Exploring our relationship with our “flawed” bodies
As I get older my relationship with my body is developing. Some things change, some things stay the same. I am coming to realise that no matter what I do to it there will always be things I don’t like about it, if I choose to see them. Over the years I’ve gained and lost weight, become fitter and less fit, had long and short hair. What has stayed the same is that innate sense of dissatisfaction; that I’ve never quite got it right.
But now I’m nearing the end of my twenties, I think I can finally say I am getting to a place where I can embrace my own body, however it is. So much of my past discomfort has been about what my body looks like. Not about how it feels, or what it does. As I take stock I begin to sense that I need not to move the goal posts, but to get rid of them entirely. So many of the things we ‘hate’ about ourselves are things that other people would never even notice, let alone care about. So I decided to share with you some of my body’s “flaws”. Things that once would have made me cringe, and want to hide them away. But the more I grow, the less I care. I am proud of my body. It’s got me through a lot, and it can do a lot more. I can’t pretend it doesn’t sometimes let me down, that there aren’t still times when I think ‘why does it have to look like that?’ I don’t think total self-love and acceptance is an achievable or realistic goal. We’re only human, and sometimes the small things get to us. But if we can move towards feeling comfortable with our bodies as they really are, that would be an enormously worthwhile step.
But we can’t pretend that ‘body positivity’ exists in a vacuum. There is a reason that this term has had to be coined, that we judge our bodies harshly, and that is because we constantly compare them to idealised and unrealistic images we are presented with in the media. Even if Photoshop and its ilk aren’t used, there are all manner of ways that the depictions of women we see aren’t ‘real’. With apps like Facetune this is even seeping into our normal lives: now it’s not just celebrities buffing out their ‘imperfections’ and smoothing out their ‘curves’, it’s our friends and peers too. It is not until we reject these harmful and homogenised representations of what women should be that we will be able to truly accept our own bodies, in all their diverse and “flawed” glory.
Body image is something I think we have all struggled with at some point in our lives. How has growing older (and hopefully wiser) impacted your relationship with your body?