There’s something profoundly inspiring about nature.
Many of our greatest artists (and writers) have given birth to their best creations under the influence of a mystical garden or an enchanted sky.
Likewise, women in their most natural states are the objects of both mystery and desire.
My husband, for example, always says that I look my best when I’m wearing absolutely no make-up (and not the celebrity version of a “bare-face” that simply lacks false eyelashes and a more obvious blush application).
Nope, he likes me when my hair is air dried and my style is easy.
Come to think about it, I’ve never heard of a man, be it my own or a friend’s, who prefers his lady with a pound of thick foundation and lips that you cannot kiss.
(Actually, if your love tells you that you are most alluring after you’ve spent countless moments in front of your bathroom mirror, I’d wager that you have the wrong suitor.)
Regardless, we, as a society of women, have been lied to.
Not only this, but we are repeatedly lied to.
We don’t believe the lover at the end of the sofa who says that you shouldn’t bother to put on mascara because you listen, instead, to the steady influx of media that states—and shows—explicitly that beauty looks like a Caucasian twentysomething with tiny bone-structure, an even tinier nose, and off-scale, full, luscious lips.
We celebrate Dove ads and, quite frankly, anything that displays an image that’s remotely different from this—even if these, too, are carefully selected.
And still our kids, statistically speaking, are getting heavier, and body image issues and eating disorders are by no means a thing of our past.
So what do we do?
Well, first, I propose that we acknowledge this lie; these lies that we’re fed: that we are not good enough as we are.
Yet many of us have admitted, and outright opposed, these fallacies, and some mainstream media has hopped on this bandwagon as well, demanding “healthier” models—and, obviously, this isn’t enough.
So here’s the second part of my proposal.
I offer up to you that we collectively stop calling ourselves “fat”—officially.
Thoughts become words and words become actions and there is real truth, and real meaning, in this statement.
Harp on yourself—even half-seriously—and you are imprinting a belief into your being and into your life.
At the very least your words are overheard by your daughters and by our next generation of young ladies—helping to further shape and promote this self-deprecating mentality.
Okay, the next thing that I recommend is that we also stop looking at other women with our bitch-dar.
Bitch-dar: you know, when you assess another female’s—ahem—assets and either look her over with a jealous appreciation (while also, might I add, devaluing yourself) or you decide mentally that she should either lose weight or wear looser-fitting clothes (or something equally bitchy, hence the term bitch-dar).
(I used to have the jealous-appreciation-type bitch-dar, but I worked on that.)
So let’s do this (stick together), because you’ll learn in any beginner-level college class about discrimination that the first strategy of those in charge is to conquer and divide.
And just these two suggestions—stopping this negative self-talk and embracing other women—could have considerable side-effects if they were universally practiced (and, yes, they’re both harder than they seem).
Let’s address the self-talk issue.
I know, from personal experience mind you, that practice does make perfect.
However, you will literally have to catch yourself when you inadvertently verbalize certain words and, most especially, you will have to change your negative self-talk—the dirty words that happen inside of your head—and trust me when I tell you that this takes practice.
But don’t give up.
Don’t give up if you make mistakes (actually, go ahead and expect them), but do force yourself to think and then say positive thoughts that you might not even initially believe (like, damn, I look good in this dress.)
Because, remember, thoughts become words and words become actions, and eventually you will feel, and then live out, this more positive self-image.
And as far as the bitch-dar goes, it’s crucial that you practice this aforementioned step first, because here’s another annoyingly true adage: you need to love yourself before you love others.
It might not be fair, but it’s often the reality.
So, yeah, I think that it’s sad for everyone involved that we don’t feel sexy because we think that our hair is the wrong color or length or if we only lost ten pounds.
And here’s another idea: let’s drop ten pounds instantly.
(Not on the scale, of course, but from our brains, from our minds and from our figurative shoulders.)
I know that Waylon Lewis has non-officially banned blogs that suggest that we “let go,” so, obviously, I won’t go there (or ssshhhhh, just don’t tell him).
But I will tell you this: that you have been lied to—and I’m lying to you now.
You don’t need this article, and you don’t need your “perfection”-saturated magazines either.
All you need is to check back in with the woman co-habitating with you inside of your body.
Does she feel turned on when her partner touches her thigh?
Can you view another woman as fascinating instead of intimidating?
She does?! You can?!
Let’s start here.
You might have been lied to, but the good news is that, generally, the truth surfaces eventually anyways.
And here’s the truth:
You are beautiful (as it turns out, your love was right).
You want to love and to be loved in return (go figure).
And you feel your best when you listen to your heart—and your heart only wants you to be happy and to grow from adversity.
So there’s that.
If you find this daunting, well, then be comforted that most of us do too.
Let’s do it together—let’s be strong together.
“A woman is like a tea bag—you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
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Ed: Bryonie Wise