Ok, I admit, It is ok to hate your body ranks quite high on the most clickbait titles I have ever created.
But almost every day I see girls like you and I, writing blogs and sharing their life online, girls I admire and girls I love reading, and spying on, and just listening to, being attacked for the absurd reason that they dare to not love every single inch of their bodies. Someone needs to finally say it and break the insane status quo.
It is ok to be dissatisfied with the way you look.
It is ok not to love every single inch of yourself.
It is ok to hate your body to the extent that you can no longer look at some parts of it and feel comfortable with them.
It is ok to change.
And now, that we got over the toughest hurdle, just hear me out.
About body issues
One thing about body issues – we all have some.
I would love to live in a world where overcoming all of them was possible. I really would. I could never wish for anything better for another person than to embrace who they really are, well, within societal safe limits. There is beauty and there is calmness in aligning to one’s own nature. It is simply magical.
There is currently big movement, a big craze we are all a part of, that requires us to stay natural and true. We are told to accept all our flaws and move on. We are told we are all smart and beautiful, and on some level we may all well be.
But at the same time we are told that all our concerns are invalid. What started as an initiative to encourage each other to be less critical and more self-loving turned into… turned into something I struggle to name.
I often wonder how we got to this place. How simple and nice But you are so pretty! You need more faith in yourself! turned into But you are so pretty! How can you be so moany and ungrateful? And, most importantly, how could we let it slide all the way down to this dark, dark place?
Body issues that we were facing used to be bad enough in themselves, without the world pressuring us into rejecting them here, now, immediately.
Acceptance sometimes just doesn’t come
There are few things I know I will never love about my body. It’s been a while since I have noticed how much they bother me for the first time and I have tried every trick in the book to accept them, but they seem to escape all my cunning plans with ease.
There is, for instance, a dip in my left arm. I don’t mean a tiny, little dimple, no; it is a dip. A bit like if my upper arm collapsed in upon itself, losing half of its volume for about a quarter of its length. It is very big and noticeable, and if not for my crazy modelling skills, you would not be able to ignore it.
And that is precisely what I am trying to do – ignore it, since I cannot force myself to find it quirky and adorable. But every time I see myself in a mirror, I cringe, and every time I see myself in a photo where I failed to cover it up… there is a big hard delete and forget coming its way.
If someone told me I could go through a very painful procedure to lift the dip in my arm back to its proper place, I would do it within the blink of an eye, even if it was life threatening. I would not hesitate. That is just how much I cannot stand it.
This sort of prejudice can, of course, fade away, but it often doesn’t; and there is nothing one can do to fight it. Some things are a part of us, yet they feel oddly strange and not really ours. I used to always feel this way about glasses – I knew I had to wear them but it just didn’t feel right. Plenty of people feel this way about silly little things, like hair colour or lip size, and some struggle with enormous incompatibilities, to the extent when they don’t feel like they live in the correct body.
No one can just get over it.
One can ignore it, if it is trivial, just like I can ignore my arm dip, after all its impact on my life is minimal. But even in the most irrelevant cases these sort of thoughts, these tiny dissatisfactions, they linger at the back of our heads and make us uneasy, unsettled, unhappy about who we are and in the long term can be quite harmful.
We need to stop talking natural
Using natural to defend any argument just doesn’t make sense. Plenty of things are natural but I would not recommend doing them. In some species eating your own children is natural. Don’t do it.
But the truth is, we linger for easy answers to all the pressing questions that have none. Who are we? What should we do? Where are we going? All of these matters will never get their final solution. There are some easy fixes around though, and, I am sorry for being so blunt, I think sticking to the natural is one of them.
Yet even if we do want to stay true to our nature, how one does even define it? Is our nature what is biologically ours or is there more to it? And who is more natural – the one I see in the mirror or the one I want to see in the mirror?
I don’t know.
I really don’t.
I choose to let people decide for themselves what feels natural to them, what feels, I guess, theirs and real, and true, and important. And sometimes, well, sometimes it means their definition of natural is very far from mine. But, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, it is ok. It should be ok. It is just who they strive to be.
Embracing oneself can mean change too
Sometimes to love, one needs to let go. And sometimes one needs to change.
Change can be the only option. It happens. Not all of us were lucky enough to be born exactly how we wanted to be. And although changing oneself in terms of developing character and finding new experiences and such is highly praised, changing one’s body… that’s more iffy.
For a reason I cannot possibly understand, it is so far away from my cozy point of view, as soon as someone starts talking about plastic surgery – and for some people even as soon as someone starts talking about makeup – it means they lose any right to call themselves true to their nature, or even any right to respect.
Why would it be so drastically different?
There are a great many things in the world that can change us, both physically and mentally. If I got pregnant, for instance, I don’t believe I would finish this experience the same person, all the kids’ stuff aside. My body would change and I would change.
Going through a surgery to change your looks may have a different motivation – but it is not necessarily evil. There is nothing vain or shallow about someone feeling uncomfortable with how they look. Dismissing it as such just… If anything, tells more about the person ready to judge it so than of a person ready to embrace the fact they are dissatisfied with themselves and want to take some action to improve themselves.
Sure, everyone can have a different opinion or whether these sorts of procedures are necessary or even worth the risk. Every surgery is a risk. Every time someone sticks a needle in you it is a risk. But our opinions should always stay what they are – our opinions, not an excuse to make someone else’s life miserable and their problems unnecessarily painful.
And there is the Photoshop bit too
Sometimes change cannot happen. Sometimes we want it to happen, but it is too slow or it is simply out of our control. Sometimes you may hate your body, but there may be nothing you can do about it.
And it sucks.
We do everything in our power to either ignore it or cover it up in real life. But in this digital era, where everything is recorded forever and ever, sooner or later someone will catch a photo of it, or we will be forced to produce one. Especially if what we are doing is, well, very public and personal like writing a blog.
One can say – it is self-imposed. It is. No one is forced to blog. But the only thing I ask for is for everyone to ask themselves one little question: Would you really like to have this one thing that you hate most about yourself recorded where everyone can see it forever and ever?
Of course, there is always the question of scale. Removing a few acne scars is drastically different to reshaping your entire body. But the problem I would have with the latter is not the act of digitally improving the image; it is the lies and hypocrisy and insane arguments these images often try to support. There is nothing wrong with ‘shopping yourself, as much as there is nothing wrong with painting on walls, but then again, if you paint on the wall of a museum that was built 500 years ago and is public property, well, that isn’t that good anymore.
A little bit of empathy takes one a long way
My dad says I am as empathetic as the Red Army. So, if even I am saying one needs to show some empathy, it really means it.
Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is difficult at the best times; but when one strongly believes that their decisions are wrong and are also acting against some principle that you hold dear, it is often borderline impossible. People going against what we stand for are insufferable. I get it. They just want to ruin everything. I get that to.
But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. Well, it does, if we plan to get sexually involved with them; that is where the line between I am mine and I am yours blurs so much, it is often hard to tell which side is right in the You changed so much argument. Yet more often than not, we do not plan to get sexually involved with all the strangers on the internet.
I mean, go for it. I won’t judge. It is just statistically unlikely all of us plan on the same thing simultaneously.
What strangers do to their bodies should not matter to us. It does not affect us. It does not send a sinister message to the Universe. Don’t think of the children. Children have nothing to do with it. And even if you do believe that we, collectively, are responsible for ruining thousands of girls’ lives worldwide, sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? – even if you DO believe in that, are you sure that the health and happiness of one person is so much less important than the possibility of impacting some young minds in a way no one can ever truly quantify?
I am not. I don’t think anyone can be. I don’t think anyone has the right to impose a sacrifice from another person. We have a right to choose for ourselves. We have a right to make our own mistakes. We have a right to do as we please and accept the consequences.
We have a right to not suffer for the hypothetical children.
And you, you have the right to hate your body.