Thursday, January 10, 2013

Body image

“Is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me.” - J.K. Rowling
"We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies." - Roderick Thorp, Rainbow Drive
“You don’t have to be pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female’.” - Diana Vreeland 

We've all been there, haven't we? Looking in the mirror and feeling utterly disgusted by our own bodies (or skin or face or hair) wishing we looked like a Victoria's Secret model or that super fit chick we saw on the cover of some magazine.

It saddens me sometimes how people (myself included) are too caught up with how we look like, and how insecure we are about our appearance. They say insecure people care too much about themselves and what other people think of them because they're narcissistic, but sometimes it reaches to the point of self hate, if that makes sense.

For example, when I was 10 I was told by a grown woman that I had a chubby tummy (because obviously I was a kid and didn't care about how I looked like so I was oblivious to this fact) and she compared my tummy to hers. And ever since I was suuuuuuper self conscious. Because what if people notice a flaw that I don't know about? That's happened before, it will happen again, right??

By the time I was 14 it got so bad because I hit puberty and my body was going through a ton of changes and I hated myself so, so much to the point where I thought I didn't deserve to live -- I had thoughts about suicide and becoming bulimic but thank God I didn't do either!! All because I thought I looked physically undesirable. And I was always teased about my weight and called fat so that didn't help either. It sounds like I had BDD, which is a mental illness, because every single time I saw myself in the mirror or in pictures, I'd loathe every single inch of myself so much. And my mum would always tell me to stop being so obsessive (I was very obsessed like you have no idea), but I never really knew how to "stop". Because how do you even decide to suddenly stop caring? I didn't know how to mentally switch off those thoughts.

There are some who think people like me are melodramatic or attention seekers (although I have never told anyone about this so hey you, you're special now), "it's just weight, you don't have to kill yourself over it", but I don't know, it just happens. Somehow it consumes you and it takes over your mind and you just go down a path full of negativity and embarassment until you don't want to interact with others and it won't stop. It's always there, telling you that you are not worth it.

Side note: I don't actually think I have BDD because majority of the sufferers don't really recover. But I don't know. I'm not a professional. And I'm pretty fine now.

I've very slowly grown to love myself and my body -- which I think is very important to everyone. I'm pretty sure a lot of people, girls especially, think we have to keep up with some sort of beauty standard because we always see it in the media and eventually it's instilled in our brains that we should look like this, dress like this, act like this, etc and we don't even know why we do it or who we're doing it for; just so we don't get made fun of in public?

My mother once asked me, "why do you care so much about what people think of you?" I don't know, I answered, I just do. "Do they feed you?" No, I said. "Do they pay for your education? Do they take care of you and provide a roof over your head?" No, they don't. So why do we feel the need to satisfy or impress these strangers or people we know? We don't owe them anything.

We unconsciously accept the idea of the supposed ideal body that we think we should achieve and commercials are notorious for causing this. I think it's very important to stop body shaming and instead promote a healthy image of how girls and women's bodies should look like -- glorifying skinny girls is just as bad as saying "real women should have curves". Because there is really no "standard" body type.



In terms of body types, there are many different shapes and generally you can change it to give the illusion of looking like another body type by doing cardio or toning your muscles. But technically, you can't really alter it because it's genetic (like bone structure, metabolism, body fat storage) and you're stuck with it forever. I'm pear shaped, which means my body stores fat mostly in my hips and thighs, and if for instance, I try to look like this or this, I probably can't. Or if a person has an inverted triangle body shape or a rectangular one, they probably can't have Kim K's butt or Sofia Vergara's waist respectively. Our body doesn't work that way, so don't go against your body and complain about how it can't look like how you want it to; instead, accept it and work with it. Twerk your way down an aisle the next time you do your grocery shopping and show everyone what your mama gave ya!!! But remember to stay classy.

Another thing is that it's okay to have hair on our legs or armpits or wherever. We're humans too, it's a natural thing. No one ever said girls are supposed to be hairless people. If you haven't shaved your legs but you want to wear shorts, do it! The Hair Police won't come up to you and inspect your unshaven shins and fine you. If you think it's embarrassing, then it's okay! People won't remember you the next day, they'll get on with their lives.

And sure, compliments might help a bit in raising your self-esteem but ultimately, it takes your own self to realize that you deserve to be happy. If a thousand people a day tell you they like how you look but you don't believe in that, then there's really no point.
"Your value is the product of your thoughts. Do not miscalculate your self worth by multiplying your insecurities." - Dodinsky
"We probably wouldn't worry about what people think of us if we could know how seldom they do." - Olin Miller
"Your problem is you're... too busy holding your unworthiness." - Ram Dass
"Learning too soon our limitations, we never learn our powers." - Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


 So how, you might ask, can you "learn to accept yourself?"
  • Surround yourself with people who are positive and supportive of you, if you hang out with people who make you feel like shit every time, stop it.
  • If you don't like how you look or you think you need to lose weight, do something rather than complain about it because whining about it doesn't bring you anywhere. There are literally hundreds of exercise videos of all levels on youtube that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Do some circuit training in your room just using your body weight or jump rope! Eat more healthily! Start slowly and develop a routine. You don't even have to do it just for the main purpose of losing weight, do it because it will make you feel good. You'll feel more energized, your mind will be clearer, your mood will improve. But that doesn't mean you're BANNED from eating pizza and chocolate, because obviously who *can't* live without pizza and chocolate???? Balance is key.
  • If you don't like your hair, get a haircut or dye it. Shave it even! Fit it into your identity.
  • Or if you have hair like mine, ie. frizzy, curly, unmanageable, dry; search for hair do's or tips on youtube or try sites like naturallycurly.com. There are also forums and you can ask questions and talk to people with the same problems.
  • Try to ignore that negative voice in your head. Instead of focusing on what you don't like, find what you like about yourself and pay more attention to that. They don't even have to be physical; maybe you're good at painting or playing the trombone or crocheting or writing poems. If you still haven't found an interest just keep trying everything there is and you'll eventually find something you like.
  • Remember that people won't even notice any flaws that you think you have. Many will look past that, and even if they realize it at one point, they'll tend to forget it. If there are people who try to make you feel inferior, ignore them because they're just being assholes. They're not worth your time and energy, they don't deserve your time and energy. Show them that you don't care and they will stop bugging you.
  • And of course, please go to a professional for some real help, because I'm not qualified at all. I'm just a teenage girl sitting on my bed giving advice to the internet based on my experiences.

I really hope this helped anyone in some way. I made all the sketches so I'm sorry they aren't Frida Kahlo quality.

"If I am not for myself, who will be?" - Pirke Avoth

4 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh this is the most beautiful thing I read ever. I really love how you went in deep on the self esteem issue. Also twerk your way down the aisle legit made me laugh so hard.

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    1. "Most beautiful thing" might be an overstatement, hahah but wow, thank you so much! Glad it made you laugh because I hate it when things get too serious.

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  2. Hey. You should know that you are pretty no matter what. This post is beautifully written I could just marry you! Thank you so much for posting this, for now my self-esteem just has risen up to up-point beyond. I don't have Body Image issue but instead having problems with insecurity with my personalities. Lately, I gave myself hard times for not having a desirable personality and let people's judgement drown me to the world of insecurity! Now with the quotes from Rodetrick, your mum and yourself, I'm pretty much satisfy and believe that not all people like us for who we are and that we should focus more to those people who care so much for us and most importantly ourselves! So thank you thank you thank you so much for posting this up and I wish you all the best in whatever you do.

    P.S: I have those quotes written on my desktop to remind myself.

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    Replies
    1. D'awwwww thank YOU for taking the time to read it. Yeah, we all feel that way sometimes. And that's true, you can't please everyone. There are people who like you for a reason! Hahah. I wish you the best in everything too, and stay amazing.

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