Last night I was cozied up in my favorite chair (yes, the one in the header photo). I looked down and noticed with dismay that my tummy was pookey. I exercise an awful lot, but it seems that no matter how strong my abs are, when I relax them they look like the Pilsbury Dough boy got poked too hard. I sighed, wondering if I should redouble my efforts to reign them in or go get another row off the Hershey’s bar I’ve been working my way through.
Then I noticed, my dog. She too was cozied up in her favorite spot, our giant bean bag, and I saw her tummy, which was also pookey, but she didn’t care. She’s blissfully unaware of her appearance and of anyone’s opinion thereof. Oh, to be Abbi. And it occurs to me that I’m measuring myself with the wrong stick again.
I’m approaching 43 years old and I still don’t have a grip on my body image. I see every flaw magnatized, every ounce of fat and cellulite dimple as failure. I grade myself with no mercy every time I pass a mirror, and I don’t know how to get off this gerbil wheel. I am aware that this doesn’t happen in a vacuum, that even if I don’t verbalize this toxic perspective that I unwittingly pass it along to my daughter, and I feel powerless against it.
Where do I go from here? How do I get my head on straight and learn to love myself and accept my appearance? How do I get past feeling like I need to have a perfect figure? Or do I buckle down and work harder and more until I attain it, which I know will just lead me further down the rabbit hole, always striving, never reaching? This article from The Guardian suggests as much.
In a world that holds up ridiculous and unrealistic standards as ideal, it means they are always doomed to fall short.
Because of course, all the exercise in the world won’t make me a C cup, so if I do achieve that perfectly fit and toned look, do I buy a set of boobs to go with it? What if it’s still not enough? I doubt it ever will be, and if it is, it won’t last. Surely the effects of age are bound to impact my appearance beyond the gray that graces my head.
And I still have no solutions.
I hope that some day I can cherish my body for what it is, that I can take a cue from my dog and frolic, running and playing, enjoying everything I have the capacity to do while paying no heed to my imperfections. Some day.