Friday, August 14, 2009

The Secret

I'll be turning 32 (ugh!! What. The. Hell? I swear I was just 22) in a week and a half and my impending upcoming birthday has me thinking of hiding in a closet drinking and sobbing uncontrollably how I see myself. Literally. As in, what I look like in the mirror. (An entirely trivial pursuit, but hey, I'm shallow, I'll soon forget how superficial I am.)

I am only one of hundreds of thousands of women who have done this: I have looked in the mirror and seen only the negatives. Saggy boobs. Stretch marks. Saddle bags. Poochy belly. Chubby thighs ("Thoroughbred thighs" as I like to say). Cellulite. Ghetto booty. Varicose veins. Minutes at a time, I have spent hours naked in front of the mirror and picked myself apart. I had this crazy idea that in order for me to be seen as attractive, I had to fit the standard.

Where do we learn this? Is it from the constant bombardment of sexy women on TV and magazines who spend hours in makeup and sit under lights with special filters, only to have their pictures airbrushed and Photoshopped anyway? Is it the absolute one-sidedness of popular culture that emphasizes looks only and pushes us all to fill this unattainable, one-size-fits-all, one-dimensional ideal? Is it from comparing ourselves to other real women who seem to have won some kind of genetic jackpot (like that chick on Oprah who was back to her pre-pregnancy size two or three weeks after having each of her seven children, without ever getting sagging boobs and stretch marks)? Is it from being told by loved ones that we 'could lose a pound or two'? Or hearing our significant others make comments about other women? Is it a combination of all of these and more?

Sidenote: Hot Stuff has jokingly said I should 'lose a pound or two.' I knew he was trying to be funny so I sweetly let him know that I would be losing about 190 lbs as soon as I found a big enough shovel.

In the ten years since Hot Stuff and I met we have gone to the Okanagan Valley to visit his parents every year. This is the first year that I actually went swimming in the Okanagan Lake. Until now I refused to go swimming because I did not think my body was good enough to be seen in a bathing suit. Sheer stupidity, isn't it?

I've decided that this business of attacking my own body image is all nonsense. I'm not "young" anymore as defined by young people (I am not stockpiling Depends or shoving Kleenex under my watch band, just yet), but thankfully, I am not stupid anymore, either. Finally, I am smart enough to ease up on myself. I carried, birthed, and nursed babies from my body. That's huge. That's amazing. Varicose veins, ghetto booty, pffft. Genetic. Whaddya gonna do? Cellulite? Well everyone has that. Fifteen extra pounds? Ahh, that's nothing. I'll work it off sooner or later or maybe not at all.

I read in a book somewhere (no idea what the book was called, or even what kind of book it was) that sexy is a state of mind. It originates in your brain. I thought it was bullshit, at the time. How can you feel attractive if you don't look attractive, is what I wondered. Now I know. I have figured out the secret. You can't look sexy if you don't feel sexy. Yeah, I know. Like I said in a post awhile back: I tend to figure these things out way after everyone else.

1 comment:

  1. You know it, girlfriend.

    I have no idea what you look like, but you *are* one sexy mama. It's in your attitude which comes from that great big sexy *brain* of yours.

    Rock on


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