I’m all for body positivity and loving everything that you are. I’m also pragmatic and realize that on this mortal coil we go through so many changes as we get older that if I can’t love my imperfections I can at least not let them bother me so much. Focus more on the things I do like and keep it moving. Beauty standards are constantly changing and it’s more than anyone can do to try to keep up, but I have my own shit I wish I didn’t have to deal with: acne, chronic dry skin, keratosis pilaris, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, corns, weak brittle nails, fragile hair, allergic shiners (dark patches under my eyes), and thinning eyebrows. All of those things are treatable and/or temporary and don’t bother me all that much anymore. But I have to regularly beat down insecurity over things that I can’t really change like my dark knees, elbows, and underarms; the shape of my thighs, old scars from my rugrat days, the size of my eyes and nose, the density of my hair, and my ass that seems to be much smaller than it used to be. I know intellectually there is literally nothing “wrong” with the way I look, but still I still get annoyed sometimes.
It used to bother me a lot but it takes a lot of energy to care about these superficial things and I just don’t have the time. I’d rather care less and have worked to do just that. One way I do it is to consider that we all have things about ourselves we consider imperfect. Take the people in the world considered to be the most beautiful and they could tell you things they don’t like about their physical selves. That’s the thing isn’t it? It’s not how others see you, it’s how you see yourself. Though your criticisms may be informed by a lot of outside factors we all have something different that irks us. Unpacking all the reasons why you feel the way you do could take years and is not quite within the scope of this one post, but let me tell you this: you don’t have to love what you find imperfect about yourself. Really. I don’t know if loving them should be the goal. I come from the if-you-don’t-like-it-change-it-in-a-healthy-and-considered-way camp. If you can’t love them then maybe the goal should be to be all right about them. But how?
Me just as I am…and wig
Find the difference between what you can change and what you can’t. I can do something about my breakouts. I take my medication that helps keep my hormones under control and practice a skin care regimen that helps when my hormones just simply won’t act right. Now, most days I have clear or mostly clear skin as long as I stay on top of it. As for my thighs? I can’t or I should say won’t do anything about the shape of my thighs. I have muscular legs and always always have and always will have because there’s nothing I can do about them. So instead of focusing on how I don’t find them to be very feminine, I find gratitude. I have legs that can support my weight, that can bend and flex, that don’t get tired easily. That’s an incredibly wonderful thing and it helps me appreciate them in ways that have nothing to do what they look like.
Practice gratitude and do what you can with what you’ve got. Learning that these things are what makes you you and that’s perfectly fine. A zebra wouldn’t complain about its stripes nor a leopard about its spots. Finding yourself appreciating what you do like rather than concerning yourself so much about what you don’t is a really nice place to be. Yet I know this is a struggle that isn’t solved with just platitudes. It will take time but if every day you focus more on what you like than what you don’t I promise you it gets better.
Lead Image | Rebecca Matthews