Thought Catalog

How I Feel About My Body

  • 0

I love my body. I love the curve of my belly, the dimpled skin beneath my butt and my tiny little feet. But I haven’t always felt this way; and that’s not because I grew up without positive reinforcement or because I’m an idiot. To the contrary, my parents always promoted a very healthy body image, as did my fortunate education. In short, I was well equipped from an early age to have a strong sense of self, independent from my appearance, as well as the mental tools to take pride in my appearance, no matter how it ‘subjectively’ appeared to anyone else.

Despite my predisposition to self-satisfaction, like many teenage girls I fell into that oft promoted void where everything around you seems to be screaming “you’re not pretty enough!” “you’re not thin enough!” “your nose is too big!” “you’re disgusting!” Not only were the external stimuli I was exposed to promoting an “ideal” body image, they were also promoting a sense that unless I fit that particular ideal, I should be morbidly dissatisfied. And I was; for no particular reason other than I felt some sort of social pressure to find ways to hate myself, which, needless to say, is absolutely fucking ridiculous.

Without descending into trite Aguileraisms, I’ve learned (the hard way) that I am beautiful; that everyone is beautiful. Here’s why:

What I look like naked

I am short at just over 5 feet. My legs are quite stumpy and my thighs are plump and round; they jiggle when I walk and rub together where they meet at my groin. My ankles are what some would call ‘cankles’, and my feet are unnaturally small and flat. There’s normally always stubble on my calves, and a light layer of downy hair on my thighs. My knees are undefined and chubby, and some blue veins are visible snaking from my calves to my thighs.

My butt is perky and round, with a few spidery stretch marks beneath it and around my hips. I have cellulite where my bottom meets my thighs, and a smattering of hair across my ass and on my lower back. Around the front there’s a tuft of hair, normally well groomed but always with a few ingrown hairs or red marks in the waxed area. A small “snail trail” of hair leads to my belly button, which is an ‘inny’ and sits in the middle of my almost perfectly round, protruding tummy. My hips are disproportionately wide considering my small stature.

My large breasts sit upright without a bra, although one is a little bit lopsided. My nipples are large but point in slightly different directions. There are sometimes a few small pimples on my chest and back. My shoulders are small and my arms are skinny and weak. My shoulder blades protrude when I stretch and move; they are angular and sharp.

My skin is incredibly soft but it’s an almost translucent white with only the slightest hint of the Mediterranean yellow that allows me to tan easily in summer. My hair is long and unruly with some fly aways and presently, many split ends. I get pimples on my face frequently, and my nose, in profile, is very large and inhabited by a generous number of blackheads. I have what my brother calls “John Howard” eyebrows, and very pretty, long lashes. I have chubby cheeks and dimples when I smile. My teeth have been corrected by braces as a teenager so are quite straight, but the front two are large, round and bunnyish. I also have a very small moustache on my upper lip.

Why I hated my body then

As a child, bodies didn’t register as something of importance in any emotional sense. Bodies were for climbing trees, playing soccer or cops and robbers in the school yard and for creating human pyramids. While I was allowed to play with Barbie, I was never allowed to read teen girl magazines, and my parents raised me on mantras of “you must love learning” and “just be healthy and happy.”

When I went to high school, however, I found myself exposed to a whole array of new and confusing feelings that began as simply as the other girls, at the small age of 12, complaining about the things they hated on their bodies. Cue Mean Girls montage. And so my intent focus began to harangue my imperfections. I wasn’t tall enough. I wasn’t blonde enough. I wasn’t tanned enough. And that was only scratching the surface. Mostly, I didn’t feel like I was thin enough, and this was reinforced by a steady stream of bullying and the celebrities I began to idolize.

My dysmorphic notions and my subsequent eating disorder were by no means severe, and I’m eternally grateful for that (because I have experienced, through friends and acquaintances, the harrowing ways in which ongoing disorders can tragically affect lives). I stopped eating in my final years of school and as I felt the weight dropping I experienced two very startling realities—that the people who made me feel inadequate continued to do so, despite my efforts at ridiculously minimizing my weight, going to the solarium and straightening my hair and that my health was declining, manifested through lethargy, constant illness and some average grades at school. I learned very quickly that in this dangerous game I was playing, too much would never be enough, and that there were more important things in my life than looking like the shell of an Olsen twin.

Why I love my body now

Because why not? Seriously. What is the value in being consumed in self loathing when I can focus my energies elsewhere—to eating delicious foods, drinking, having fun with friends, indulging in life, reading, learning, writing, adventuring, trying all the wonderful things life has to offer and having ample engery to do so. Don’t get me wrong—I believe in being healthy, and I don’t think a life of fast food and partying is any more fulfilling than a life of self-imposed restrictions. Balance is the key; for every Big Mac meal there will be a salad to follow, and even the occasional yoga class. But I also don’t believe in beating myself up if I don’t exercise for a week, or if I eat badly for a day. I simply don’t have the time.

Moreover—I have a family who loves me, wonderful friends, food to eat, a roof over my head and the occasional few dollars to indulge in shopping, travel, shows and whatnot. Why would I want to add completely unnecessary stress and discontentment to a life that, for all intents and purposes, is virtually perfect? I’ve had hard times, people have died, my heart has been broken by more than just romance, and I’ve found ways to get through these real hard times with a smile. Hating my body has, after only 26 years, become somewhat of and inconvenience and a frivolity I like to keep reserved to the self-indulgence of pubecence.

I sometimes have my days where I wish this was different or that was different. Wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t get pimples? Or gosh if I were taller I’d be able to reach those cookies on the top shelf. And these jeans would fit much better if I didn’t have this pot belly. But I’ve learned to keep such thoughts as they should be—fleeting. I can see them for what they are to me now, as a grown up—a fantasy. Like wishing for more money or magic powers, wishing for my body to be different is a momentary emotion, and I appreciate how unrealistic it is. Most importantly though, I’ve learned to focus on the things I love about my body—I love my round tooshie, my womanly hips and jelly legs, because these things are beautiful to me, even if they’re not supposed to be.

I’ve found a way to be really happy with what I have, and to embrace it, even the soft bits. Obviously the attitude I’ve developed doesn’t apply to all cases; it’s impossible to throw a blanket cure over an issue that comes in so many differing forms, that can range from being a surmountable matter of self-perception (as it was with me) or a true and crippling mental and physical illness. But it’s an undeniable fact that there’s a certain sense of all-consuming contentment that comes with feeling safe in one’s own skin. And if someone else doesn’t like it—that’s their problem. Because when push comes to shove, the people I want in my life aren’t going to want to be in my life because of the way I look naked (and if they do, kudos to them, because all my “weird” bits are actually really sexy). TC mark

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More From Thought Catalog

  • Guest

    Thank you for writing this

  • Guest

    Thank you for writing this

  • Anonymous

    After reading this article, I was surprised to see that Kat George is actually thin. There is nothing curvy about her at all, which is somewhat disconcerting since it means Kat George’s perception of herself is distorted. Not sure what to make of it, really. 

    • Joe

      Agreed. Kat, I think you spent a lot of time looking at yourself- totally not a bad thing- and thus view yourself a little differently, because you are very slender in all the pictures that can be found of you in Google Images (wow that sounds creepy).

      • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

        I think it would be really interesting to see pictures of people, naked, followed by those same people’s descriptions of themselves. Because I followed your lead, Joe, and Kat, I SEE NO THIGH TOUCHING ON THE INTERWEBS.

        “Most importantly though, I’ve learned to focus on the things I love about my body—I love my round tooshie, my womanly hips and jelly legs, because these things are beautiful to me, even if they’re not supposed to be.” – I really enjoyed this.

      • http://twitter.com/simbelsim simbel

        Even though I agree that pictures of Kat show her looking rather petite, like a size 6 or even 4, I can totally relate to her description of her body. I too am aware of my cellulite, my jiggly thighs, my slightly round belly and fat arms, while being a size 8/6, not obese and neither tall nor short. I blame skinny models and that one time when I lost a lot of weight accidentally.

        This is a pretty good reminder to start liking myself better. Never thought I’d say this, but thanks, Kat George.

  • Anonymous

    After reading this article, I was surprised to see that Kat George is actually thin. There is nothing curvy about her at all, which is somewhat disconcerting since it means Kat George’s perception of herself is distorted. Not sure what to make of it, really. 

  • inside-out happiness

    i love this. 

    i would like to add that, as someone who’s been told i’m “pretty” for most of my life, i still have my insecure moments every so often when i walk past someone who is utterly gorgeous – but a long time ago i realized that contentment is almost entirely mutually exclusive from appearance UNLESS if the first thing that people notice about you is your genuine smile.  the thing is, if you’re putting out positive energy, you will be far more beautiful to everyone around you than the sum of your nose, hips, thighs and teeth… and that energy isn’t something you can fake, it comes from within. i think the key to life (which you clearly have figured out too) is to nurture that inner happiness and then let it work its magic on your outer self.    

  • Nate

    Yeah baby, you thin and sexy. Still, well written and thoughtful piece. Thanks for sharing. 

  • Guest

    She didn’t say she wasn’t thin, though.  I can imagine someone with hips and a little bit of a “pot belly” still being thin, though I must admit that I have not looked up her pictures.

  • Dave Mcleod

    I feel really bad for the boys/girls that are good looking but insecure about how they look.  Or even people that are average looking (whatever that means) and feel insecure.

    Seems like preaching a message of healthy love for one’s body can prevent some people from realistically looking at themselves.  It is possible to be noticeably overweight, for this to be a source of discomfort to someone, and for them to take action to change this without having ‘negative body image issues’.  Telling your 30%-body-fat friend that you think they look great when they ask if they could do anything to look better isn’t especially admirable.

    There are guidelines for what’s healthy.  If you’re underweight, a desire to lose weight is probably motivated by .  If you’re overweight, a desire to lose weight isn’t unhealthy or negative.  Friends shouldn’t worry about telling friends to lose a few pounds.

  • C.

    Thank you for your viewpoints.  As a twenty-something woman, I too love and hate my body sometimes.  In high school, I ran cross country and I would lose 10 pounds every season, going down to 111 pounds.  I still hated my body back then because I was too skinny for being 5’4″ and did not have as big of breasts or filled out like some other girls did in my class.  Then I got through college, and I have gained weight. 

    I don’t consider myself unhealthy now, but I always seem to reminisce to that time when I was thin as a rail.  And I had abs.  And I had skinny arms.  But I’m growing into loving my body now as I did not back then, with my new curves and more muscle I have in my legs.  I still walk 2-4 miles every day, with an occasional run.  I feel that I did not give the appreciation I had for my body back then in high school as I do now.  

  • http://maxwellchance.wordpress.com Duke Holland of Gishmale

    Score! Totally know what you look like naked! Thanks for the masturbation material! 

  • peter peepper eater

    It’s super creepy that people are commenting on photos of you they found off the internets and telling you they know what your body looks like. 

    • Anonymous

      Isn’t the photo that corresponds to the piece what her body looks like?

  • Asdf

    You’re ridiculously thin and attractive and you love yourself. Get over it.

    • Anonymous

      Haha!

    • http://staugustinian.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

      “My large breasts sit upright without a bra, although one is a little bit lopsided.”

      That was actually the original title for the article… but it was too obvious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/m.paigekelly Megan Kelly

    Kat George you’re creating this sort of new voyeurism that is really unnerving. First, you talk about your private habits (shitting) and now you give us a detailed description of your body. I mean, good for you that you like your body and everything but maybe this isn’t the best type of stuff to be putting up for the WHOLE WORLD TO SEE. 
    Just sayin.
    I might be wrong. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001056308775 Shira Lev

      I really hope this comment isn’t serious.

      Kat, the “detailed description of your body” is beautiful. It really, really is. I relate.

      • http://www.facebook.com/m.paigekelly Megan Kelly

        No, it’s serious.
        The vanity of people these days is just incredible. 
        I’m all about being comfortable and open with yourself,
        But how can you keep your body sacred to yourself and to the people to whom you REALLY want to give your love if you’re exploiting yourself on the Internet for every Bob, Mary and Johnny to see/read about? I know I’d feel weird if my current/new significant other started writing in detail about his naked body for the entire world to read about. It’s not conducive to intimacy (which I realize Kat may not be going for right now, but hey, the future awaits…).
        I guess maybe if you need reassurance from strangers that you’re attractive, writing about it for Thought Catalog is the way to go. 
        Everybody just wants to be noticed. I understand.

      • Sara David

        this is incredible reductionist, narrow-minded, and just… ignorant. just because someone writing about their body/being open about their body doesn’t fit in with YOUR practice of “keeping your body sacred,” doesn’t mean they aren’t practicing their own brand of self-care. please educate yourself on the very varying ways of empowerment for women.

      • http://www.facebook.com/m.paigekelly Megan Kelly

        Being empowered doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone how much you love to shit, talk your about shit/farts/burps, and what your lopsided nipples look like when you stand in front of the mirror for an hour examining yourself. This whole “I’m gonna bear everything and talk about how much I used to hate myself but now I love myself because wow, I’m just great and I can talk about how I look naked to thousands of strangers because I’m a strong, powerful woman” facet of female empowerment is so overdone and  really quite vain, so much so that the horse was already dead long before Kat started whipping it. If you think Thought Catalog is the right medium for female empowerment, I feel kind of bad for you. I mean, really, can you tell me how this piece is going to help women in the middle east? I mean, the women who really need to be empowered? 

        Ugh. This place is such a waste of my time. Done. 

      • ani reina

        Do you post these types of comments to Ryan who posts how he loves to make out with people? Prob not. I’ve noticed something on TC comments that you are doing. Women criticizing the woman writers more so than negative comments towards the male writers and it is PISSING me off. So honestly you should go check yourself. 

        And really the women in the middle east need to be empowered? Come on. Do you think TC is really the appropriate avenue to help women in the middle east? Jeez its not CNN. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/m.paigekelly Megan Kelly

        I could post to Ryan’s pages but I find him to be a lost cause because he’s got his head wrapped around the “OMG, WTF” culture, which is a worthless pursuit to try to change. The same could be said about his dedicated readers. Actually, this is pretty entertaining. It’s funny how this whole website creates a stark following where people are ready to rip your head off if you oppose what’s being said on the page, which is in and of itself a great irony, because the criticism they get is ill received. I may not agree with what some people have to say, but I won’t go as low as to say that someone is ignorant because of how he/she feels about a certain subject, the subject here being shameless internet self promotion in the form of unnecessarily detailing the intimate parts of one’s own body. Call me narrow-minded and reductionist for calling Kat vain and exploitative? Okay. But who is going to be there to call the rest of you out on your bullshit? Is there no room for the gadfly? Do I not have the right to annoy the shit out of some of the more “girl power, sisters before misters” people on here for the sake of maybe, possibly provoking reflection on what it means to be an empowered woman? 
        And as far as the middle eastern women go, I’m not going to venture further down that  specific road because that’s an entirely different conversation not meant for a place like TC. I referenced it in response to Ms. David, who seems to think that here, of all websites, is the place where women will come to be empowered and will subsequently find that power from reading about how much someone else loves herself. I’m sick of this fucking bra-burning, give your love and body to the world side to the feminist culture because it’s truly only the tip of the iceberg of feminist issues and treating it as the be-all end-all issue pisses ME off. 
        There is a big difference between being self-loving and being vain. Why don’t you figure that one out on your own. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/m.paigekelly Megan Kelly

        Being empowered doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone how much you love to shit, talk your about shit/farts/burps, and what your lopsided nipples look like when you stand in front of the mirror for an hour examining yourself. This whole “I’m gonna bear everything and talk about how much I used to hate myself but now I love myself because wow, I’m just great and I can talk about how I look naked to thousands of strangers because I’m a strong, powerful woman” facet of female empowerment is so overdone and  really quite vain, so much so that the horse was already dead long before Kat started whipping it. If you think Thought Catalog is the right medium for female empowerment, I feel kind of bad for you. I mean, really, can you tell me how this piece is going to help women in the middle east? I mean, the women who really need to be empowered? 

        Ugh. This place is such a waste of my time. Done. 

  • http://twitter.com/jkymarsh J. Ky Marsh

    Can someone explain to me what the fuck the point of this article is?

    • Niki Wong

      I imagine that her point is to show everyone how she USED to hate her body and now no longer does, and thus inspire others to feel that they, too, can love their bodies, even if they’re not 6 feet tall and unproportionately skinny.
      Or something.

    • http://www.facebook.com/m.paigekelly Megan Kelly

      I think this is what I was trying to say, but didn’t want to come across as harsh. Well put, my friend. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/sarah.n.knutson Sarah N. Knutson

      Well, for some (you) it wasn’t thought-provoking, and that’s ok. But for others (me, and many, many others, apparently), it WAS. I’ve struggled with a self-image issue for a long time and for many different reasons. This article has helped put words to MY feelings, which for some (maybe not yourself, but definitely for me), this is really important to understanding behaviors and reasons for feeling certain things. It’s why some people journal, or join support groups, or see a therapist. Being able to explain why I feel the way I feel helps me accept and deal with what it is I’m feeling, and can thus help me build the self-awareness necessary for self-confidence.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve seldom google imaged anyone (except 6 months ago to find out who the hell Emma Watson was.  Yeah, she doesn’t make many appearances on SportsCenter or in my textbooks, and I have never seen any of the Harry Potter movies), but I was intrigued by some of the other posters who claimed that you didn’t look like your self-description.  Well, I have to agree.  I get the whole “love yourself for who you are” so as not to fight a constant internal battle that you likely will not win, but you are very pretty by anyone’s standards.  However, I am sure writing this piece for the whole world to see was a very liberating experience.  

  • Human

    you made yourself sound really chubby and out of shape and kind of strange looking when you’re actually well proportioned and cute… but i guess if you didn’t claim to be out of shape this article would be self congratulatory.. you know? like instead of saying stuff like “my thighs are thick and rub against each other” you were saying “my thighs are smooth and muscular”.. it would be weird.. hm

    • http://twitter.com/MissKimball misskimball

      it already is weird

  • Human

    you made yourself sound really chubby and out of shape and kind of strange looking when you’re actually well proportioned and cute… but i guess if you didn’t claim to be out of shape this article would be self congratulatory.. you know? like instead of saying stuff like “my thighs are thick and rub against each other” you were saying “my thighs are smooth and muscular”.. it would be weird.. hm

  • Beautymarking
  • GUEST

    judging from google images, you’re a total babe.

  • Elle

    I couldn’t finish this article.

    If I wanted to know what you looked like naked I would’ve contacted you to ask if you were dtf.

    • Elle

      Just lettin ya know,Kat, that there are 2 Elle’s out there. This is the non snarky one.

  • Sippycup

    Description of areola size is missing. Cannot fap to this.

  • cnlaird

    All I can say is thank you. Entirely.

  • Guest

    kat george wrote this article so people could tell her how skinny and pretty she is.

    • Lindsay

      This is the stupidest and most pointless thing you could have said in response to this article.

    • Guest

      Oh shut up.

  • Lindsay

    Ugh.  For those of you stalking the author to find out if her PERCEIVED body image description matches whatever random picture you might find:  get the fuck over it.  That is so far from the point.  Women are basically trained in one way or another to look at their bodies in excruciating detail and focus on the flaws.  Kudos to this author for being able to see all of those details and be okay with them.  Regardless of how thin you people see her as in whatever pictures you find: she probably does have cellulite on her thighs, BECAUSE MOST WOMEN DO.  Cellulite does not equal a fat person.  I played water polo and swam all throughout high school and was more fit than I’ve ever been in my life, and I still had cellulite.  Maybe the point was to show that looking at her body in such excruciating detail actually skews the perception of it?  Maybe?  And you are the ones perceiving her description to be one of chubby and fat, not her?  She wrote of the details of her body, and most of those details did not lend towards a description of fat.  Or maybe I’m the only one who read it that way. 

    Ugh whatever.  I liked this article.  Haters.

    • Seymour Blake

      “Stumpy,” “Plump,” “Round,” “Cankles,” “Chubby.”

      • Meg

        The purpose of the article was definitely not to complain about people who dislike their body…I don’t know where you got that from.

      • Seymour Blake

        I don’t understand. When did I say that?

  • Anonymous

    Kat, you seem to associate the “frivolity” of body image dissatisfaction with immaturity; you mention that wishing to look different is as ridiculous as any childish fantasy. You say these things as though you are a worldly, experienced adult. But you are 26. Hold onto this article. Read it in 14 years after you possibly give birth and you have aged some more. 

    Today, when you look at ads and TV shows and billboards, you are looking at yourself and your peers. Wait another decade and the people in those ads will be much younger than you. You will begin to feel marginalized when you no longer see yourself represented as ubiquitously, when clothing stores no longer sell things that are appropriate for you, and when your body starts to fail you in minor ways. Then you will understand why you come off as judgemental and sanctimonious in this article. 

    I agree with you on one fact; you are not your body. Your happiness ought not to depend on your appearance. But you, Kat, don’t even know the magnitude of change that is waiting around the cornier. Just wait. You appear to be a smart girl, and you have some valid points. But this article misrepresents you; it makes you sound smug, arrogant, and very, very naive. 

    • guesst

      She’s not saying it’s frivolous to be dissatisfied with your body, she’s saying you should love it.  I think she’s talking to people of all ages too, and she’s saying no matter what kind of body you have (26 or 56), you should be happy with yourself

      • Anonymous

        I disagree. Towards the end of the article, she says, “hating my body has, after only 26 years, become somewhat of and inconvenience and a frivolity I like to keep reserved to the self-indulgence of pubecence.” 

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