Boots: Frye Paige Tall Riding Boots
"And show you all the beauty you possess if you'd only let yourself believe that." - Sarah McLachlan
So, I've gained some weight. How much I couldn't tell you, because I don't weigh myself, but I can definitely tell my jeans are tighter. I've been cutting back in little ways over the past couple of days. No soft drinks and no bowl of ice cream before bed. Damn, I miss my Heath Bar ice cream! Due to the extra pounds, I've found myself being really judgemental and sensitive about my body.
I went to Durham on Saturday, and Jerry and I wandered into one of those Halloween stores that pop up this time of year. I joked around with him that I was going to get a slutty costume. However, the truth is I don't have the body or the self-confidence to wear most of those costumes. I managed to find a tribal goddess costume that covered up all my unattractive parts but still looked cute. I left the store feeling good about my purchase, but also feeling a little down that my body wasn't good enough to wear some of the sexier offerings. Last night, I decided to look on the Internets for some cheap Native American fringe boots to go with my costume. Jerry came and stood over my shoulder. During my search, a picture of a different tribal costume came up on the screen. It was a girl with a killer body wearing basically a bikini top and a low rise skirt. Anyway, Jerry said, "That looks good." I said, "Yeah, but I can't wear that," and then clicked off of it onto another page. He said, "Wait a minute, go back." I snapped, "Why, so I can go back and stare at the costume I can't wear because my stomach looks horrible?" I felt bad that I had gotten upset over a stupid Halloween costume, but I couldn't help the way I felt.
You see, I've always felt inadequate when it comes to the way I look, but I've never been able to really figure out why. It's just a feeling that comes over me. For example, I've always felt really uncomfortable around attractive women. I compare myself and feel like I'm not as good as them. I have a difficult time watching TV shows and movies with my boyfriend that contain female nudity, because I feel ashamed that I don't look as good naked. Anyone I have ever shared this with has told me that my feelings are not normal. I'm supposed to be proud of my body and not be bothered by images of more beautiful women. Believe me, I don't want to feel this way, but it's easier said than done. I've also been told that my feelings would get better with age, but as my body gets older, I find more things wrong with it. Some days I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle.
In the throws of my body-image despair, I did what I always do when I feel bad and can't take solace in ice cream. I looked up inspirational quotes. I ran across some quotes by a lady named Naomi Wolf. As I read, I found myself saying "yeah" and "that's so right" out loud. I realized I had finally found an explanation for my feelings. Here are a couple of quotes that really spoke to me:
“The more legal and material hindrances women have broken through, the more strictly and heavily and cruelly images of female beauty have come to weigh upon us...During the past decade, women breached the power structure; meanwhile, eating disorders rose exponentially and cosmetic surgery became the fastest-growing specialty...pornography became the main media category, ahead of legitimate films and records combined, and thirty-three thousand American women told researchers that they would rather lose ten to fifteen pounds than achieve any other goal...More women have more money and power and scope and legal recognition than we have ever had before; but in terms of how we feel about ourselves physically, we may actually be worse off than our unliberated grandmothers.”
― Naomi Wolf
“As soon as a woman's primary social value could no longer be defined as the attainment of virtuous domesticity, the beauty myth redefined it as the attainment of virtuous beauty. It did so to substitute both a new consumer imperative and a new justification for economic unfairness in the workplace where the old ones had lost their hold over newly liberated women.”
― Naomi Wolf
Like so many others, I've bought into the "beauty myth." I've been conditioned to feel ashamed of myself for not looking "ideal." Surely I'm not the only one to feel this way since the beauty industry is such a big business? I happened to overhear a conversation today, and it struck me just how many women have bought into this myth. Someone spotted the local "boob doctor" at a golf tournament. They knew he was there because his Ferrari was in the parking lot. Even in my small town, the plastic surgery business is booming.
I don't want to buy into the beauty myth anymore. I don't want to feel ashamed for who I am. I want to love my body, even the imperfections. I'm not sure how I'm going to do it, but I'm determined to change my way of thinking. I think I'll start by having that bowl of ice cream. ;-)
Adia - Sarah McLachlan
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