Every summer, I longingly admire girls wearing shorts. And despite being mobile and without any serious illness, I still cringe at the sight of my cellulite. I despise it. It’s always been a “gross” part of myself that I don’t want anyone to see, and if that means not wearing shorts all summer in the blazing heat, then fine. Being so judgmental towards my body has created a hostile internal monologue that has left me, at times, totally insecure. Other times I’ve just worn uncomfortable clothing to disguise what I’ve thought wasn’t “right” about my body. But as I celebrate my 28th birthday, I’ve got a new attitude and I refuse to care, in any way, about having cellulite.
Guess what world? I am not perfect. I am not ugly. I am not gross. I am a woman who loves Thai yellow curry, running, hula-hooping, being friends with my Momma, walking my dogs, listening to Cher, and I am not bound to any part of my body to exclusively identify what type of woman I am. I’ve worked so hard to be the woman I am today, and I will be damned if I denounce my own power and gifts because I have a few bumps on my butt.
Every time I start to talk down to myself, I’m reminded of the following four things. . .
1. My butt is not my future
When and if I ever have children, rest assured they would not care what my butt looks like. I want my children to have an intelligent, imaginative, and empowered woman as one of the many influences in their lives. If I allow my negative body image to taint my experience of life, what kind of message does that send them? I want them to see beauty in the way I hold their hearts, give them support, and honor my self.
2. I exercise to feel powerful and good, not to get skinny
Every time I go running, I try to remind myself why I am running. I’m running to release anxiety that can be crippling at times. I’m running to stay flexible. I’m running because I can. I’m running because I like to see how fast I can go. I’m not running to look a certain way, though there is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals for yourself. Exercise is like a deep breath, it shouldn’t feel like a means to an end or a punishment for not looking “right.”
3. My spirit animal, Amelia Earhart, would not approve
This sounds sort of silly, but throughout my life, I’ve stopped to ask myself what a woman like Amelia Earhart would think of the way I’m living my life. Being named Amelia is only part of it and really what I’m questioning is how would one of the most powerful and revolutionary women in history feel about the way I’m using my brain? I’d like to think Amelia Earhart would tell me to stop worrying about my cellulite and go do something to change the world.
4. I don’t need to apologize
I’ve painfully worked through some pretty seriously traumatic things, and with that sense of balance and strength, I’ve also developed a pretty strong backbone. Why then, do I feel ashamed of something that began before I was even a teenager? This is my body. I love my body. I am not sorry about my body. I do not need everyone to like my body. I respect my body and want to love and nurture it, not berate and abuse it with harsh judgments that are ultimately insignificant.
I realized that it really doesn’t matter whether you’re tall, wide, short, narrow, skinny or curvy. What matters most is that you honor the body you have and challenge the BS you’re taught to believe about something that totally and wholly belongs to you.