I was sitting with a friend next to the lake the other day. It was a hot day and we had just come out of the reddish tanninned water. She asked how I feel about my body and I snorted because, seriously, who can answer that in just a sentence or two?!?! Not me.
She wasn’t going to let me escape, even though I tried to turn it around on her. We ended up each revealing that we try and love our bodies as they are, but, even as idealistic feminists, we still feel shame and dislike of our earth bound vehicles. We all know why, right?!?!!
It’s because we are taught from day dot that women are supposed to be hairless, thin-but-with-boobs, scar-less, stretch-mark-less, flabby un-toned flesh-less and flexible. Even with our independent, defiant choices to let our body hair grow and to shave our heads, and even as we choose not to wear makeup or starve ourselves to fit a certain silhouette, we still feel ashamed to be seen in swim wear, in daylight, in public.
It is sooooo not cool that even the most ferocious of us are unable to be truly free of the shame. Shame is a nasty, sneaky, vicious emotion. It slides in and you don’t even know it is there until suddenly you catch yourself not going for a swim in your favourite swimming hole, and the only reason is the daylight and strangers who are also swimming there.
We talked about it some more and each admitted to feeling like we were ugly. Always have felt that way. And THEN my friend made a point that was exactly the same as the one I had made at Christmas with my cousin.
That is: As much as we all think that we must be beautiful to be loved, that imperfections will scare away any potential lover or make them hate us instead, the truth is that when you love someone YOU SEE THEM AS BEAUTIFUL NO MATTER WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE!
Your initial impressions dissolve completely and all you are left with is the sparkle in their eye as they make a sneaky joke or the delightful scowl they wear when they are angry.
As my friend pointed out, the opposite is true too. Someone who seems supermodel hot at first quickly loses their glamour and becomes ugly if you find out they are a horrible person.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
It is such a fucking cliche. I hate it. But it is true.
So don’t waste time trying to look beautiful in order to win love! Figure out how to invite people in who love you in order to look beautiful.
And also, those strangers who see you in broad daylight in a swim suit, they simply see you as another person they don’t know and don’t love. You are background colour and a vague movement over the exquisite left shoulder of that person that they do love. Be it their lover, brother, child or friend. You will not be remembered by them, so don’t sweat it.
Oh, and if you are starting to find the person you love ugly, then maybe start looking at how healthy your love actually is. It may not be familiarity breading contempt, but rather a myriad of tiny offences that have added up to less love.
And if the people around you are fixated on the shell of you, tell them to go hang out with their own blind kind. And if you can’t quite make yourself do that then ask yourself, do you want to hang out with people who are blind to goodness and light? What sort of person values shiny hair and straight teeth over the shine of intelligence and kindness in someone’s eye? Not the sort of person you want to have as friend or lover.