It pains me to see so many women and girls excelling at the wrong kind of math.
There are too many experts at calculating calories in vs calories out. Too many trackers of pounds lost or gained.
Worse yet are those masters of manipulation: those that have the ability to look into mirrors and see a pile of flaws instead of beautiful and perfect imperfection.
I am frustrated by these females because they are so focused on the media representation of perfection. I recognize their thoughts and goals because they were the thoughts and goals of me. Were.
Do I still enjoy being beautiful? Yes. And yeah, you heard me right: I am fucking beautiful. So are you. So is she. Knowing we’re beautiful doesn’t make us conceited. It makes us confident. It frees us to do more than worry about our eyeliner or the scale.
Let’s do an experiment, shall we? For every time a mirror is passed, give yourself a flirtatious wink and a smile. Recognize your beauteous badassery. When that nasty black cloud of negativity tries to pop in, punch that fucker square in the jaw. We’ve only got 24 hours in the day. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Speak to yourself the way you speak to your friends and loved ones. Would you tell your daughter she’s too fat or too skinny? Is your best friend too tall or too short? Your sister’s hair too long/dark/curly/straight? Should our daughters concern themselves with the ridiculousness of a thigh gap?
Neither should we.
All that time worrying about this ridonkulousness is time that could be spent strengthening our bodies, protesting GMOs, taking action against inequality across the globe. Rescue a dog. Read to child. Lift someone else up instead of putting yourself down.
Recognize that your beauty is based on who you are. I wish I could go back to my teenaged self and tell her, “You’re only 16 one time. You never get that again. You are beautiful simply by being 16. Now go do beautiful things and think progressive thoughts.” For that matter, we are only 17, 18, 22, 38 once. Enjoy the years. They all have unique moments to cherish. I don’t want to look back on this year and think, “Oh, that was the year I tried really hard to create a gap between my thighs and didn’t succeed because my muscles are too massive.” I will look back on this year and remember, “That’s the year I discovered yoga and Reiki, natural living, and kicked Spartan ass for the third time.”
Can we start fueling our bodies like the temples they are? Taking ownership of them for ourselves? Stop allowing anyone else’s thoughts about them to become our personal facts? This is not simply a personal revolution. It’s a legacy we will hand down to every girl that follows us. When we stop allowing our thoughts to be dictated by our appearances and pounds lost and dress sizes – we regain our power and power for the rest of our gender as well. As Abra Fortune Chernik writes in her essay The Body Politic, “Gaining weight and getting my head out of the toilet bowl was the most political act I ever committed.”
For the sake of all the girls…stop determining your worth according to magazine layouts and ever-creepier photoshopped advertisements. We – you – are meant to be so much more than skinny.
Build muscle. Build brainpower. And if it makes you happy (as it does me), build your purple eyeshadow collection. Drool over cool nailpolish. Lust after the latest Alice Hoffman novel. Be YOU in all the ways that are intrinsically and uniquely YOURS.
Clear that path for the next generation.