Every single woman that I know has had some sort of body issues.
Smart, talented, creative, funny women with minds full of treasure and hearts full of kindness and hands that can soothe and conjure and construct. All these women, endlessly distracted by their bodies. By the form they take, by the measurements they make.
It drives me batty, because it’s such a waste of all the other bits of us.
Now, I’m no stranger to self-loathing, but I’ve worked very hard to get to a place where it doesn’t feature much in my daily mind matter. It’s just embodiment, and I’m much more interesting than that. We all bloody well are. We freaking TRANSCEND these earthly shapes.
So, as someone who refuses to apologise for the amount of space she takes up in the world, I naturally appreciate the politics of the body positivity movement. This school of thought encourages people to re-frame their negative thoughts about their bodies and re-train their minds to love that which they used to loathe – the folds, the rolls, the scars and stretch marks, the cellulite and glowing white.
But, I’ve got one leetle problem with it. The self-love bit. The ‘love’ bit.
I just think it might be a bit much to ask, is all.
When so many of these excellent women I know are fightin’ the good fight just to move through their days without hiding themselves in potato sacks (though I do encourage potato consumption in SACK volumes), I think it’s a bit of a stretch to ask them to be their own Valentine.
From the time we are little girls, we learn to find flaws in ourselves, seeking evidence of our own inadequacy with the skill and determination of sniffer dogs. We even get competitive about who has more flaws, who is less worthy of love or appreciation or attraction or even existence.
It takes a lot of undoing to forget those habits. We’d sooner forget out own names.
So, as usual, I have a suggestion that nobody asked for.
We don’t need to try and love ourselves. We really don’t. It would be setting ourselves up for failure. If we can’t quite get to the point of sending love letters to our own dimpled arses, we’ll just feel even more inadequate.
I think we need to like ourselves, maybe, but what I really think is that we need to see our bodies as just that, bodies. Vessels. Pods for the seeds of us.
As inconsequential as a shell for a hermit crab – just a shelter from the weather.
Who’s with me?