The other day, as if we were playing some crazy version of Never Have I Ever over coffee, my friend confessed to me that she’d never sent somebody a sexy photo — not because she was worried about it falling into the wrong hands, but because she thought her body was all wrong.
But I asked her if she had ever considered the fact that chances are, if you’re that much into somebody where you’d want to send them that, wouldn’t they imagine that your body was entirely all right?
We live in a culture that shames us into modesty. Where, though it is ubiquitous, people tend to look down upon those who have Twitter and share the little thoughts of their days. Where even though they’ve proven to be pretty freaking savvy business women, the Klan Kardashian would probably be all but employable in another life — Kim’s sex tape aside — because they have exposed their lives to the world, and have done so in bikinis to boot. How dare they capitalize on the kinds of krazy konversations we usually have with our own families?
We live in a society where both women and men are often deemed “too much” or “not right” if they don’t resemble celebrities, where celebrities are photoshopped so that they don’t even resemble themselves. Where we are supposed to apologize for these flaws, and hide them, and camouflage them, and are constantly barraged with tips and tricks to fix these “problems”, how to dress ten pounds thinner, how to elongate your torso and balance your hips, how to search for that one ideal body shape, if it even exists. We live in a society where women go into panic about bikini season, which inconveniently falls after girl scout cookie season, which follows New Year’s Resolution season, which invariably comes after the holiday parties. The cycle continues, and we’re never not left alone to just friggin’ be.
You should never have to feel as if you need to succumb to the ideal. Because there is no ideal.
You should never have to apologize for your body.
You are never too much, you are never wrong, you are never anything but what you are.
You should never seek the approval of others, be it your boyfriend, your crush, your friends, or the magazines and diet companies that tell you it ought to look a certain way. Because your body does not function on their approval.
Your body does not function for anyone but you.
Scientists and doctors still don’t know every way the body works, and yet it still works just fine without their knowledge. Your body will see you through hell and back. It will stick by you even when you’re sick, even when you feed it poorly, even if you arbitrarily decide that it can run on 500 calories a day. Your body will always be there, and it can run and jump and play and wear the hell out of a mini-skirt and embrace the people you love. Your body deserves so much more than your shame.
So celebrate your body. Stop picking it apart. Of course you have a stomach, and of course you have an ass, because those are body parts and you’d be pretty torn to pieces if you didn’t have those. You don’t have love handles or saddle bags or chicken wings. You have a body. And it’s pretty great, no matter what it looks like or what size it is.
So wear the clothes you want to wear and order what you want to order at brunch and kick bathing suits in the ass and if you really feel like it. You should never apologize for your thighs being thicker than your arms, for your jeans size being above a magic number, for your “ability” or lack thereof to wear a certain dress. Wear it. Own it. And if you want to, flaunt it because you’ve got it.
Not after you lose five pounds. Not after you hit the gym for a month. Not after you run a half marathon or wear a size 4. Now.
You’ve got it now. You always have, all along.