Thursday, January 19, 2012

I AM Beautiful

Someone I went to high school recently posted this trailer, Miss Representation, on Facebook:

And as I watched it, I started reevaluating myself and the values that I have, inadvertently or otherwise. Fairly recently, I posted Hairless, Skinny Bitch, that essentially was about my inability to balance life, parenthood, being a wife and especially about, finding time to be or take care of myself. The minute I became a mother it seemed that anything that needed to be done, I placed on my own shoulders as if this was all my own responsibility, not mine and my husband’s, but mine alone. I didn’t want to burden him. I tried taking on as much as humanly possibly, even pushing away Jarod’s help (in the beginning) because I felt I was suppose to be "Super Mommy" as the stay-at-home-parent. I loved my children and thought whole-heartedly that if I loved them enough than I should be able to do it all for them.

But as we all know, I crashed because doing it all for everyone else hindered my ability to do anything for myself. As a human being, it’s simply unsustainable and before I knew it, I suddenly looked in the mirror and I wasn’t quite sure what was staring back at me anymore. My loves and passions were thrown in the garbage as if they were soiled diapers. My physical appearance became as ratty as the cherished security blanket that has been dragged, dirtied and “loved” every second of every minute in every possible place.

One of my passions is reading. I love reading. I love words and the possibilities you can orchestrate by simply stringing along this word with that, varying the tempo and elongating a sentence. It’s absolutely beautiful to me. I think the ability of a writer to provoke emotion and connect with an audience from a different place, time and era is magnificent. But I don’t read anymore and I miss that. On Hairless, Skinny Bitch, I vowed I would read more and make it a priority to get lost in some new world weekly and even daily, if possible.

However, the part in which I cringe and lower my head in shame is when I wrote that “want and deserve to have a body that I love,” and that “I want to lose 17.2 pounds,” in order to be a “skinny bitch.” Oh my God. Really? It’s quite pathetic that that is one of my biggest concerns. This is a part of my 2012 New Year’s Resolution. I’m 141 pounds on a 5’5 frame and that’s healthy. I can run 6 miles in an hour; I’m physically strong and able. I should be thankful my body works as it does, not criticizing it for the “extra” 17.2 pounds it carries.

I’m an idiot. In all respect, I would still like to lose some weight in order to just feel healthier because the current weight I’m at is comprised of foods that I should not be eating on a regular basis (but do) and working-out still doesn’t seem to fit into my daily life or even, week at the moment. If I eat healthier and make a strong, healthy body a priority and do NOT lose any weight then that’s perfectly acceptable. It should be perfectly acceptable.

I am still beautiful exactly the way I am.

Yet, why does it feel impossible to say the above sentence without feeling the need to justify my actions. I don’t want to be or sound conceited. Do I not want to be beautiful and feel that way about myself? Why do I deem it necessary to degrade the way I look and more importantly, the way I feel about the way I look. I should want to say I’m beautiful and feel really, really good about it. Because feeling beauiful is a struggle.

No matter what I do or say or accomplish, I seem to always feel inadequate in that department. Why??

I take pride in the fact that I’m consciously aware of society and the media and their depiction of what a woman should be and especially, what she should look like. But yet, I, a strong supporter in women’s rights, a self-proclaimed feminist and an educated woman, fail to escape the confines that the world places on a woman’s value being directly correlated to her waist size.

I’m a size 4. When I’m not with my husband or my band of children, I get hit on fairly regularly. I can feel men stare at me as I walk past them. From the actions of others, it’s fair to say I’m an attractive woman but yet, I somehow still feel inadequate in my appearance. It’s ridiculous.

On top of that, I have a husband who tells me I’m gorgeous and sexy; yet, my response to my body is to feel like it needs to cut a bit fat here, here and there. What the fuck have we, as women, as a society, have we gotten ourselves into?

I am a mother to two sons that will one day love a woman who will face these same challenges as well. But more pressing and more importantly, I am a mother to my daughter who will look at me and my own relationship with myself and will be greatly affected by it.

I am more than a pretty face, a sexy body, luscious hair or perfectly-placed mascara. I am a woman that is capable of more than I give myself credit for and for that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for perpetuating this foolish bullshit. I’m sorry to men who’ve fallen for this ideology because we, women, have fallen for it, too. But most importantly, I’m sorry to women and little girls for not sticking up for us as we already have a whole world against us.

I am so sorry for placing importance on such trivial superficiality and adding damage to an already damaged world.

I don’t, nor never ever, want to be and especally strive to be a hairless, skinny bitch anymore.

I want to place importance on who I am as a person. I want to be consciously thoughtful, kind, strong and intelligent. I want to make a difference in the world and if that, simply, means by providing my daughter with a positive reflection of a woman that loves herself as is, then good. I want to change this self-depreciating body image we, women, place on ourselves by, simply, stop giving a damn. I want to be a fuckin' woman that rocks whatever the hell she looks like or wears because I am just that awesome. So I'm going to say this one last time, without apology, without remorse and feel really, really good saying it: I AM beautiful.

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  1. This post is SO inspiring. I felt as if I was reading my own words. I especially enjoy the f* bomb as it allowed me to feel your passion. As I often do the same. I agree with everything you said in this post and am proud to know that there are women just like me out there. The film Miss Representation changed me for life and I will do whatever it takes to help change the ideologies that the media has spoon fed us for so many years. Its a hard job but somebody has got to do it! Keep it up!

    1. Ohh,I'm so glad you enjoyed the F bomb :) I debated keeping it in because I felt this was such an important post to write, I wanted to do it justice and thought maybe the F bomb might be a little too much. I haven't seen the whole movie yet, just the extended trailer, and it's already changed my life. Can't wait to see the whole thing! I believe if women start individually changing the way they should be viewed, then the world has no other choice than to follow suit. Glad to see there are beautiful women already making changes! :)

  2. Great post! I used to have psoriasis and, even though it is gone now, I still struggle with my self image. Just today I posted on Facebook about a trip I will be taking with my hubby to Miami in 3 months and how I dread putting on a bathing suit. Several sweet friends commented telling me that I am beautiful and shouldn't worry about things like that. Even worse - I have THREE daughters and, though I struggle with my self-image, I so desperately want them to see how beautiful they are despite what media portrays. Sometimes I feel so hypocritical - telling them they are so beautiful, but not seeing the same in myself. It is a struggle I think all women face and one that we all need to support each other on more often!

    1. It's difficult trying to overcome our own self-image when we're often criticized by ignorant people and the media for failing to live up to airbrushed supermodel standards. I completely understand your struggle; it's unfortunate but I think just making the effort to overcome it is huge. We should all feel beautiful because our physical appearance is just a small proponent of who we are. Forget what you're gonna be wearing in three months, you're going to be in Miami! Ahh, so jealous!! :) P.S. You are beautiful!