“….on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all?”
How can a simple piece of reflective glass cause so much joy and so much disgust almost simultaneously?
It doesn’t give a damn.
I’m sure I’m not the first person to admit that they’re not thrilled with parts of their body, right? I mean, c’mon, we all can probably pick one or two things about our physical being that we are less than happy about, so I haven’t cornered the market here. It’s a common theme, especially amongst women. We are our own worst critic. I’m pretty sure most men would agree. We can be unbelievably harsh about our own appearances to the point of overbearing.
I’m no different.
Love my eyes, but hate my thighs.
All this running recently, along with hiking should have done something, right? (Recall my prior posts re: my lack of patience. It will explain a lot. Trust me). Well, I’m less than thrilled with what I see staring back at me in the mirror as I exit, naked, from the shower.
Yep. Front and center, squarely on each thigh. As if that’s not bad enough, it wraps around and leaves its mark there, too.
Is this is the end of the world?
Does it make me self-conscious?
Sometimes I hate being a woman. I want to be a man. I want to be able to go through life without some stylized ideal of how I should look, how I should appear, and how I won’t be judged based on appearance alone.
I recently divulged my secret shame to James. Tearfully, I recounted to him how I felt every time I looked down at my own legs. The tears flowed and stung as I shared my feelings with this man. This man who makes me feel more beautiful than anyone has before. He listened, he comforted, he consoled me. He told me I was beautiful.
I shared with him my aversion to wearing shorts in the summer, or wincing when faced with the prospect of wearing a bathing suit. I shared with him how I recalled falling into bad habits with regard to weight loss in the past. Restricting calories, excessive workouts, and losing weight in an altogether unhealthy way. I shared with him also how I fear that the disgust I feel with certain parts of my body may lead me down that path again. While I am a nurse, I am also a woman, and sometimes my occupation doesn’t supersede my gender and the pressure I put on myself as a result.
In the course of my tearful confession to James, I found myself feeling less embarrassed and more relieved. Relieved that I was able to confide in him. Relieved that I could talk about it, and in turn, write about it.
Today, the body that peers back at me as I exit the shower is the same body as before. I didn’t wake up this next morning, greeted by a silky smooth set of quads.
And I dare say, that morning may never come.
And somehow, some way, I simply have to be okay with that reality. I’m not perfect, mind or body. I’m not. You’re not. Nobody is. I realize this post may be considered narcissistic to some, but I think it is less about physical beauty and more about acceptance. And honesty. Being honest about how I feel with myself and the people I love.
I will continue to run.
I will continue to hike.
I will continue to love my friends, my family, my boyfriend, and all those who bring positivity to my life, and activities that give me joy.
And, yes, I will continue to look in the mirror and peer down at my legs, and remember one thing:
They continue to carry me forward, and for that I am continually grateful.