This tweet was posted on March 24, 2015.
But, it isn’t the only one of its kind. If you use any social media platforms (facebook, tumblr, reddit, twitter, the list goes on), or if you do a basic google search, you are bound to find a disturbing amount of comments like this one that center on body shame.
It is unsettling how many people have suffered because of body shaming, by comments inflicted either by others or by their own selves.
When we are surrounded by voices that try to dictate how our bodies should look, when creams to look younger and magic pills to get thinner are thrown in our faces, when women’s bodies are still seen as commodities, internalizing a harsh and negative approach to our bodies happens.
It takes some of us years to receive the image in the mirror with kindness and love.
Sometimes loving our bodies through all of its many stages takes work. Our bodies change throughout our lifetime and accepting those changes isn’t an innate process for most.
We waver between trying to fulfill an amalgamation of unobtainable perfections and accepting ourselves the way we are.
In a society that pushes us to filter out blemishes, to fit into a certain size of jeans, to maintain a certain mold, how do we resist and find a way to love our bodies the way that they are?
It takes strength and practice.
It takes remembering that our bodies serve so very much more than an aesthetic function and that there is more to us beyond our skin.
I love my body for all that it does for me.
How my legs support me on runs, runs that bring me clarity and peace of mind….
How my arms fiercely throw punches in the air during kickboxing class, filling me with strength and confidence…
How my stomach and back help sustain me as I spin on poles during dance class, eliciting my sensuality and sexiness…
My body carries me, it takes me on adventures, it brings forth pain and pleasure, and I appreciate it for all of these things.
And yet, as much as I love my body, I, too, am susceptible to wanting others to love it as much as I do.
We all want to be desirable.
But, by whose standards?
For many years, makeup has been encouraged as a means to hide blemishes, to create a more “appealing” look and now photo filters have added to the pressure to alter the way that we look in pictures.
When was the last time that you posted a picture of yourself without makeup, without filters, and loved it?
When was the last time that you used positive words when thinking about your body? When was the last time that you honored and showed gratefulness for your body?
Your wide hips, your crooked nose, your cellulite legs, your petite frame, your curvaceous booty, your small breasts, your freckled face…it is all so very beautiful. In every color, every texture, every form, with all of its perfect imperfect features that make you who you are; you are so magnificently stunning.
You are beautiful.
Can we stop shaming ourselves, stop hiding behind makeup, stop feeling that we need to use photo filters to be beautiful? Can my unfiltered, no make up, unedited pictures motivate you to post some of your own? Will you join me in ending body shaming?
Posting these photos is a step outside of my comfort zone. These pictures are private to me and though there is nothing shameful about them, I am afraid of being judged, of the harmful ways in which they can be used, of the comments that will be left on this post. This is part of the reason why I am posting them – those fears are part of the problem that I want to help dissipate. This topic is close to my heart, so important to me, that I know that I need to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. If I am going to ask of you, if I want to see a change in how we treat women’s bodies, then I need to participate. I want to see an end to the shame that still surrounds women’s bodies, an end to the fear of showing our imperfect self, and I will contribute to that change by shedding my shame and working through the fear.
This is an ask to all of my readers. I ask that you appreciate all that your body has endured, that you be tender with your words, and wise with your thoughts. I ask that you recognize your reflection with loving eyes and not critical cynicism. This is an ask to all of my readers to support others in loving themselves and not shame them for their weight, for their height, for their arms and thighs. I ask that you refrain from bullying yourself and others. This is an ask to all of my readers to cut yourself some slack, to not be so judgmental, to end body shaming, and to open your eyes to how desirable your imperfections are.