There are so many opinions on loving one’s body in the information age. There is the “fit fam” camp who claim they are working out to showcase ‘their best selves’; there are sites and articles and companies trying to influence women and men to love themselves for who they are; there’s the “proud of our curves” camp; there are eating disorder survivors striving to love themselves again and recover from debilitating physical and mental illnesses. The uglier side of all of this is ‘girls in yoga pants’ on Twitter, pro-eating disorder websites, and so on. Women are usually at the forefront of this tug of war; they are objectified and have expectations thrust upon them. Suddenly it becomes frowned upon to not work out; suddenly not frequenting the gym and focusing on your body are taboo and the lack of working out induces guilt and a loss in social standing.
This isn’t going to be a popular opinion necessarily, but this is genuinely how I feel: I don’t care or believe women who say they’re working out for their ‘best selves’ if they’re continuously posting about it on social media. If you are posting it on social media you are leading a charge that is glorifying your self while inadvertently putting other women down and making them feel badly about their bodies. They are boasting that you have a ‘better’ body than them, you’re less lazy, and you have more will power. You are advertising that you measure your self worth by your thinness. You are perpetuating a problem of young women and girls believing they must be attractive for men, that the only way they will be socially accepted is if they are working out and placing it on importance above all else. And I refuse to participate in this outrageous bullshit.
I am lucky in my life that right now, I am bigger than I have been in quite a few years but I am with the love of my life who makes me feel sexier than I have ever felt. I am fortunate that he isn’t obsessed with the idea of a trophy wife and loves me for other great qualities I bring to the relationship that are more from how thin my body is and how often I frequent the gym after work. He appreciates that I can get drunk with him and eat red meat and dessert when I see him. And he makes me feel beautiful on the inside, and by proxy, on the outside as well. I’m not with someone who wants to make me feel pressure to be ‘perfect’ for him or that he won’t find me attractive if I’m 10lb heavier than I want to be. He tells me I’m beautiful and that he loves me, and I don’t worry about impressing him or feeling fat when I have moments of intimacy with him. I am comfortable with that, and happy, and I don’t need to kill myself for him or anyone else.
If I ever have daughters, the last thing I want is for them to be praised for their ‘beauty’ more than their accomplishments. I don’t want them to feel inadequate to men or their teachers or their peers or their family members because of their looks. I don’t want them to feel like they need to pump iron and be in pain and discomfort to try desperately to work out to impress anyone, to feel good about themselves, and because other people on the internet and in life expect that of them. I want them to remember that they are smart and sweet and loved and cherished and bring love and joy and talents and brains into the world. If/when they are also beautiful on top of all of that, that’s great. But I don’t want to gripe to my kids about being fat. I don’t want to deny them cheesecake on Saturday nights because I’m ‘worried’ other people will judge them based on their weight and appearance. I don’t want to be the kind of mother who is ashamed of her ‘fat’ kids and harps on them for something that should not ever matter.
I’m not here to please anyone else in my life. I’m here to please myself. I’m not here to post every day about all my stupid workouts, nor should I feel shunned and embarassed and judged for skipping the gym or eating a cookie to up my blood sugar on a Wednesday afternoon. I shouldn’t have to feel guilty for eating a whole bar of chocolate or half a bag of Oreos. I spent a long, long time in my life – almost a decade – being very overweight and hating my body, and now that I’m (mostly) on the other side of that I fluctuate – I’m not always super thin but I’ve done enough to not retreat to being very overweight. I do what I do for me. I don’t need to instagram my running shoes or my plan for my abs. I don’t need to push myself to do something I find painful, unpleasant or uncomfortable just because I feel the need to be competitive with other girls or have everyone on social media marvel at how great my body is. Beauty and appearance come in many shapes, sizes and colours. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is beauty, and beauty should not involve bragging, shaming, boasting, and objectifying yourself.
I am done with these fucking games. I’m done with feeling badly about myself because other girls try and make me feel this way. I am done with obsessing over superficial trivialities because the whole internet seems to think that the most important thing to be is thin and hot. Done. Finished. I’m not going to look and allow these things to make me feel badly. I’m going to focus on myself and hope that my journey t loving myself will continue triumphantly and I can finally believe people who LOVE me rather than people who are trying to one-up me, myself included, when they tell me I am beautiful.