Friday, January 14, 2011

No Distance That Could Hold Us Back

Dear No One in Particular,

There's something about New Year's that seems to jolt everyone into a sense of self-improvement. I understand it: the symbolism of opening up a fresh calendar, a new start on life with the start of a new year, etc. I'm certainly not immune to it. My resolutions list reads like a stereotype: get a new, more fulfilling job; make a healthy dinner every night; read more books, watch less television. And at the top of the list: lose weight.

I read a lot of wonderfully written self-acceptance blogs, most notably Chicken Soup for the Dorky Soul and Average Fantastic. Heck, I've written posts on self-acceptance myself! But I can't say that I don't occasionally feel a bit hypocritical when I finally admit that, no, I don't really accept my body for what it is.

True, I still hold out hope that fat-phobia will go the way of the dodo bird, but I'd be a liar if I said that I didn't hope that my body fat went extinct with it.

At the end of the day, I still see my body as under construction. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain; the figure you see before you is being renovated.

Sure, a lot of this is stemming from the fact that I'm getting married (yes! The Boy is now officially the Fiance!) and the notion of taking tons of pictures in a white dress is making me break out in cold sweats. Yet, I can't help but entertain the truth that, for all my bravado, this is just an out for all my neuroses.
I'm incapable of viewing my body with a neutral eye. I see every inch of scarred skin, dimpled thighs, hair, crooked teeth, and curves upon curves -- all with a laser-focus that sends warning bells off in my mind.

Laura, of Ruby Bastille and Average Fantastic fame, recently wrote about cosmetic changes vs a message of body acceptance, a topic I've wrestled with myself. Does changing your appearance, however drastically, signal to the rest of the world that you were never really pleased with your body to begin with?

In my mind, self-confidence is the very root of self-acceptance. You can't have one without the other. Laura pointed out:
my self-confidence was suffering, therefore affecting the rest of my appearance. Not wanting to smile morphed into not wanting to be noticed, because I didn’t want anyone to notice that I wasn’t smiling. Not wanting to be noticed just felt gross.

I find my body displeasing, therefore I have poor self-confidence. I have poor self-confidence, therefore I am not pleased with my body. It's a vicious cycle that needs to stop.

If admitting you have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery, then my journey has begun. I'm not sure where, exactly, it will lead me or how long this adventure will take. I do know that I only have one resolution this year: to be happy with myself, just the way I am.

--amanda

5 comments:

Vanessa said...

First, thanks for the plug-- it's really flattering! Second, I know exactly how you feel. I try very hard to be accepting of myself, and I think blogging about acceptance is part of my way of helping myself feel more comfortable in my own skin. It really is a process. Some days I walk into the world sayin' "haters gonna hate" and feeling awesome, and others I want to hide and lament the fact that my ideal picture of my body is not what my body is right now. It's a process. It's an everyday challenge. There isn't an endpoint. Hating myself for not being as skinny as I once was is not helping me, and it would only be a huge obstacle in making healthy efforts to just... be healthy. Whatever my body looks like when I'm being quite healthy, well, that's fine with me. I don't think we can make changes out of a place of hate or resentment. Don't change your body-- change to be healthier and happier without regard to the size of a wedding dress. Because you're nothing short of beautiful.

The end.

LearningByReading said...

No Distance could hold us back is such a beautiful description!

Laells said...

I feel like you stole my thoughts out of my head. :)

rubybastille said...

Oh wow, thank you for the awesome shout-out! If you want, you could do a Beauty Is for us - we've done a few where ladies send in a picture and everyone comments about how awesomely beautiful they are. It's been pretty fun. :)

But yes, I am right there with you in terms of the self-acceptance journey. It makes me feel like a hypocrite sometimes, trying to write about accepting yourself when I don't always accept myself, but I think the important part to remember is that it's a process. So yay, journeys! Let us know how it's going. :)

rubybastille said...

Oh wow, thank you for the awesome shout-out! If you want, you could do a Beauty Is for us - we've done a few where ladies send in a picture and everyone comments about how awesomely beautiful they are. It's been pretty fun. :)

But yes, I am right there with you in terms of the self-acceptance journey. It makes me feel like a hypocrite sometimes, trying to write about accepting yourself when I don't always accept myself, but I think the important part to remember is that it's a process. So yay, journeys! Let us know how it's going. :)