Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Guest Post for Body Image Warrior Week

It is Body Image Warrior Week and I am sharing a blog post from, "A Blog of Her Own,"  as part of a community effort to share body positive posts.  I do not have bikini pictures on Facebook.  Maybe I'll take some this summer...

A Blog of Her Own

On Why I Have Bikini Photos On Facebook (And You Should Too)

Right now, if we’re facebook friends, you can see a bunch of photos of me in a bikini.
They’re not retouched. They’re not photoshopped. They’re not even waiting for me to de-tag them. Nope, I’ve seen them and I’m letting them stay there, on the internet, where my friends, family, and frienemies alike can oogle them and note my ghost colored skin and not-quite-bikini-ready bikini clad body.
A short time ago this would not have happened. I would have de-tagged myself as fast as possible. I would have scowled at the belly rolls and the fleshy arms. I would have used the unflattering shots to urge myself into a strict diet and exercise regime for a few weeks until I grew tired of calorie calculation and abstaining.
So? What happened? Why did I decide to own my bikini pics, warts or, in this case, chub and all? Well. The answer is, I’m tired.
I’m tired of not practicing what I preach, I’m tired of the constant skinny talk in my head, I’m tired of the women I know picking themselves apart on a daily basis. Here’s the thing, I identify as a feminist. I’ve participated in Love Your Body day, I’ve written scholarly papers on the online culture of pro-eating disorder websites and thinspiration, and yet I de-tag unflattering photos on facebook?! What kind of message does that send? I felt like the girl at the lunch table who tells all her friends to stop knocking themselves down and then writes angsty poetry about her own body image issues. I felt like a fraud.
And you know what? I know my body isn’t perfect by society standards.  I also know it probably won’t ever be. But it is healthy. It carried me across the finish line at a 14k the week before those bikini photos were taken. It can do 50 push ups. It teeters on the line between a healthy BMI and a slightly overweight one (let’s not talk about how screwed up the entire BMI scale is, that’s a subject for a different day), and it isn’t limited by a single health issue. Why should I ever be ashamed of that?
One day, when my body has collected a lifetime’s worth of scars and stretch marks and tokens of a life well-lived, I’m going to look back at my twenty-five year old body with pride and nostalgia. I don’t want to look back and think, “you thought you looked gross in that photo? Sugar, you didn’t know how gorgeous you were.”
So, the photos stay up. To remind myself that I am hott. Two t’s. And that my body as far as health goes, is perfect, just as it is.  Warts Rolls and all.
“I’ve got a perfect body/but sometimes I forget/ I’ve got a perfect body/ ‘Cause my eyelashes catch my sweat.” – Regina Specktor, Folding Chair

I’ve decided to include this post in a fantastic project, Body Image Warrior Week. Check out the rest of the participants and join us in being body image warriors!

Broken Scale

I was reading one of my favorite blogs: Eat the Damn Cake (admit it, it's a great title full of excellent advice! Just eat it, it's CAKE!) and was alerted to a great cause, Body Image Warrior Week, so I am dedicating this post to that cause and joining as a supporter. 

I stepped on the scale Monday morning, as I do every Monday morning.  It's a silly ritual, if my pants fit there's really no reason to know how much I weigh.  And if my pants don't fit then the number on the scale isn't going to change that fact.  But I do it any way.
And then, when I don't like the number, I suck in my stomach.  And I look at the number again, truly expecting it to have changed! Because when I suck in my stomach I look thinner so I must have lost weight.  It's obvious the scale is broken.
Then the internal dialogue begins--"you don't look good, you are so ugly, that number on the scale means you are hideous."  So I suck my stomach in tighter and I separate my legs just a little bit more so that my thighs aren't touching and I stand there in my duck legged, rib cage protruding feeling all good about myself.  But I can't walk. And truly, I can't breathe. How attractive is that?
So, this past Monday when the number on the scale didn't change no matter how far in I sucked my stomach I let it out, and I stood up straight even though my thighs touched. And I thought about how much sexier it was to have a slightly rounded belly and thighs that weren't afraid of leaning on one another.
I have worn the same size pants for the past 13 years.  I am considered "average" size.  My doctor does not worry about my weight.  I am muscular and strong.  I have never been teased about being fat.  I have never been afraid of eating dessert or having that second IPA.  My pants get tight, I increase my activity and my pants fit.
And yet every Monday I get on the scale and I suck in my stomach when I don't like the number. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Passive. Aggressive.

See, the funny thing is that I am funny.  I mean, pretty. damn. snarky. So, when I bite my tongue, the world misses out on the snark.  Which, in my opinion, means the world misses out on a bit of laughter.  The kind of laughter that comes with a bit of fear and embarrassment.  You know, the laughter that one hides behind their hand.   The laughter that comes from being actually shocked (and somewhat elated) that someone would ACTUALLY say out loud that which EVERYONE thinks privately.
Well, I used to unabashedly say out loud that which I thought.  And people laughed (even if it was in shock and awe.) Now I bite my tongue.  And it has done wonders for my relationships, but it has deflated my ego. Sigh. Besides, my tongue hurts.