Today, I find myself mulling on body image for a myriad of reasons. First off, my child recently past her 18th month of existence, which is supposedly the magic date when a woman comes to terms with her postpartum body. I guess that’s true of me, too – I’m pretty accepting of the leftover bit of squish, because even if I’m supposedly ‘fat’ by BMI (if only just – feh!), I still feel delightfully female and quite attractive… at least, with my clothing off. I’m getting to the point where I’ve figured out how to dress to not feel like a lard lump too, so that’s a bonus; as Heatherbat said to me recently, my body had a lot of catching up to do to make the right baby padding!
And when I say a lot, I mean a lot – I was that sort of thin that makes people assume you’re anorexic and terrible and need to be abused and fed pies (yes, the irony is not lost on me that I recently said the same of someone else, but I was never that thin!). If there was a breeze, someone always felt the need to crack wise that I was going to blow away, and without fail – there was always tonnes of people ready to take out their body dysmorphia and self-hatred out on me. And I’ll be honest – I understood why then, and I understand even better now. I catch myself thinking more unkind thoughts at both ends of the spectrum than I ever did, but I catch and correct myself. After all, I know for a fact that real beauty is what comes from within, and some of the prettiest people I know are probably considered to be unhealthily fat. Or distressingly thin. Or anything in-between; I’ll worry about someone when it comes to actual health concerns, but otherwise? Be happy in who you are. Okay well, I don’t know that I’m kindly enough to extend this to people running around half-dressed at any size, but that’s just me being a bit prudy. *winks*
I can also say that some of what’s fuelling this train of thought is the recent-to-me revelation that the Dove campaign that was supposed to promote ‘real beauty’ was photoshopped. That didn’t surprise me; I’m more bemused that the only ‘fat’ people were old, or were hippy with a flat belly. No wonder so many people hate their bodies, when the supposedly fat models have flat tummies, and some of us don’t! It’s totally okay to have a flat tummy, mind – I used to, and at times I miss it. But outside of a bit of hilarious sagging on my undercarriage where the stretch marks happened that makes me look like a sad puppy there, I kind of like the curve of my post-baby belly. It’s sweet, and once I find more jeans that can stay up without trying to dig in (I have one pair and pretty much live in them, ha ha. Jeez, I hate shopping…), I’ll be pretty happy. After all, I’m mainly healthy, and that’s definitely more important about size, or fitting into narrow, flat-bellied ideas of what’s ‘real’ beauty. Dances With Fat teaches that, and I think she’s got a lot of good things to say… which I’ve probably said before, and will probably say again!
Whatever your shape, you are beautiful. I am beautiful. And I’ll continue to be beautiful, as will you, as long as we can all find the inner confidence to love ourselves… get on it, and I’ll work to keep myself on an even keel too. 😉