So if you’ve been reading my ramblings for a while (and if you have, OH MY GOD I LOVE YOU FOR CONTINUING TO PUT UP WITH THIS NONSENSE), then you’ve probably noticed that I have some, shall we say, body image problems.
For example, I’m famous for seeing an image of my body and HATING it.
Of not wanting to have my picture taken because I might look fat.
Of not allowing myself to eat this or that (or, famously, at all) because I might get fat/get fatter/ stay fat.
I don’t even own a full length mirror because, as a rule, I don’t even want to see myself.
So yeah, maybe a body image problem. Or two hundred. Or whatever. I’m not counting.
But the thing about having body image issues (or body dysmorphia, as the cool kids call it) is this: It’s EXHAUSTING.
And eventually it gets old.
I mean, at some point, you get tired of worrying and wondering about your weight every damn day. I think that, for some of us, it’s an easy cycle to get into, but it’s hard to break because you don’t know HOW to break it, because you hear ALL THE TIME that thin equals beautiful and skinny equals sexy and this magazine is pushing this diet and this infomercial is pushing that diet and you need to stop eating carbs or eat only carbs or I don’t even freaking know and for the love of baby Jesus could we please stop because I can’t take another day of hating my body.
This post? Is not about hating my body.
It’s about learning to love it. All of a sudden. With no warning or planning.
Now, granted, I should probably confess here that I’ve been on the above merry-go-round for, um, let’s see, I’m 36, so … 36 years. From the moment I can remember having actual thoughts until yesterday. Which is a really long time to keep doing something that makes you ultra-miserable, don’t you think? I should also confess that, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a little … flighty, my dad would say.
Which I’m pretty sure means: Prone to doing bizarre things for no real reason.
I’m cool with it.
Anyway. I got it into my head earlier this week that my hair would be really fun to make crazy and spikey and weird. With product, so it would stay that way. And then, because I’m a dork, I posted a picture of it on facebook.
People LOVED it.
Which, honestly, stressed me out. Because it was weird, the hair. It doesn’t … shall we say … blend. It’s red and sticking up every which way.
Did I mention that people loved it? They loved it.
“It doesn’t look like me,” I thought a couple of times.
Then I realized: Yes, it does.
It looks like the me that I could ALLOW myself to be. It looks like the me that I want to be. Fierce. Kind of whacked. Fun. Not afraid and not uncomfortable in her skin.
And that was when my brain made a huge, 36 years overdue, cognitive leap. What if, it suggested, hesitantly, I didn’t limit my “looking with new eyes” just to my hair?
What if I extended that to my entire self?
What would happen?
Here’s what happened.
I’m not the tiniest person you’ll ever meet. I’m not the biggest. I’m not the curviest and I’m not the least curvy. You’ll meet people who are more athletic and people who are less athletic and people who are sexier and people who aren’t as sexy.
I don’t have to be any of those people. Because I see now that all I need to be – all I ever needed to be – was THIS size, THIS curvy, THIS level of athletic, THIS sexy. This. All of this, right now. Just me.
Some people will get it. Some people won’t. I don’t need to appeal to everyone. Not anymore.
All this from a hair moment? You might be asking.
But it’s FABULOUS hair.