The battle I choose not to fight | I don't blog, but if I did...

The battle I choose not to fight

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.

We’ve already got everything we need.

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34 Responses to “The battle I choose not to fight”

  1. Robin Edwards

    Mmm…chips. Well put Alex. And for what it’s worth – I think you’re gorgeous.

      • SLFarnam

        Honestly your pool photo makes me so happy. You must feel like I do in the water. You must. I am no good land locked, Alex! So grateful for my ocean and the many bodies of water I am blessed to immerse my buoyant self into so often! Also, I absolutely love your swimsuit!

      • alex durrell

        Water is most definitely my happy place, L. I miss being close to the lake. Whenever we visit my parents, I just sit and watch the ocean out the bedroom window and I can feel everything melt away. It’s amazing. And obviously being IN the water… ahhhhh.

        (And thank you! That’s a Joe Fresh bathing suit, and is totally my fave.)

  2. Marianne Gonzales

    Love it! Love all of it. It was just what I needed to read today. <3
    What I love most every single time I see you/read you is the look of love in your eyes for your family. That shows through always! And that's the most important thing. 🙂

    • alex durrell

      Thanks, M. I feel so incredibly lucky to have them. 🙂

  3. Kristen

    So true. I cried. Loved it. Such a great post Alex.

  4. phdinparenting

    I don’t want to embrace being ugly, but I know people who do and I support them. At the same time, I also don’t embrace some unrealistic beauty ideal. I like looking nice, but I also don’t beat myself up when I don’t look so great. I want to be healthy and fit, but I’m also not going to deprive myself of the things that I enjoy. I guess ultimately I support you and adore you just as you are in the same way that I support friends who embrace ugly and friends who are proud of having lost a lot a weight or run a marathon. I support anyone who has found what they want and embraced it.

    • alex durrell

      Oh, I’m ALL for people feeling confident in themselves however they want, but I think the word “ugly” is ugly in and of itself, and it seems that “embracing” ugly is the very opposite of empowerment. Nobody is ugly, as far as I’m concerned. Beauty comes in so many different forms, and I wish everyone felt beautiful, regardless of how they look.

  5. OneCrazyKid

    What an amazing post Alex. So much yes. So much. *We* are what beauty is, really beauty, not some photoshopped, unrealistic expectation that the fashion industry has declared to be the ideal of beauty.

    Life is short, too short to worry about things that don’t matter. What does matter is being healthy and happy and enjoying the people that surround you. I can guarantee you this, when your time comes, you will not be laying on your deathbed thinking about how glad you were that you didn’t eat those chips or drink that beer. You will be glad for the tastes of the good food you’ve eaten, the memories of the times spent toasting friends with a drink, and the hours and days spent in the pool or the beach or in the park. I love my people because of who they are, not in spite of what they look like. You are beautiful inside and that, my friend, is what matters most.

  6. Karen Hewko

    This. Just everything about this hits all the right spots in my heart. I literally just drove home thinking to myself that I need to embrace everything that you say, because it’s what I’ve always told others, yet have had trouble following myself. I was composing a blog post in my head, and reading this I think just puts everything right. It’s like the sign I was waiting for to tell me that all the thoughts that have been running through my head all day since catching a reflection of the back of my thighs in my short dress in the mirror are so right. I need to make these changes to love myself more the way I am.

    That may have not made any sense at all. I’m tired, and my mind has been reeling over this very subject all day lol

    • alex durrell

      This makes total sense. And I am so, so, so happy it landed at just the right moment for you. You’re one of the most incredibly beautiful women I know, inside and out, Karen. 🙂

  7. amotherworld

    The most powerful feeding is to accept and love who you are. Good for you!

  8. iSpy Clothing

    Hear, hear! Well said! Hey – I think we have the same bathing suits 😉

  9. Teena B

    A friend just shared this with me. You might as well have plucked every word of this for my own brain. I’ve just started a blog and a Facebook page preaching this exact thing. My motivation came from the Body Image Movement. I now preach this every day I wake up to anyone that will listen. I don’t know you but a giant cyber hug from me to you for being so incredibly awesome.

    If you want, you can read my story at http://decidedlybeautiful.blogspot.ca/?m=1
    I don’t have much there, but I think you’ll find it very similar in theme 🙂

    • alex durrell

      I just read your blog posts and I LOVE THEM. I am so glad you commented here. I’ll search for your Facebook page as well.

      It’s a long, hard road to acceptance, isn’t it?

      • Teena

        It is! And there are days I stumble a little bit still. But I keep at it!
        Thank you so much for the encouragement 🙂 I have never been much of a writer (math teacher – words don’t always flow naturally) so that means a lot.
        Thank you again! And I’ll be sure to follow your blog! I’m so very glad this was shared with me 🙂

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