What are your hopes – personally and for the world – with regard to body image and beauty perception? How can you begin to live your hopes today? Thinking about what you want most for yourself and for the world allows you to act on that information.
I’ve had a few realizations over the last week. One I’m still mulling over, and will share with you eventually. One is that I am way too stressed out, and it’s really taking its toll on me 24 hours a day. But the most important thing I’ve worked through and come to terms with is that instead of working myself up by constantly – and I do mean constantly – thinking how ugly and fat and stupid and worthless I am, and focusing all of my efforts to change solely on my diet and exercise regime, I should be concentrating a lot more on trying to love myself. The diet and exercise are never going to work – no matter how perfectly I attempt them – if I’m constantly in self-sabotage mode because I loathe myself.
So I’m going to start doing some daily exercises to get to know and love myself better, using the book Beautiful You: A Radical Guide to Self Acceptance as my guide. Luckily, the plan involves daily journaling, which I’m pretty much already doing here.
Currently it’s 7:51 in the morning, and I’m typing from a Starbucks in Houston. I just got off of a sleepless 6-hour bus ride from New Orleans, and will soon embark on another 3.5-hour bus ride to Austin. Fun fact about Anna: I can’t sleep in automobiles or on planes. I need a place to stretch out and lie down completely, not recline 4 inches. Typically, I’d have taken a sleeping pill, but I packed them in my suitcase that was stowed under the bus before we left. Joy. But oh well – the things we do to be with the people we love, right? Two of my best friends and I are meeting up in Austin today to have some much-needed girl time. I’m so excited to see them, even if I will be a zombie by the time I get there.
All that time awake on the bus this morning led me to this, though: My primary hope for myself in the realm of body image is that I’d learn to see myself the way I see my friends. All of my friends are attractive to me. I love their smiles, and the way their eyes glow when they’re being their authentic selves. I love their individual styles, and senses of humor, and getting to know more about each and every one of them. When I see my friends’ flaws, I see them as beautiful things that make them different and unique. When I see my own flaws, I see them as things that set me apart from the world in a negative way. I feel like a laughingstock. Or something less than a laughingstock, actually – I feel more like I should be ostracized in some way. I want to look at my differences and see how they could be perceived as beautiful. I want to feel comfortable enough in my skin that I can move freely again – physically and emotionally.
As far as the world goes, I’m not sure what I want for people to think/say about bodies, whether at home, in the media, etc. I know that I didn’t get the way I am because of the media – at least not directly. I was barely plugged in as a kid, and I remember feeling fat as early as 2nd grade. I do know that things are much worse now, and men and women everywhere are dealing with serious body acceptance issues as a result of peer pressure and unrealistic expectations placed on them by themselves and others. I do want people to realize that it’s not just women who feel shitty about their bodies, and we can’t keep talking about it like it’s something that only women can own. And that’s enough for now. I’m going to catch my Austin bus and go get mani/pedis with my lovely KT and Trin.