Body image is one of those things that plagues us all. Some of us get around it by saying “I don’t care!”, “I don’t care what others think!” or “Where is the nearest sale on Botox?”. Whether or not you admit it, you have an issue. I just pissed someone off with that statement but a little self-reflection is good for the soul.
I was talking to a friend about self-loathing, physical specifically the other day and I think we can agree we all have that, to some degree. I think it’s fueled by all of the photos we see online in magazine, and on TV. We are inundated with airbrushed human figures, sans blemishes. I won’t call them flaws only because a flaw is defined so loosely! We continued our lovely discussion about how much we hate ourselves to the point of shame over breakfast, I came home and continued the discussion with Mason over dinner.
I was discussing “blemishes” and the “imperfections” of the human form and how we should, but won’t, accept ourselves the way we are. My friend and I talked about how self-loathing stops us from doing things. I sometimes simply pretend that I don’t have any imperfections because when I acknowledge all the blemishes, scars, veins, stretch marks, the list goes on for 3 pages, I start googling thwabs, hijabs, and everything that goes under and above them.
Mason will get off on a tangent and it’s a beautiful thing to witness. He is witty, wise, and animated (those of you who know him know this already). I wish he would write but he won’t so I am left to regurgitate his acumen. When he starts a tangent, Mason will sit back, put all his weight against his chair so it tilts back, put his feet up, play with something in his hands, and just talk as if he might as well be speaking in tongues. I half expect his eyes to roll to the back of his head and he goes on like a burly tattooed Yoda (except in forward sentences).
He started off by saying we are mistaken to use the word flaw for physical traits that naturally define the human form. If we were religious people it’d be offensive because we are made in God’s image. The truly sad thing is that we emulate, and admire this imagined body that nobody has, not even models, they don’t even have them (my two cents is that Gisele has it and maybe that soccer wife from Scandinavia who like to Instagram “herperfectself”). These bodies we admire aren’t real they are carefully airbrushed by an artist. How sad is it for the rest of us to want to be that and then be considered beautiful by somebody. Flawlessness would be bland. The mistake is that physical traits are flaws. Flaws are a novelty!
Mason lost his upward momentum there, his eyes came back into focus, I had to remind him who he was, and where he was. He was OK after a snack. He made some valuable points though (not enough for me to stop getting Botox, but enough for me to stop jokingly buzzing like the man from the game Operation when he touches my stomach).
There has been an uptick in emphasizing natural beauty, appreciating ourselves for who we are, and so on. I can go on about being a good person, and that being the most important thing. Of course it is. I would never argue that. We HAVE to be confident in WHO we are, the decisions we make, we must be the best people we can be. This isn’t about that, or religion, someone will latch onto that too. I don’t have enough space to cover those wonderfully deep, and valid discussions. I have to stick to one thing or I will never end this blog. You will all be singing, “tooooo looooong didn’t reeeead” to yourselves as you skim for a never ending bottom.
The real point is that we have to forget, to an extent, our self image. I say to an extent because I will always believe in presenting our best selves to the world. It shows we care, pride, in reasonable quantities, really is ok. We won’t be roasting marshmallows with Dante in some circle of hell because our hair is done. Likewise, we should be kinder to ourselves (as another friend always reminds me)about things that actually, don’t matter that much. As for how to be kinder to ourselves (and others), that will be another blog entirely.
Mason was right, they aren’t flaws, they are just physical traits and without them we’d be bland, we’d not have stories to tell, even if they are made up. I have several surgical scars on my stomach that I won’t ever tell people are from lame organ removal. I tell them they are from Brazilian Jujitsu competitions, motorcycle accidents, Thai knife fighting, any number of things that are so much cooler than what really happened. I encourage you all to do the same! Go forth and make up stories about your blemishes…I just lost my upwards momentum. I hope you all got the point.