I wrote this way earlier in the day and didn’t get a chance to post it until now, so extend my challenge to the weekend!
Today is Love Your Body Day. The common response I’ve seen for this is “everyday should be love your body day!” and while this is true, let’s be honest: this isn’t a reality for most people. It’s a laughable impossibility for some, and they shouldn’t be made to feel worse about this than they already do (and trust me, they do).
I’m not a shining example of what it means to love your body even though I grew up in a household where I was never shamed or made to feel bad for how I looked. Like most teens who are oblivious to the rest of the world, I didn’t realize this wasn’t a normal thing until I got a little older and met new people and their families. It seems like the norm is shaming kids into being something they might not be (thin, straight, flawless, etc.) and that’s just sad. (Today is also Spirit Day, so I hope you’ll join me in standing with our LGBTQIA friends and families!)
It’s hard to love yourself when all you see is flaws when you look in the mirror. I remember one of my many, many epiphanies regarding myself was in high school, or maybe college, when I realized that I’m the same person on the inside regardless of how I look on the outside, and if people are too stupid to not like me because they don’t appreciate the outside, then why in the world would I want to be friends with them? It was a new way of thinking that made making friends a lot easier. I also started doing that thing where you just get kind of real with yourself in front of a mirror. It’s terrifying and difficult but loving yourself is a lot easier if you’re comfortable with what your body looks like. Every scar and dimple and roll and freckle (in my case). Right now I am kind of obsessed with my legs and the freckles on my knees, and I am planning a romp in my new favorite skirt tomorrow. It’s Friday, after all!
That said, instead of admonishing everyone on how they should TOTALLY love their bodies RIGHT NOW because it’s a healthy mindset to embrace, we’ll just dip our toes in the tepid waters of learning to be with ourselves as we are. Last week, I had a coffee date with a friend. We haven’t seen each other in about a year and even though we’re friends on Facebook, we had a lot of catching up to do. At one point, our conversation turned doing nice things for ourselves, treating ourselves, and she showed me her bracelet, which she bought as a gift for herself. There’s a lot more to the story than that but those details aren’t any of your business, Internets. The point isn’t the details anyway. The point is the gesture. She did something kind to herself, to help herself feel better. She took a couple of minutes and a few bucks and got herself something that would remind her that she is precious and lovely to herself.
Loving yourself is a radical act that can make a lot of people really upset, especially if you fall into a category that is marginalized. Believe me, nothing pisses people off more than seeing a fat woman walking down the street unapologetically enjoying herself. Yes, something as simple as walking can annoy people. And really, don’t you want to annoy those sticks in the mud anyway?
That’s the toe-dip in the water for today, kids. It’s my challenge to you.
Antagonize the trolls. Do something nice for yourself without feeling guilty or reprimanding yourself later or apologizing to other people who may not understand the gesture. It doesn’t have to be big or costly. It could be as simple as taking yourself to coffee or doing that one thing you’ve been thinking about but have put off because there are so many *other* things you should be doing. Take five minutes or thirty or two hours and be nice to yourself. You deserve it!