I’ve spent the better part of my life feeling inadequate.
My efforts always fell short of expectations, my potential was always three steps ahead. And that’s not all.
As a kid I felt too tall (being 5’5″ by age 11, I was taller than all my friends . . . but I am still 5’5″), now I feel short. I had mild acne as a preteen and teen, and wore a baseball hat for an entire summer in an attempt to not show my face. I have felt fat for as long as I can remember, even though looking back I can see I was thin, and now that I am legitimately “overweight”, I wonder what my younger self would think if she could see me now.
The world wants me to hate my undefined arms, and stretch-marked stomach. The media tells me that this face is aging and my wrinkles need treatment and my greying hair is unattractive.
And then there are the voices of dissent telling me beauty shouldn’t matter, and that I’m a pawn in this large machine which values physical beauty when I should embrace being ugly.
And honestly, no. I don’t want to embrace being “ugly”. Why should I? I want to embrace being me. I want to embrace being beautiful, smart, witty, loving, competent, take-no-bullshit-and-give-none-either me. I am beautiful, just because. I am worthy of that.
I don’t work out because some arbitrary chart tells me I weigh too much. It’s not about my weight. I don’t even care anymore. It’s a real shame it took me 40 years to get to this point, but I’m going to run with it, literally. I don’t want to restrict every morsel of food that goes into my body, because you know what? I love great food. I want to be active and healthy so I can spend joyful days with my kids and my husband, and enjoy the hell out of every single day I’m granted.
But I don’t care that my abs aren’t chiselled and my arms flap a little in the breeze. (How disgusting are those fitness graphics that shame people into working out? Thanks, but I’m not jealous of anyone else’s body, your shameful ploys won’t work on me.) I don’t care if my body spills my secrets of eating chips in front of a movie, or of gaining 80lbs while pregnant, or breastfeeding babies for years on end. You can’t make me hate my smile lines.
I won’t fight the weight battle, I’m sorry, world. If you don’t like the way I look, that’s on you, not me. I won’t spend another minute concerned about how my arms look in a dress, or how my legs look in shorts, or how I look in a bathing suit.
I will spend time praising myself for building my strength and endurance.
I will treat myself the way I treat my children.
I will enjoy the things I do.
I will not let the world dictate how I should feel, or how I should define beauty.
And I will love you all for your beauty, just as you are. I will support you, and encourage you, and remind you that your strength and beauty already exists, and you don’t need to fight those battles, either.