15 April 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 11 comments

Image



With today's headlines that "France may adopt a law that would allow huge fines against magazines, advertisers, or Web sites that promote 'excessive thinness", it got me thinking of my own body image. A battle in which I have been struggling with as of late.

What is the perfect body? Why do we focus so much on other's bodies? Why can't we be happy with what God has given us, He thinks we are beautiful, why can't we see that? I must say I've been struggling with this and let me tell you it is something that is on my mind ALL THE FLIPPIN TIME! I don't know where this came from to tell you the truth. It seems to grow with each passing year of my life. I focus more on what I appear on the outside and less on what I am on the inside.

About two years it became apparent to me for no reason that I wanted to look HOT, six pack, toned, and the total MILF package that walked down the street. I did a great job of getting there, I lost 30+ pounds, toned up and almost had the six pack, but was I necessarily happy? No. I found myself becoming obsessed with the perfect image that is thrown in our faces at the check out line. Then I became discouraged. I told myself I'm never going to look like that. I haven't been to the gym now in 10 months now.

What is perfect? I would ask my husband if he liked the way this person or that person looked. His answer always came back to me, "you're perfect". My mind teased me though, was he just saying that to make me feel better or because he had to since I'm his wife?

The funny think about my husband is that he likes me naked. I mean naked as in all natural. No make-up, un-tweezed brows, who cares if I shave, natural hair color. Me on the other hand feel ugly and frumpy if I don't look the part. And mean part like, a woman. Someone once told me that women need to wear make-up and be the part of a woman, we've earned our right she said to pamper and primp. We must look perfect. And growing up in the LA area, I agreed with that idealism. I remember spending HOURS getting ready to go anywhere, even the store or to get gas in my car. My bathroom was comparable to the make-up counter at Nordies. Then I moved to Santa Cruz. WHOA!! Life change. It took me several years to get used to the fact that I could go a day without shaving or putting on mascara. I can say that I've learned to love not getting all made up everyday. But I have bigger body image issues now than I ever have before. But back to my husband loving me naked...why can't I love myself naked. And if I really am naked why do I turn away from the image I see. I am almost repulsed by it. This disturbs me. What are we doing to the women in our society? Where do we get off telling the world we are not perfect, naked.

Is this what happens when we grow older? Do we become so obsessed with our body image that we see all the flaws in ourselves with an older eye? Why can we not love the stretch marks and flab? It is truly strange how things have changed so drastically in our own body, but is it really drastic or just we are now more aware of ourselves and see things in a different light. And yes I know this is a topic that has been discussed in great detail before, but it hasn't ever been me in the discussion. This is a learning curve for me.

So my final question is...if we don't love our outward appearance, does that mean we don't love what is inside? Our soul? If we love ourselves from the inside then we should automatically love the outside too.

11 comments:

Beautifully said!

A reminder that more of us need to hear and really take in.

Keep smilin!

Great post and I love your last sentence!!!!

Body image is something I've been struggling with too. Thanks for posting this.

This is such a good post, Kayce.

I think it's really natural for those of us in our thirties and forties to be a little more aware of our bodies and how they're changing. But I think it's important to strive for balance. We need to take care of our bodies so that we can be healthy. We should take some pride in our appearance for ourselves and our husbands. But we shouldn't expect to look like we did when we were 25.

My dear friend, Stacey, who is a Christian speaker and burgeoning author, gives a great lesson on beauty. I'm looking for the link. If I find it, I'll email it to you.

You are beautiful! Enjoy it!

Gosh Kayce, wonderfully said! I couldn't agree more.

In a world that constantly judges a person only on the outside and "beautiful" is based only on size and hair, it is really easy to find oneself wrapped up in the outside beauty only. I could go on and on, but I will just say, It is refreshing to meet another women who thinks about these things and cares.

As far as your question to me, school is going okay. Research class is not the most exciting class to take, but it is almost over and I have learned a few valuable things. I'm looking forward to my advanced pathophysiology classes this summer, I love that stuff! :)

love ya girl, and your husband is right, you are perfect.

Mardi

Hey Kayce-great post. Thought provoking. I actually wrote a big, long comment at lunchtime and then erased it before I posted it because I wanted to think on it a little more. I have always had problems with my body image, mostly because I was overweight. At least that's what I thought the reason was. I brought the subject up to my husband this evening though and he reminded me that I was not happy with my body even nineteen years ago(when we met) and I was a STICK. Really skinny. So now I'm wondering if I really do love my inside, because it seems like I never loved my outside, even at times in my life when I was younger, or skinnier, or in better shape. I have never in my life(even now) felt pretty. I have always had self esteem problems, my whole life. So it's possible that I don't love my outside, because deep down I don't really love my inside. I'm working on it, but I have along way to go and sometimes it seems like an uphill battle. Loving myself is not something that comes easy for me. Is this making any sense? No? Okay, I'll stop then.


By the way, my husband thinks I'm perfect too, just the way I am. Everyone deserves to have someone in their lives like that. We're pretty lucky!

Great post! A year and a half ago I was super thin - because I was ill. And I looked it: pale skin, lifeless hair and big black circles under my eyes. And the only comments I got was how fabulous I looked from losing the weight! A sad reflection of our culture today. I see the images pushed of women on channels like MTV, and I shudder to think how this will impact my daughter. As a teacher, I constantly see the pro-anorexia culture teenage girls are adopting more and more frequently. Where I work, if they eat lunch, many of the seniors only eat baby food! More shockingly are the elementary school age children we have who are also 'dieting' - disturbing and scary!

And we really are more judgemental about ourselves than other are about us! How often do we reassure our friends they look great whilst hating the same in ourselves?

I think you raised a really interesting question: do we love ourselves on the inside if we don't love our outward appearance? I think not; not 100% anyway. I pray I can raise my daughter to not only be self-confident and happy with herself (inside and out) but to be a kind, compassionate and strong person.

Great post Kayce,
I too have stuggled with weight the last couple of years, I put on about 30 pounds and it has not come off easily. Lately I have started to question myself, why do I care if I have those saddlebags and love handles?? My hubby loves me naked too, he seems to be fine with my appearance.
I worried about others think, lately I have become more aware of this for my daughters. I am trying to teach them it's what counts on the inside not the outward appearance. I want them to be comfortable in their own skin, naked and all.
Thanks for putting this out on the table. ;)

Now THAT is one thought-provoking post.

Thank you.

Hmm...
Well, I feel very comfortable with my soul, not so comfortable about my body.
I am trying to come to peace with the loss of my younger body, but it's not easy.
Thank goodness my husband is like yours and thinks I'm beautiful just the way I am.