Let’s Get Physical
“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”
― Amy Bloom
As I was walking along the beach one morning, taking in the warm comforting sunshine of another lustrous day in Cape Town, I had my eyes severely pried open.
I had already walked the length of the beach and back and as I was approaching the designated ‘swimming’ section of the beach (shark nets just fitted and all!), I heard the glorious tones of laughter, splashing, shrieking and general guffawing.
When I looked over at the watery shallows I saw the melodious sounds were coming from a group of well-endowed, young African ladies. Some of them had shorts and t-shirts on, some were fully clad in dresses — it didn’t matter — the only thing that seemed to matter was having a copious amount of fun.
They were seizing the day and living in the moment — squeezing the joy out of the sparkling waves as they crashed down on them.
They didn’t care that their clothes were completely see-through or that they weren’t sporting the latest Speedo bikini.
Upside Down Pear-Shapes and Wake Up Calls
I was swiftly jolted back into my own headspace. I had walked most of this beautiful beach preoccupied by how I was going to look when, at the end of my walk, I took my swim.
Let me explain:
I bought this really expensive swimsuit but it was too big at the bottom end (making my bum look big) and very snug at the top end (causing a serious melon-spillage). I’ve kind of got this reverse pear-shape thing going on where what fits the top is too big for the bottom and what fits the bottom is too small for the top. Aaargh!
This was making me feel very self-conscious.
So, I’d been fussing about this in my thoughts until the point when the playful posse had interrupted my rather irksome inner dialogue.
Western Culture Sucks
Here were these beautiful bountiful lasses all flaunting their fabulousness and there I was fretting about a stupid little thing like a baggy-bottomed bather (which probably wasn’t that bad to begin with — the mind can create havoc, you know!).
Besides the fact that I am a typical Virgo, always fussing with the smallest of things and wanting everything in its right place — the ‘western’ culture is just so damned critical.
We always have some magazine, TV show or fashion trend telling us what perfect looks like and how we should be.
What a bunch of bullshit. I mean really?
Cottage Cheese and Crackers
Actually, I know a few people who — either due to the delusion that their thighs resemble cottage cheese or they wouldn’t be seen dead in a bather (really? Not even if you were dead?) — wouldn’t even attempt a swim because of the fear of being seen!
It’s completely crackers!
I wish these people would regress themselves to their childhood and ask their tiny counterparts what they would think of themselves if they knew that, in time to come, they wouldn’t enjoy a swim because of how they perceived themselves?
The sad thing is that I have even heard 4 year old girls now walking around asking if their ‘bum looks big in this?‘.
Being Unique is the Best Trend Ever!
After this episode of learning, I whipped off my clothes and sauntered into the ocean — releasing the inner child and just having a thoroughly, bloody good time.
It felt so freeing.
I can’t say that I didn’t adjust my costume a few times — old habits die hard — but I did feel a sense of relief and balls to what people think.
The Naked Truth
I hope you come away from this blog with a sense of how ridiculous it is to:
- Not have fun or be spontaneous because of what other people think — When you do this, you are letting other people dictate your experience. Now how foolish does that sound now that you’re reading it in black and white?
- Worry about how you might appear to others, period — If you’re OK with who you are, it doesn’t matter what other people think. You’ve got to get over it. You’re never going to have universal appeal anyway. The people whose opinions count, will be the ones who love your uniqueness.
If you’re having the time of your life, go on and enjoy it! Don’t give a hoot about the skew looks you might procure if you truly let go — the ones who may pass judgment are the ones who cannot release their inner child or inner joy.
Who knows, your bravado might entice their daring to come out and play.
Love the Skin You’re In
“I’ve gone through stages where I hate my body so much that I won’t even wear shorts and a bra in my house because if I pass a mirror, that’s the end of my day.”
― Fiona Apple
How many of us can relate to Fiona Apple?
Call to action time. I want you, next time you face yourself in the mirror, to truly look into your own eyes. Tell yourself that you are a beautiful and unique creature — a human expression of the soul you truly are.
Let your eyes run over every nuance of your being, even the parts you may not like. When you do this, praise yourself for the bits and bobs you love about yourself — put your full attention on those parts and really give yourself genuine admiration. Be kind and complementative — just as if you were uplifting a friend who was having body image problems.
This is not an act of narcissism — this is a way to get you to accept and love the skin you’re in.
Most of all, be grateful for the body you have. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that even if you do have lumps and bumps in certain places, you probably still have a lot to be thankful for.
“Let me ask you something, in all the years that you have…undressed in front of a gentleman has he ever asked you to leave?
Has he ever walked out and left? No? It’s because he doesn’t care!
He’s in a room with a naked girl, he just won the lottery. I am so tired of saying no, waking up in the morning and recalling every single thing I ate the day before, counting every calorie I consumed so I know just how much self loathing to take into the shower. I’m going for it.
I have no interest in being obese, I’m just through with the guilt. So this is what I’m going to do, I’m going to finish this pizza, and then we are going to go watch the soccer game, and tomorrow we are going to go on a little date and buy ourselves some bigger jeans.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert
Do you have a tip to share? How do you embrace your body, ‘faults’ and all? I’d love to hear from you.
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