Body Image


In a recent poll women in their sixties and teenage girls were asked if they were happy with the way they look.  They chose from a list of nine descriptors:

60s:
Grateful: 52.2%
Satisfied: 46.1%
Self-conscious: 32.6%
Dissatisfied: 28.7%
Happy: 27.4%

Teens:
Self-conscious: 50%
Satisfied: 42.9%
Grateful: 40.5%
Happy: 36.9%
Dissatisfied: 26.2%

Here is what I know at my wise middle age.  I’ve come to the conclusion that a healthy, positive body image is hard to find, and neither caftans nor liposuction nor photoshopping is the answer.  It comes from within.

I love the picture above.  I think the woman is beautiful.  I’m sure if that were a picture of me, I would have the same lines drawn on what I’d like to fix.  But to someone else, I might look beautiful.

I don’t expect little girls and teens to have to deal with this themselves.  It is up to us, the adults, to show them the way.  Show them that a positive body image isn’t the girls in the magazines.  6 feet tall and 100 pounds isn’t normal, it’s unhealthy.

We are not the enemy with each other…we are sisters and should be supportive in a joint cause.  Every step toward self-love you take, and every inch of confidence you give someone’s daughter, makes the world a better place.

I know I spend money to visit Pam at SkinMedic to have my face taken care of which does include Botox.  It also now includes a filler around my eyes as I lose weight in my face.  I own that and I’m very honest about it.  I also own the scares I have, one on my wrist, one on my back, one on the ankle, one on my knee, and now a lovely scare that is finally white, that goes from hip to hip across my lower tummy.  My days of wearing a bikini are long gone so I don’t see how that is going to be an issue.  And for the very few people who have seen the scar, it doesn’t appear to be an issue.  My sister was the first to see it in all of its glory day one after surgery when the doctor was examining and my sister was right there.  You know, when you’re on morphine you don’t care who looks at what?  The other two didn’t really seem to notice.

But I’ve also learned that my body has changed and no matter how fit I become I’m never going to be 25 again…or better yet, 28.  I was really good at 28.

You work with what you have now and that includes your spirit and your laughter.  I have good legs, they are strong and long.  I have great eyes and a decent mouth.  Yes, I wish my hips were smaller, but even at my most fit, I have the hips, the curvy hips that my mother had, my sister and my niece have.  I have a broad back and shoulders from my father.  It’s perfect for sports and it makes your waist look smaller.  I like being strong, not weak, or frail.  I like having freakishly strong legs; both my sister and I do.

I like my laugh.  I like my hands which are long and feminine yet strong.

It’s easier now to appreciate instead of be critical.

Maybe a happy ending doesn’t involve a new man, maybe it’s me, on my own, making my life work, making myself stronger. Picking up the pieces and freeing myself for something better in my life.  Maybe the happy ending is just moving on and being better.

I am working hard.  I know it.  I feel it every day in my body and in my soul.  I am healing all old wounds, both self-inflicted, and from others not worthy of my heart or my time.  I remember each day the good in my life.  I may not have the perfect body anymore, but what I do have I’m going to use and be happy.

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