So I want to first share this news with you...
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Beauty & The Body: A Lesson Learned in Mexico
We can all agree that we ourselves are our worst critics. We say some of the harshest things, under our breaths, simply by just looking in the mirror.
"My butt looks huge!"
"People are going to assume I'm pregnant in this dress!'
"Are those thighs or just plain cottage cheese?"
It's so easy to do, really. I must say something at least five times a day about myself - to myself. I often do it without thinking; it comes as quickly as choosing cereal over eggs for breakfast.
So, what has this simple reflex of self depreciation done to me? Well, this past week I was on vacation in the picturesque Mayan Riviera in Mexico, however instead of gazing at the exquisite landscape I was comparing bodies. As fast as I could order a piña colada, I found myself saying lines in my head to the beat of:
“Oh ma’am, I’m thinking a full piece for you!”
“A bigger size in those bottoms perhaps? Crack kills, ya know…”
Two days or so and a multitude of sugary cocktails later, I found myself being harsher than ever on my body and everyone else’s. Why? Why was I wasting my, beautiful and hard earned, vacation on negativity? I decided at that moment while laying under the Mexican palm trees with my feet dipped into a pool of crystal blue that I was no longer going to be consumed by my body or anyone else’s.
Once this decision was made I immediately began to see things differently. The woman that I was once questioning how she could have left the hotel room with bathing suit bottoms that small, I was now praising for embracing her “Kardashian Booty”. The man resting his beer on his tummy looked more than pleased with his faux table, instead of worrying about his abs or lack thereof. Why had I been so consumed with the bodies of others? Why did I immediately compare every woman to that of an airbrushed celebrity or a Victoria’s Secret model?
I cursed myself for being so harsh, so negative. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and attitudes. The woman with the extra love around her middle looked radiant playing with her children in the pool, while her strawberry blonde hair sparkled under the hot sun. She no longer looked like a woman who didn’t check the size of her bathing suit, but rather a woman lost in the love of her children and the excitement of vacation.
I found myself looking at my own stomach, my freckled stomach that hadn’t seen the sun in at least twenty year; or since I was at an age where playing with Barbie in the pool was socially acceptable. Its pasty coloring stared back at me. “Why had I been so afraid to look at you or to show you to the world?” I asked myself.
Now, is my body the body that bikinis are made for? Absolutely not, however just because society tells me that my size 8 (definitely 10 on vacation), shouldn’t wear a two-piece teeny bikini doesn’t mean I shouldn’t. This was the first vacation that I dawned a bikini, rationalizing I won’t know anyone in Mexico except for my boyfriend and I can ignore the judging glares.
However, I did not see judging faces back. I saw smiles and nods and heard comments about the weather. Nobody seemed to care that my middle lacked a few sit-ups or that my arms jiggled a little when I waved to my boyfriend in the pool. We were all sharing a moment together in time; a moment where we could all relax and enjoy some space away from our “real” lives. A moment we had all saved for, thought about, planned, and were now realizing.
Please don’t think I’ve had this epitome lying on white sandy beaches and I now have the ability to filter all media, hold my head up proud, and dawn some short-shorts. I still have my insecurities and my dreams for smaller jeans, longer legs, and a tiny waist; but now I’m a little less unforgiving, insensitive, and downright callous about it. I still say unkind things to myself about my body, however I try to leave out terms like “spare tire”, “thunder thighs”, and probably the most missed “ugh, look my chubby arms are going to Mexico”.
It’s a process, and a difficult one at that, but I ask you to try something. Today when you see a woman maybe wearing shorts a little too short, congratulate her in your head. She is confident enough to walk proudly in whatever she wants and you should too! Now, even with the best of bodies we should still probably leave the hot-pants in 1984 where they belong, however maybe tomorrow you could start off small.
For example, short sleeve shirts terrify me. I hate them! I hate looking at my arms in them. But, I have this adorable t-shirt from the LA based shop Kitson that I just love! I’ve only worn it around the house a few times and to sleep, but tomorrow in my attempt to practice what I preach I’m going to wear it proudly!Take the challenge with me?
thanks for reading