When people say “you’re gorgeous,” believe them. I tend not to, and it’s a crying shame. When people genuinely compliment you, it’s because they really see it. Try to not dismiss their perspective as wrong and assume that you know better. They see all of you. We see our flaws. Believe them.
I was thinking about how much better I feel about myself since I decided earlier this year to put aside all the fat talk, all the “I need to lose weight”, all the “I’ll be so much happier if I get down to a size 12” (which, dear reader, is still considered fat). An ad for The Biggest Loser came on TV last night and mum remarked, “the problem with shows like this is that there’s this unspoken implication that all the person’s problems will be solved when they’re thin. But there’s usually another underlying reason why they put on that much weight in the first place.”
Now of course I still have problems and am not blissfully happy, whether I’m dieting or not! But I have to say, I do not feel the slightest bit guilty, nor do I miss that part of my brain that was always calculating food, worrying about numbers, stressing about when I could next eat. I put on a little bit of weight, but it didn’t balloon by any means, and it seems to have now plateaued (I’m only guessing based on how my clothes fit – and they fit fine!). I love being able to share in tasty food at work with my colleague Tiff, who gets very excited about food. I love being able to cook wonderful things and enjoy them.
We were also watching Nigella last night (Tuesday seemed to be the night for all the celebrity chefs wheeling out their Christmas shows). I absolutely love Nigella, for her delight in food, her campy sensuality, her sense of fun. Part of her appeal (as has been noted in just about everything you’ve ever read about her) is her curviness. How different she would be if she was rail thin and all muscles, like say, Madonna (edit to add: I used Madonna as an example, because she and Nigella are of a similar age).
I guess that’s why articles like Jes’s and her photo project (there’s a link in the article), and people like Nigella are important. It’s that thing of seeing yourself reflected in the media that is around you, so you can go “oh. I’m not an abnormal freak. There are plenty of people like me out there…I love how they look…maybe I look okay too! I don’t need to change to be an acceptable human being.” (That goes for anyone who has any type of ‘difference’, whether it’s race or gender or whatever)
Obviously, it would be an ideal world if we didn’t have to worry about appearance at all. But that’s not the world we live in. I’ll quote Jes again:
You’re not stunning despite your body. You’re stunning because of your body. There is a distinct difference. I grew up in a culture that would deem “unattractive” women as “special spirits”. A degrading categorisation that implied that the only thing worthwhile was whatever was inside. Well, yeah. We are all much much more than our bodies, but our bodies are a beautiful part of us too. Beauty comes from the inside AND the outside. I am of the firm belief that every person is beautiful, and so this leaves the inside to be the part that is the most telling when it comes to true “beauty”.