Before we begin, I wish to say something that I will say twice, so you really hear it, and hopefully, by the time I finish with the second time through, you might actually believe it. You are beautiful precisely as you are. YOU are Beautiful, precisely as you are.
I don’t say this in the pursuit of winning points in some strange new-age fashion, I don’t say it as a way to blow a large amount of smoke up a small amount of ass, I say it because I believe it, I believe it because it’s true, and it’s true because beauty, actual, real, and honest beauty, is inherent, it’s transcendent, and it has nothing to do with how many crunches you do, carbs you avoid, diets you attempt, or any of that other extraneous nonsense that is constantly being shoved down your damn throat. Phew. That was a mouthful.
This is a short testimonial for something that consistently proves to be a very tall order. Convincing others, convincing ourselves, that we are in fact beautiful, that exactly as we are right now, we are beyond wonderful, that we are beyond worthy of praise, of adoration, of real and actual LOVE, from others, yes, but more from ourselves, is a monumental task of Sisyphean proportions. It shouldn’t be, it should come as effortless as two kindergartners that look nothing alike deciding to become friends anyway, it should come as easy as it once did, not a single care or glance given to ourselves in the mirror before we ran out the door to play. Somewhere along the way, the magazines start showing up, our eyes start resting longer on television screens with infomercials and talk shows, with commercials filled with supermodels and soap operas, somewhere along the way, we start paying attention to the unspoken discrepancy that sneaks into the world in how certain people are treated when they look a certain way. Somewhere along the way, we get it. Or at least we think we do, think we understand the nuance that wriggled its way like a parasite into our view of the world, of fairness, of “that’s just the way things are.” Somewhere, loving ourselves, our bodies, our skin, our veins, our bones, for what they are became defiant instead of default, and being kind to ourselves in the way others are kind to us seemed as distant as the last planet they demoted to lonely rock, way out there on the edge of all we call home.
The last time I posted something about how we’re perfect as we are, it was followed by a cavalcade of all the usual moronic suspects harping on me about how ‘bank robbers, rapists, hell, even fat people’ are not perfect, and by calling them that, we’re ruining them and not giving them a chance to be better than they are. What horseshit, what absolute nonsense. Striving for body positivity, for acceptance has absolutely nothing to do with bank robbery, with rape, or anything else. None of us are perfect, none of us are ever complete, ever ‘finished,’ but we can love ourselves as though we are, we can love ourselves as others love us, we can be happy with what we are, even if we do work to improve, even if there are areas we wish could be different. The point is, the changing should be the CHOICE, not the requirement, the option, not the condition for self-love. We can wake up some morning, decide to dedicate ourselves to any goal we deem worthy, we can sweat as many hours a week as we wish to sweat, if it’s on our terms, and if it makes us feel good, NOT, I repeat, NOT, if we feel like we must, we have to, in order to be some form of beautiful.
This little Signal Fire rises up from the smoke and ashes of so many fires I’ve seen lit in people I love. Truth is, unfortunately, most of those people are women, and most of them carry far more feelings of guilt, shame, apprehension, and pressure, for the way they physically look. Simply put, nothing ever feels “good enough” to them, no matter the effort they put in, the results they see in the mirror each morning. Our society has created a population of Peloton households, everyone miserably striving for some unachievable CGI ideal that the last Marvel movie planted in our brains. Garbage, this. Garbage.
Here's what I ask from you, all of you readers, be you female, male, non-binary, or anything in between, and I will ask it gently, and I will be here for any support at any point you may ever need:
Please make your only fitness and body goal, to be healthy. Please make your only barometer, how you feel, and how you feel about yourself. Please stop falling into the trap of diet-culture, lose weight fast schemes, and internet bullshit that promises you results in record time. Please stop looking at the people we see on television or in magazines as the ‘ideal’ form of the human body. First, it’s not real, second, it’s not sustainable, third, it’s NOT REAL. You’ve given enough, I promise you this, enough time, enough tears, enough stress, enough worry. Probably enough money to so many different scams if you’re like some of the people I know. Aim for health, but more, aim for true and lasting self love.
Simply, Love Yourself. Reclaim the power of choice, choosing to love the skin you’re in, and choosing at your own pace, what that looks like as far as action, as far as exercise, as far as whatever you decide to eat. Life is short, and yeah, exercising 6 days a week might prolong it a bit, but constantly aiming at some hologram of the human form will steal so much more than years. “We are here on Earth to fart around, Vonnegut once said, “don’t let anybody tell you different.”
Do what you will, but I urge you once you’ve finished reading this, or hearing me read it to you, to waltz into your bathroom, strip it all off, and point out to yourself all the little magic pieces you forgot to notice. Treasure the lines that came from stretching for growth, yours, or the life you carried. Praise the legs that walk you up mountains, over rivers, across sandy beaches, praise them for all the times they’ve carried you to be precisely where you are. Listen to your heart, thank it for its beating, strong, steady, despite a world that tries its best to silence it. You are more than, and beyond enough. I promise. Now, you promise too.
We just as we are,
more than and beyond enough,
perfect without change.