Unruly bodies

Keeping with the theme from Monday about the effort by society to control women’s bodies, I want to point you to an older post over at Fat Heffalump.  It’s from June of 2014, but the message echoes much of what I was thinking when I wrote about The Beauty Myth.  

In her post, Fat Heffalump says,

“Why must women be small, tidy, contained, unobtrusive?  Why must we spend our lives trying to disappear, be invisible, to not take up any space, to keep out of everyone’s way?  Why can’t we inhabit our bodies as they are, find comfort and joy in them?”

Such a great question!  Why indeed do women spend so much of their lives trying to disappear and stay out of the way?

I identify a lot with Heffalump’s discussion of her body’s rebellion.  I too am a massive klutz (my poor husband spends most of his time terrified that I’m going to trip, fall, and die on a daily basis) I am allergic to all sorts of stuff (pollen, fragrances, chemicals, fragrances and chemicals in lotions, fragrances and chemicals in cleaning products, the sun) and while I enjoy running, I certainly don’t run fast or gracefully.  Also, my body breaks societal rules by being fat.

Like Heffalump, I too fought against my body for years.  I have dieted, taken diet pills, toyed with disordered eating, tried makeup to hide the “flaws” in my skin, and avoided doing anything in public that might reveal my klutziness to the world.  Lately though?  Lately, I have begun to practice Golda Poretsky’s deep spiritual practice of not giving a shit.  I don’t care that I’m a klutz, or that I can’t run fast (short legs kids, they only go so fast!).  And while my allergies may annoy me at times, I see no need to apologize for them.  Why should I apologize for not wearing perfumes, or choosing to clean my house with natural alternatives, instead of putting my body through the hives, pain, itching, and headaches I get from those things?  I don’t need to apologize for enjoying spaces that have a ‘no perfumes/fragrances’ policy.

I am certainly not going to apologize for my fat!  I love how soft my body looks, how my extra insulation keeps me warm and makes me float like a bobber in the pool.  I’m not going to apologize for the soft roundness of my belly and breasts that act like magic to comfort and lull to sleep a fussy baby.  No freaking way am I apologizing for that!  I love stealing some time with a friend’s baby, cuddling them up to my neck, their little bodies draped across my chest.  Inevitably we both fall asleep within minutes, breathing warm sleepy breath and making one another sweaty with our snoozing warmth.  I don’t have kids of my own, but let me tell you, these magical snuggles with the kids in my life are the times I treasure.  I look at my nephews now, growing like adorable little weeds, and remember the times when I cradled them against my soft fatness and whispered in their ears how amazing they were.

We need to stop apologizing for our bodies.  There is NO reason whatsoever to be sorry for the amazing vessel that houses your being.  No one’s body is perfect, no matter what the media (and photoshop) try to get us to believe.  Our imperfections are what make us interesting.  I love noticing the awesome differences between my body and others.  It’s neat to look at someone and think “Wow! Our gorgeous bodies are so unique!”  I mean, how cool is it that each of us is made up of the same basic building blocks (muscles, bones, etc) yet no two of us are exactly alike?  Each of us has different skin, hair, eyes, or body shapes.  That’s pretty amazing!

So stop apologizing for taking up space.  Stop apologizing for not fitting the mold.  Stop hiding what makes you, you!  Love your body and all it’s intricate, interesting bits.  Next time you look in the mirror, instead of worrying about what society paints as “flaws”, embrace them!  I like to look in the mirror and say “I’m short and fat and proud of that!” a la Winnie the Pooh!

Let’s start a mirror revolution!  Look in the mirror with love and awe for all the awesome things your body can do.

Are you in?

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