I just looked down at my stomach and scoffed. There is a gigantic mirror in my room and I am avoiding eye contact at all costs. I just had a great meal with lots of veggies and some amazing creamy garlic sauce and the first words out of my mouth after I finished was about how fat I felt. This was followed by an insane sense of panic and I was immediately overwhelmed with the amount of days I let pass since I went to the gym.
My battle with weight has been a long and treacherous one and unfortunately, my self esteem and confidence were casualties. I lost the weight and noticed all the pleasant looks I got from men and all the great compliments (?) I got from family and friends like ‘oh wow, you look so much thinner now, good for you’ or ‘you used to be so fat before now just look at you!’ But my favourite has got to be, “Why aren’t you married yet, you’re not fat anymore”. These are just the comments I hear, I don’t even want to know the thoughts running through the heads of the random cackling aunts and uncles that I run into at the grocery store.
My weight loss has been life changing but I still struggle everyday with feelings of inadequacy and just not feeling like it’s been enough. And here I am staring at ‘hot’ girls on the internet not understanding why my body is somehow inferior. Because it isn’t. At all. In any way, shape or form is my body less than the supermodels that adorn the runway or the Instagram models that wear nothing but..well nothing. I don’t blame media entirely because you don’t get rich off of putting regular looking folks infront of a camera to sell toothpaste or fucking lipstick. Ok so we are used to seeing fit, beautiful and perfect looking people at all times, but I’m an educated, conscious and savvy consumer, that stuff doesn’t bother me. It does sometimes.
I must admit that everytime I walk into a drugstore and see the magazines near the cash register with stick thin, bleached blonde, blue eyed white women, I sigh a bit, buy my dark chocolate and hurry on home to hide under the covers from this gigantic mirror. Or just drown out in wine. Whichever works fastest. I hate that I look at women and just see nothing but disappointment when I look back at myself and I know a lot of women feel that way too. We see these things that seem to have it all and ourselves as complete failures. What a jagged, horrible way to talk to yourself isn’t it? To shame yourself because the airbrushed airheads on the cover of some magazine or some website or a tv show just seem to have it altogether. WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES? WHY DO I DO IT TO ME?
I’m screaming at myself because at my worst, I am just exactly that, the worst. I knit pick myself down to nothing and I’m just left with an empty vessel of a body and overstrung out mind. How do we get out of the comparison game and love ourselves the way deserve to be loved? There are a few things I do to really understand the beauty inside me and why I deserve the love I owe myself instead of the hate knives I pierce instead:
1. Take care of myself:
I shave my legs everyday (almost), cleanse and moisturize my skin and take care of my nails. This doesn’t mean painting them or getting fake ones, I mean I just keep them looking clean and fresh. I often go make up free and don’t hide behind my glasses too much. If I leave the house, I wear clean and coordinated outfits that make me feel good and comfortable. I’ve invested in great sweat pants and great tank tops or tee’s that fit me beautifully and I replaced the underwear in my drawer regularly. This doesn’t seem like a lot but little things that add to the foundation of a put together external really does help, even on the days you don’t feel like the best version of yourself.
I watch funny movies, play with my dog and joke around with mum and sister. Maybe read some articles that make no sense or go to coffee with a friend. Again, really small things tend to make the difference between a not so great day and a good day.
Engaging in some sort of physical activity usually does wonders. Going to a gym, a walk outside or taking my little canine for a poo is good for the soul. My mom, because it’s bitterly cold in Toronto, walks back and forth in our living room. Vigorously. It’s really funny (refer to previous point) but she likes it because she feels like she’s contributing positively to her health. It’s kind of an inspiration. Go mom :)
4. Love Yourself:
Oh you know what I’m talking about. Light a few candles, change into that brand new underwear you got yourself on a splurge at VS and really feel yourself. Explore the parts of your body that you normally would condemn and treat them with the respect they deserve. You are your best lover.
We can’t avoid things that we see and we should try our best to co-exist with the rest of the world. But when we feel overwhelmed, tired and sick of things, this is the opportunity we need to take to shut off. Our computers, our phones, the tv and everything else. Comparison is a fault in logic and it is irrational by definition. So close the magazine and open up to yourself. Be alone with yourself and like it damn it!
I’m still learning to be at peace with my body and I don’t think I’ll ever not have an issue with it but I would like to think that if I just string together enough days of comfortable, it’ll lead to a more fulfilling sense of self. At least I hope.