Today while in the locker room at the gym I had the pleasure of chatting with two young ladies. I was leaning on a shelf looking into my phone when they walked in and one (we’ll call her Tiffany) commented on my tattoos, starting a conversation. We chuckled over our mutual love of bigger brighter tattoos then talked briefly of her wanting more ink over her stretchmarks and I showed her the graffiti on my right hip.
She waved her hand in a dismissive gesture, scrunched up her face, and said my stretchmarks were prettier than hers.
The friends put their stuff in a locker, whispering among themselves for a bit and wished me a good day as they passed on their way out. The other stopped to weigh herself (we’ll call her Rita) while Tiffany told Rita how she never weighs herself because the scale only tells us numbers, it doesn’t tell us how our bodies are changing. I don’t usually intervene first because it’s none of my business and second I do enjoy observing women help one another, it makes my heart smile. However, they allowed the possibility by being friendly and open, so I took the opportunity to continue the encouragement.
Tiffany is right, the scale doesn’t tell us the whole truth. It only tells us our entire weight of compressed tissue, muscles and bones. It doesn’t tell us how many inches have been lost from around our waist or neck or chest. It doesn’t tell us there are fat cells being silenced every time we exercise like when we take the stairs instead of the elevator. Tiffany nodded at her friend as I reminded her of this, saying something like, “See? She knows, too.” I shared with them the only time I weigh myself is every few months if that, how most often I go by how I feel and whether or not my clothes fit.
And then it happened again. Tiffany waved me off saying I didn’t need to work out.
I laughed and asked her how she thought I got this way, Rita asking the same question of her friend at almost the same time. Then I told Tiffany how I started at a swollen 175#, that I began running almost 7 years ago and really paying attention to my food within the last two years, that I now eat to fuel my body with the occasional cheat meal to keep things interesting. I continued with me being 126# now, but I’ve worked hard to get to this point and if I stop working this hard I will quickly go back to 175#. I reminded them both that healthy is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. Tiffany asked if I got this way by exercising and eating healthy and I responded with an absolutely. Rita shared with us how she used to be 400# and intimidated by the gym but now laughs at the meatheads and does her exercises without shame. I congratulated her on the progress and overcoming her fears.
And then it happened again, Tiffany lifted me up while putting herself down. We were discussing our baby bellies, she said mine was prettier than hers.
I’m only going to say this once boys and girls:
LOVE YOUR FUCKING BODIES RIGHT NOW AS THEY ARE, OKAY?
No One will ever have the perfect body
Do we really want to die being unhappy with ourselves, flaws and all? Do we really want our last moments to be of criticizing the parts of us that are unique?
Society isn’t very helpful in this area of body image. For both men and women. The charged message is we should eat McDonald’s, Burger King, Hardee’s Big Burger and gigantic smoothies while remaining a svelte slab of lean muscle.
I’m telling you right now it’s not possible. Get it out of your head. Realize you have a choice. And accept it is yours. You only have to answer to yourself and whichever diety to whom you profess your allegiance. You are the only person who has an opinion that matters. Fuck errybody else.
Love yourself, your body and who you are.
Make the decision to shut out those extraneous voices and then fight for your right to your own happiness. Don’t wait until you have the perfect body or the perfect puzzle pieces to fit into your life. Be happy right now. We are all beautiful magnificent unicorns. We are but a single snowflake in this large space of humanity.
So go on, go be your brutiful self, unapologetically.
You deserve it.