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Everyone is beautiful in their own way.


With Valentine's Day coming up (the dreaded V-day; you can read all my mocking posts on my website), it seems a good time to point out the person in our lives that we rarely praise, always take for granted, and honestly, treat rather badly a lot of the time.

Ourselves.

I'd say everyone put your hand up if your negative self-talk outweighs your positive self-talk, but we'd all look pretty foolish with our hands up in the air while we're reading, so I'm not going to do that to you.  But you thought about doing it anyway, didn't you?  :)

 

It's amazing that so many people (especially women) go through their lives treating almost everyone else better than they treat themselves.  We listen too much to all the talk surrounding us telling us that if we get wrinkles we're gross, if we get extra fat on our bodies we're gross, if we don't fit a physical ideal we're gross, if we have hair in the wrong places we're gross, and if we dare to stand up for ourselves, or put ourselves forward as worthy people, we're arrogant bitches.

The love starts at home.  I used to negative-talk myself all the time.  With Bob's help, I've dulled it down to an intermittent murmur, which is a feat well-nigh miraculous, since my brain has the ability to dredge up everything I've ever done and point out how I could do it better.  And that's just for my actions - my looks?  Oh, man.

Until my early twenties, I was significantly overweight - by the BMI measuring standards, I was considered "obese".  My food choices were constantly policed, and pretty much every person in my life joined in on the policing.  It took me years, even after I lost weight, to shake free of a constant internalized negativity about every morsel of food I ate, to the point that I felt physically and sexually repulsive because I had the temerity to eat.  I've written before about my horror of food-related imagery as a child, and to this day, I can't watch the refrigerator scene in 9-1/2 Weeks without feeling nauseated with anxiety.  Food, in my world, was the farthest thing from sexy that you can get.  Food was gross, and because I ate food, I was gross.

In the film and literary world, heroes and heroines are slim, beautiful, and don't have any bodily needs (except the contractual need to fuck like bunnies at least once per book or movie).  To be beautiful in Hollywood is to deny yourself the enjoyment of food in case you get fat, and the advertising media takes great pains to let us know that fat is comic, hideous, unsexy, and repulsive.  To be overweight and a woman in this culture is to be told that you are every woman's nightmare, and perfect strangers feel justified in policing everything you put in your mouth.

I, too, bought into this.  I swallowed (as it were) the poison.  I drank (again, ha, ha) the sugar-free Kool Aid.

And that absorbtion of all that nasty stuff made the negative voices take up residence inside my head, build a nest, and burrow in for the long haul.  Any woman reading this will agree that they don't need anyone else policing them, they do it constantly themselves.  No-one can tell us anything we haven't heard before.  No-one can tell us anything we haven't told ourselves in nastier, more cruel and unforgiving terms.

We speak to ourselves in a way that we would never, ever speak to anyone else.  And somehow this is considered acceptable and normal.  A group of women will, sooner or later, start talking about how ugly they are, how fat, how their thighs make them want to puke.  It's actually thought of as appropriate, since a woman who actually likes herself is somehow bad.

About five years ago, I started being done with this.  My body, with all its issues, is wonderful, and beautiful.  I am smart, and funny, and kind.  I love my friends, and would do anything for them.

So let's talk about our beautiful, wonderful, miraculous selves - in the comments, today, tomorrow, and whenever you read this, tell me something you love about yourself.  Don't temper it with any negatives - tell your body and mind and soul that you love them.  If you're uncomfortable putting your name to your comment, post it anonymously. 

No negatives.  No buts.  No "on the other hand I hate this".  You don't need to hide your wonderful self when you talk to me, I won't think less of you.  You're not bragging, you're celebrating.

I'll start:

I love my body.  It has curves, it's responsive, it's beautiful.  I love my hair.  It curls prettily, it does what I want it to.  I love my sense of humour - I thought "Hungry is my buffalo wing-man" is one of the funniest jokes I've ever written.  My voice is beautiful, and I love to listen to my Lost Cause cd.  I am making an awesome embroidered jacket that is going to be really gorgeous, because I am patient, talented, and I have good taste.

Now it's your turn.  Because I love you all.

Guys are totes allowed to comment too - the internal negative voice affects us all.

 

 


Comments

( 122 brains — Leave a chunk of brain! )
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cpsings4him
Feb. 10th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
I feel a little shy about this, but here goes.

I have beautiful eyes. My hair is hair that is the envy of many; it is short and pixie-fied and fierce, fierce, fierce. My body is healthy and strong and full of energy. Also, my breasts are quite perky. :D I have a gift for both visual arts and music and I'm finally learning to just say thank you (rather than talk about how it lacks!) when I receive a compliment.
attack_laurel
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
Thank you for being first. It's weird how nervous it makes us to say nice things, isn't it? :)

When I first met Bob, I couldn't say "I am a good person" out loud without bursting into tears, my self-esteem was that low.

*hug*
myss_mynx
Feb. 10th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
OH man, this hit *so* close to home today ...been having a bad week with this, when I shouldn't be.... so here goes:

I love my smile, and my sense of humour, random as it may be. I love that I have hips and a rear end. I love that I know random things about fabric and fibre, and how to do cool stuff with them. I love that I have an outlet for all my skills in the SCA. I love that I fight with swords, and can win.

Thank you... I think I needed that :)
attack_laurel
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:05 am (UTC)
:) I hope your week gets better!
hugh_mannity
Feb. 10th, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC)
These days I'm pretty much content with my body. It might not turn heads, but that's fine by me. It's stood up to a lot of wear and tear -- late nights and early mornings, skipped meals, extra meals, injudicious food choices, more alcohol than was wise at the time. It's climbed mountains, walked across deserts, swum in shark-infested waters, rolled in snow drifts and piles of autumn leaves.

And it's done all of the above for coming up on 60 years without too much protest. Except for the knees, but they've been replaced successfully and it's all good now.

I'm no longer waiting for a call from the Bolshoi or the Red Sox. But I can still walk around Pennsic for 2 weeks and I'm still working on finding time to take up fencing.

It's all good. Even the non-Hollywood approved bits -- I don't need no stinkin' approval anyway!
attack_laurel
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:06 am (UTC)
Your experiences with your body sound awesome. Celebrate yourself! :)
gwacie
Feb. 10th, 2010 09:44 pm (UTC)
I had an epiphany once (I love epiphanies, doesn't everyone?) I think it was something at work, I don't remember the specifics but something was wrong and I thought that we should do X to fix it, I asked younger student lacky who said "Uh, I dunno, do Y?" so I did Y, and Y didn't work, it turned out X was the right path, student lacky said "Well why'd you listen to me? You know much more about this than I do" and a light bulb went on... wow... I'd taken the other person's advice as better than mine for the sole reason that They WEREN'T ME and that alone made their opinion better.

I'm glad to say my self confidence has improved somewhat since then and occasionally, every now and again I will stick to my guns when I know the right answer and not think I am the worst at doing whatever the current task is.

And I have great hair. Brown is a wonderful color for hair and it gets little coppery highlights in the sun and feels all soft when it's fresh washed and I like brushing it. And I have a good face, nice cheekbones, great eyes and I love my eyebrows, they are dark, full and expressive. (man, it's hard to say that!) And I look mighty fine in a cotehardie. *sister snap!*
attack_laurel
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:08 am (UTC)
I love your hair in your icon!

Trust yourself - let yourself know that your instincts are good! :)
ktlovely
Feb. 10th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
I don't know if you remember, last time you posted something kind of like this and I said it almost made me cry. This one really did. Really really did. It's hard swallowing sobs in a cubicle. I work with social workers; the last thing I want is for my neighbor hearing me...

I'm going to try to think of some positives, when I'm done with my kleenex box...but it's going to take some time.
sorchekyrkby
Feb. 10th, 2010 09:48 pm (UTC)
I know I can think of some positives for you, as can others, but I'll let you go bragging on yourself first. ;-)

*passes kleenex*
(no subject) - attack_laurel - Feb. 11th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ktlovely - Feb. 11th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
sorchekyrkby
Feb. 10th, 2010 09:47 pm (UTC)
Thanks for giving us all a little love today. :-)

I love that I am intelligent, that spark of creativity that gives me a nudge when looking at a problem.

Oh, and I gots a purty mouth, too. ;-)
attack_laurel
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:09 am (UTC)
Yay! I want to spread the happiness, because you deserve it! :)
soldiergrrrl
Feb. 10th, 2010 09:58 pm (UTC)
I'm generally pretty kick ass. I'm smart, I'm funny, I'm pretty, I know when to say "I'm sorry" and when to own up to my mistakes. I have a good heart. I'm creative. I have pretty hair and a nice smile, and a strong body that does what I ask it to do.
attack_laurel
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
I love your self-description! You *are* kick-ass! :)
(no subject) - soldiergrrrl - Feb. 11th, 2010 02:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
sigkit
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:12 pm (UTC)
I love that I am smart and have artsy skills. I think I'm cute and pretty and I have a nice smile. I love the brown of my eyes and that they'll reflect auburn if I temporary dye my hair. I love the shade of brown my hair became out of the not blond not brown phase of puberty. I am wonderfully curvy and enjoy seeing the first evidence that I too will become a cute wrinkled apple lady like my bestemor. I'm a good height, tall enough to put stuff up on high shelves but short enough to cradle my head in M's shoulder. I am strong enough to lift even my huge walnut coffee table, and know enough about physical mechanics to do it without hurting myself.
sigkit
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:29 pm (UTC)


My bestemor in her late 70's or early 80's. I think she is beautiful and I'll grow up to look something like her (or her sister who is also lovely).
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(no subject) - dreda - Feb. 11th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
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lemur_lady
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
Y'know, practically nobody is "pretty" when they're 80. But I can still be strong, generous, compassionate, funny, clever, and kind when I'm 80--probably even more so, because those things get better with practice. I'd rather put my energy into developing the kinds of qualities that I can keep for the long term. I'm glad I'm clearheaded enough to identify that priority and keep it in mind in my daily life.
thedreya
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:22 pm (UTC)
I think that people who are strong, generous, compassionate, funny, clever, and kind at 80 are some of the most breathtakingly beautiful people in the world, because all of that shines out of their eyes and faces. They look like angels.
(no subject) - lemur_lady - Feb. 10th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
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damedini
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:26 pm (UTC)
OK. I am very strong, physically. Seriously, I bench 180 and I have no idea what I can press with my legs because no one will put that much weight on the bar for me.
Under the Clever Padded Disguise (tm) I am very fit and flexible.
I'm quite pretty most of the time and dress moderately well when I put my mind to it.
attack_laurel
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:15 am (UTC)
You're very pretty - more than that, you're awesome.

And I want you with me if I ever have to take over the Universe! :)
dragonfly_sidhe
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC)
What a fabulous post you have here!

I love that I have an artistic eye, am generous and kind, and that I'm not afraid to express my love and appreciation for the wonderful people in my life. I also have pretty eyes and skin. :)
attack_laurel
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)
Yay! I want to spread the love where we don't often give it - we tell the people around us how great they are, and don't reserve enough praise for ourselves.

Express your love for yourself! :)
thedreya
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC)
I can say honestly that love myself. The only part of me I don't like is the part that still says there's something I don't like about myself, and we are slowly learning to be friends, too. I feel very lucky to have learned to love myself so early in life, especially after disliking myself for 90% of that time. I love that so many other people are learning to love themselves; it's a truly joyful thing. Yay for all of us!
attack_laurel
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)
You are very lucky; isn't that great? :) I want to remind everyone that they are loveable, no matter what they think.
aliskye
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:44 pm (UTC)
I have fabulous dark brown eyes and I'm hardworking person, loyal to my friends and family. I love that I work in the television industry. I love that when I want to walk a mile some where my body does it without complaint. And I'm smart and funny too!

attack_laurel
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
This is so great - those are all wonderful, loveable things! And when I make my press announcement that I'm taking over the world, I know who to contact, right? :P
ladyaneira
Feb. 10th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Mmm, well, I love my body--I love being curvy, with great cleavage, and I love how I have decorated it over my life. I love that it is strong and adaptable to whatever challenges I give it. I love my strange sense of humor, and I even like the fact that it's so offbeat most people don't realize it when I make jokes. Of course, I love that my husband *does* know when I make jokes, and that I can have him rolling around on the floor laughing while other people look on cluelessly. And I love that I'm quick to learn new things, from laying floor tile to knitting socks.
attack_laurel
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:19 am (UTC)
Yes! It's good to say these things to ourselves, to say them out loud - it reminds us all how great we are! And you are great. :)
nicolaa5
Feb. 10th, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC)
I really like my nose. Somehow in the nose lottery, I missed a couple of unfortunate family noses and got this one. I like that I still have freckles across my nose at nearly 43. I like that I'm continually mistaken for someone 10 years younger, and have yet to develop significant wrinkles. I have a goofy birthmark (giant freckle, actually) on my left arm that makes me unique. I like having long legs--I have a 34" inseam (although I don't always like finding pants to fit.) I like being witty and smart and silly and full of knowledge on both obscure topics and the major issues of the day. I love being a cat lady that married a cat guy.
attack_laurel
Feb. 11th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)
Noses! You make me giggle and add to my laugh lines! :)
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