This is my body. I know that it’s not perfect- I’m overweight and could lose 20lbs. But hey, this me and I like me.
Earlier in the week, I posted a thread on Reddit asking how to properly lose weight. I got a lot of comments back- some were positive and really helpful, suggesting just simple changes to my diet and exercise routine. A lot of the comments, though, were cruel. I posted my height and my weight- people read my measurements and wrote that I was obese and a “fatty.” I know that I’m overweight- I don’t know my exact BMI but I know that I can stand to lose a few pounds (or twenty). Since I don’t have a car and I bike everywhere, I have strong and muscular calves and mid-thighs (I also know that muscle weighs more than fat). I have a bit of belly and some love handles but I wouldn’t necessarily call myself obsess. Just big.
On Tuesday, I hosted a discussed for the Sex Positive group I led and we talked about body image and our relationships with food. Many of the people there grew up in homes with poor eating habits that continued into adulthood (I am one of those people). We talked about how food is that one comfort in our stressful lives- oh man, do I know that. As soon as I get home from a stressful day at work and before I tackle difficult Spanish homework, I eat a half of pint of B&J’s (and immediately feel bad after). As I shoved spoonfuls of ice cream in my mouth, my health is the last thing on my mind. Yes, I know that I should be eating healthy- not only lose the weight but in order to maintain my life’s longevity. But at that moment, my brain needs some chocolately comfort.
My co-leader, Adam, asked the question, “Do you like the way you look?” Out of a group of 12, only two people raised their hand- no, I wasn’t one of the two (and really- only two people? So sad.). Most days, I hate the way that I look. My hair is too thick and has too much volume. My teeth should be whiter. I have no muscle tone in my arms and hate picking up heavy objects. I counted 16 stretch marks of various sizes across my chest and my stomach. My butt is dimpled. On “good” days, I weigh 165lbs. On these days, I ignore what I look like and cover things up with a sweater. I remind myself that I’m smart and creative; driven, kind and brave- my appearance doesn’t matter.
Yup, nobody is perfect. And that’s okay.
This week, I thought a lot about my own body image. I know its not good. It’s better than it has been- I mean, I’m finally feel comfortable to be completely naked in front of someone for hours at a time- but I know it should improve. I think about society’s standards- how “skinny equals pretty;” some people’s obsession with working out and physical perfections (men with tight abs, women with large breasts, etc.); how to make time to work out with a hectic schedule; how we judge so much on physical appearances; eating disorders and my experience starving myself and then, making myself puke by overeating; my issues with both food and breaking a sweat; comparing oneself to others; how my last boyfriend suggested to lose weight and wanted to have weight loss competitions… My brain began to hurt. Those thoughts are too much to handle and yet, I think about them everyday- with someone’s comment (it could be either a critical one or a positive one) or gesture.
Last night as I laid in bed with my boyfriend, Steve, he put his hand on the curve above of my hip, telling me that that spot was the perfect place for his hands. I was ready to interject but then, I decided not to and focused on him- just being with him right at that moment, not my fat rolls. Yeah, I need to lose weight. Yeah, I need to eat better. Yeah, I should do some more push-up and crunches. But last night, I let that guilt go and for a brief moment, I felt free.
Postscript: A second after I posted this blog entry, I saw this music video making its way around Facebook. It’s a John Legend song called “You & I (Nobody In The World)” and features beautiful women of all color and sizes. I think it’s a bold statement against the conventional beauty standards (ie. big breasts and bottoms) promoted by the typical R&B narrative. And well, the song is great.