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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Keepin' it Real

From a very young age, we are taught what is “beautiful” and what is not. We play with our Barbies or our G.I. Joes who are impossibly skinny or impossibly ripped. We read magazines and watch movies where people are airbrushed and altered into these perfect bodies with perfect smiles and perfect hair. And then, worst of all, we go to work or we go to school and there are people who actually look like that! Maybe not exactly like it, but closer than we are, that’s for sure. So with that, this image of the perfect body is ingrained into our brains, forever there to make us feel inadequate. 
These are impossible standards! 


When I was in fourth grade, the girls that I thought were cool ganged up on a boy in our class that had that adorable chubby boy build to him. They started giggling and calling the boy fat and basically making him feel awful. Wanting to be a part of the cool kids, I joined in a bit. My teacher ended up taking us girls aside and bringing to our attention that we just made this little boy cry and feel terrible about himself. I cried and felt horrible and have never made fun of anyone since.

    A few years ago, I was meeting someone in a parking lot who was in a car with some people I didn’t know. I get extremely anxious meeting new people, but I bravely walked to the car and got in. The energy in the car felt awkward and uncomfortable, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. Later I found out that as I was walking towards the car, one of the people in the car (one of those pretty skinny girls that can wear anything they please) apparently said “who’s that girl walking towards us? She’s fat”. I don’t know why my friend actually told me the words the girl said, but I truly wish they hadn’t. Those words have haunted me ever since and have defined a lot of the way that I see myself.

   We see all these celebrities with perfect figures and these people around us that look a lot like those celebrities, and we compare ourselves to them and wish to be less like us and more like them. We try to be as healthy as we can convince ourselves to be because we want to become this idea of perfect that we’ve set for ourselves. Doesn’t that seem like a pretty negative inspiration for becoming healthy? Shouldn’t we want to be healthy because it just feels right to do? We shouldn’t ever do anything because we don’t like ourselves-the way we perceive ourselves is like 80% of the battle. The physical changes that come from being healthy are only 20%. They’re like a little bonus we can get for loving ourselves. They are not the goal. Happiness and confidence is the goal. We can lose a bunch of weight and have the perfect body by all accounts, but we will still find something to nitpick if we haven’t learned confidence in ourselves.

    There are celebrities actually starting to speak out against things like Photoshop for portraying them as these impossible beauties. They want people to know that they are flawed and that having flaws is okay and normal. Among these is actually Kim Kardashian. After having an unedited photo of her accidentally published, she spoke out saying, “So what? I have a little cellulite,” then adding, “I’m proud of my body and my curves, and this picture coming out is probably helpful for everyone to see that just because I am on the cover of a magazine doesn’t mean I’m perfect.” Recently, after having a baby and gaining regular baby weight because of it, she has been ridiculed and put down and teased, causing her the self-consciousness we all have, but probably times a billion. Imagine thousands of people making fun of you for something you have no control over. She spoke out saying, “People can be so mean; it’s not cool and it’s not fair.”

There are other celebrities speaking out about this. In this article by Jill O’Rourke, you’ll be surprised to see who some of these celebrities are: 

8 Celebrities who have spoken out against Photoshop
We say terrible things about ourselves

For as long as I can remember, when I’ve looked in the mirror I’ve found something negative to say about what I see. Either it’s “why does my back have a roll in it? How am I supposed to wear a bathing suit??” or “Wow my face looks like a fucking pizza” or some other judgment of my beautiful and unique self that makes me feel like crap.

    I asked a few of my friends if they could share with me a negative word they’d use to describe themselves, and a positive word they’d describe themselves with. Their answers surprised me and made me feel not so alone in this self-conscious struggle. I was surprised to find that almost all of them used “fat” as the negative word they’d describe themselves with. That was the word I chose as well. I decided to share their answers with you in this article so you can see for yourself that this is a struggle we all have. Each person that answered was someone I have always thought very highly of, and still do, in terms of physical beauty(not to mention non-physical beauty. Off the charts, man. I have beautiful friends)

Their answers were as follows:

(negative word[s],positive word[s])

“Fat, Brave”

“Shy, Sexy”

“Fat, I love my eyes”

“Fat, Killer Smile” (this was my answer)

“Fat, Bearded”

“Fat, Pretty Eyes”

“Lanky, Smile”

“Flabby arms and legs, Beautiful eyes, hair and feet”

“over-bearing, magical”

"Masculine, Petite"

"fat, PHAT"

"ugly, strong"

"chubby, pretty face"

"Old, Creative"

"Fat, Sexy"

This isn't just us mere mortals who are self-conscious, guys. Even the gods and goddesses of Hollywood struggle with these things. They are mortals too. They are just really famous mortals. That does not make them any more perfect than you are. Johnny Depp can’t even look at himself in the mirror. The most gorgeous man in America once said: “If I can avoid the mirror when I brush my teeth in the morning I will. I find security and safety in the most profound degree of ignorance. If you can just stay ignorant about just about anything you will be OK. Just keep walking forward. It is OK to notice things, but to judge things will bog you down, so I don’t like to watch myself in movies. I don’t like to be aware of the product, I like the process. That is not my fault. I didn’t do it. I was there but I didn’t do it.”

So what are we going to do about it?

Well, for starters let’s change the way we talk to ourselves. Let’s change the way we talk about ourselves. Let’s start only using positive words when it comes to our lovely, unique selves. After all, our body is our home. Our body is our own sacred space to inhabit. It is unique to only us. It is a place to feel at ease, comfortable and happy. We have made our homes into this toxic space where we feel put down and not good enough. Let’s turn this around, because the first step in making our bodies and the world around us a better place, is loving ourselves. 

   Some steps I’ve started taking towards self-love are: 

1-I started the 28 day Love Your Body Challenge. A lovely lady named Molly Galbraith writes a fitness blog, and she started a free 28 day Love Your Body Challenge. Every day for 28 days, you check for her daily blog post to find a very short article for inspiration, a mantra of the day meant to help your confidence along in some way, and a daily assignment. I’m two days in and the assignments so far were to do something to pamper yourself, and to accomplish something you’ve been wanting to accomplish. I’m very much enjoying it so far and it’s already done wonders for me.

2-I went to a thrift store and found a cute little jar that has “Words of Love” engraved on the side. Immediately I got the idea to write down a positive word to describe myself every day and put it in the jar. At the end of each month, I will read them all and feel awesome about myself. 

And here are some things others are doing for this self-love movement:

Taryn Brumfitt is a beautiful woman who has hit up Kick Starter for help funding a documentary she wants to make inspiring women to embrace their bodies as they are. The documentary will be called Embrace, and it has very quickly raised more than enough money to be created. I personally can’t wait for this documentary to come out: 

This blog Go Kaleo is spreading the word about cellulite and how we should all just get the hell over it.

And, of course the 28 day Love Your Body Challenge

I think it’s great that people are starting to wake up to the idea of treating yourself with care and loving the body you’re living in. More and more men and women are starting to see through the impossible beauty façade put out by those who try and make money off of our insecurities. We are starting to realize the error in the way that we treat ourselves, the way that we talk to ourselves. And we’re all finally figuring out what to do about it: We are saying fuck Barbie. We will unapologetically be ourselves and we will love every minute of it. We will love our huge thighs, our stretch marks, our lack of an ass, our six-packless beer belly…We will love it all. Because it is a part of us, and it is a part of our story. And we will tell every little girl and every little boy in our lives that they are perfect just the way they are. Big or small, tall or short, they are pure perfection and they always will be no matter what their body does over time. 

I challenge you to every morning look at yourself in the mirror and find 5 things you absolutely love about your body. 5 things. Every morning. This small gesture of love towards yourself will make a bigger difference than you probably expect. 

I hope this has spoken to someone, even if it’s just to me when I reread it later. 

Love, Sweet Bee

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