified surgeon handed me a pile of cash. At some point, I found inspiration from the many great beauties who got by with a unique nose and decided there were worst things in life than constantly being asked if I’m Italian. Thanks, Sofia Coppola.

Besides, bland is boring! Think of striking women such as Grace Jones, Tilda Swinton, Helen Mirren; all women who appear to fully inhabit their bodies without apology. That Beth Ditto has become a muse to the notoriously fat-phobic fashion world speaks to the power of owning your personal style and having a strong presence.

Gossip’s Beth Ditto: muse to the fashion world (photo by Lee Brumfield)

Men love us: Back to my stunningly beautiful Brazilian friend’s cellulite — It’s likely that her husband had seen it before, but it probably hadn’t registered as something abnormal or unattractive. The positive side of men’s ability to objectify women is that they really do just focus on the parts that they like. A man who likes your full breasts probably won’t care about your short torso. If your boyfriend loves the shape of your legs, he really isn’t looking at those small red spider veins.

Finally, I think that, for women, believing in our own beauty is one of the most difficult things to do. So let’s try to relax and enjoy how our bodies feel from the inside out. And let’s all be really fucking grateful that we have them!

Thoughts?

Comments

  1. Brenda!!! Wonderful post, darling! I totally agree with all your points. Especially about your nose. I have a bump on my nose too and I have never wanted to change it even though it is not perfect—I still got a husband and he is wonderful. Sometimes, a woman will not even be too sure why her man loves her but when she feels it from him, she doesn’t need any reasons. And your sexy legs make you a champ on the dance floor! Keep rocking 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. […] Feel bad about your body. Exercise to feel strong and energized; otherwise, don’t worry about your wobbly bits. […]

  2. […] peaceful and satisfying existence. I also urge anyone who is constantly self-criticizing to start being grateful. And seek help, whether from your community, a teacher you trust, or a mental health […]

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