The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

I sort of match the book I’m currently reading. Is that weird?

And also, is it just me, or does this angle make me look abnormally skinny? I’m not saying I think I’m fat or even chubby, or that people who are as skinny as that picture makes me look are abnormal (weirdos), but I’m not thatΒ skinny. By any stretch of the imagination.

I was thinking the other day about body image, how there are so many different opinions of what a perfect figure would look like, how there are so many different things about yourself that you might hate and another person would love to have. I’ve always been the girl who’s at least 20 (if not 30) pounds heavier than most of her friends, and I used to hate that. I used to look at myself and wish I had less of a butt, skinnier thighs, lither calves. I used to wish that I weighed 125lbs like the rest of my friends, and that I could go to the pool and not be self-conscious about the jiggle nobody else had.

But as I get older– and I think also as I blog more and settle into myself and my style– I’ve come to love my body. I’ve discovered that there are a lot of women out there who wish they had a butt (padded panties, anyone? Or better, butt implants?). I’ve been complimented by a woman that I have the perfect calves for high heels. I’ve started to care a lot less about what the modern world– or rather, the popular media– thinks, and more about what I think. Whether I’m comfortable with me and my body, whether I’m healthy, whether I feel pretty.

And while I do have those moments where I wish I didn’t have the cellulite and stretch marks that have come from having been overweight, I am now at a point where I really don’t want to change me. I’ve come to terms with (and possibly even love) the fact that I am not a skinny girl and I will never beΒ a skinny girl. I like the fact that my waist is 15 inches smaller than my hips, even if that means I will never look good in shift dresses. I like my butt the way it is.

And since I’ve learned to love what I have, I’ve become more aware of how many beautiful women and girls there are out there who look at themselves and yearn for something they aren’t instead of seeing what they are.Β So today, as you go about your daily routine of beautifying yourself, or tonight when you’re getting undressed for bed, look at yourself in the mirror and analyze what it is you don’t like about you.

Then ask yourself Β a simple question: “why?”

If that answer has anything to do with the opinions of someone else, the media, celebrities, or any sort of ideal that was planted in your head because the world thinks it should be so… forget it. You shouldn’t want to change yourself because of anyone but you. You should be who you are, and you should love the way you look, because looking like you and being yourself is the most beautiful thing you’ll ever do to improve your appearance. Be you today, and be confident in that.

If you find it hard to look at yourself and feel beautiful, simplify it. Find one thing about yourself that you like– however inconsequential it might seem–, and focus on that. Tomorrow, find something else. And little by little, maybe you’ll find your way to confidence like I have.

Don’t read this and think “oh, she can say she’s confident because _____” (fill it in as you will); I am far from the “ideal” in beauty or body. I have 42 inch hips. I have cellulite on my thighs, stretch marks on my hips, and a belly that will never, ever be flat. But I can say right now that I am just fine with that. I look at the cellulite and stretch marks, and I am reminded that I have come out victorious in a battle with weight that started ten years ago. I look at the curve of my stomach and secretly smile because I basically have the body of a goddess, if you go by ancient statues and paintings. πŸ˜‰

And to be honest, I’ve never wanted a flat belly.

I hope that eventually, you will find that you, too, have come to love the way you are.

Have a beautiful Wednesday.

  • That’s a nice tip. I’m sure most women know that already, but believing it is another thing entirely.
    Anyway, your outfit is beautiful (I love the ring, and those shoes). And that dress fits you perfectly.

    • Very true! Sometimes it takes years to believe what you tell yourself or others tell you. But it’s a good way to remember, on those days when you just feel overlall bleh, that there is something about yourself you do like. It kind of changes my mood overall if I find one positive thing to like. πŸ™‚
      Thank you! The ring was my mom’s, and I sort of… borrowed it without the intention of returning it.

      • That is a positive outlook on life. I will definitely try to find something I like about myself. πŸ™‚
        Ha ha ha ha ha, that sounds familiar. I tend to borrow my mom’s stuff too.

  • I love the whole look, particularly the fact that you also paid so much attention to detail – that ring is amazing! x

    • Thank you. πŸ™‚

  • Thanks so much for sharing this. This is something I’ve struggled with a long time, and I know it is the fault of the media. And this even though I’m a lot lighter (but also a lot shorter!) than you.
    On only halfway a related note… I love it when you suddenly find out your outfit totally matches something else like a book or a bag. I had a photoshoot with my new bag the other day and I wanted a book to put inside it. So I just grabbed the nearest one, and the colours of book and bag happened to match each other perfectly! πŸ˜€

    • See, there are people lighter than me, heavier than me, taller, shorter, curvier, skinnier… of every shape and size and we all want something different! Which I find sort of funny, in a sad way. It sometimes seems like nobody realizes that who they are is already beautiful. πŸ™‚ I think for me, it really helped when I started to discover they made things like padded underwear, and that women actually got butt implants. That was a wake up call, that maybe having a curvy butt wasn’t so bad. I hope you find a revelation like that, too. πŸ™‚

      I know! I thought it was really funny that I matched the book I was reading, without even noticing. I want to see your outfit now. πŸ˜‰ I was thinking that would be another interesting challenge, to get inspired by all the books I own. I might do that one day.

      • Ah, will humanity never be satisfied with what they have? Silly question! πŸ˜‰ Actually I have now mostly accepted that I am and always will be “bottom-heavy”. And reading blogs like yours are certainly helping, especially when I’ve had a bad self-confidence day. πŸ˜€
        I’m going to use it in a later post, so here it is: Wow, that would be interesting! Should we expect lots of Victorian gowns? πŸ˜›

        • Yeah, I am bottom heavy as well. But that’s not a bad thing! πŸ˜€ I’m glad that reading my posts help you to have a better self-image.
          Well… it wouldn’t be Victorian gowns. I’d probably more draw from the colors or the name or… I don’t even know. I’m still thinking about it.
          You look so pretty! I love your bag, too.

  • That color looks great on you. Love the scarf with the dress.

    • Thank you! I’m quite fond of this dress.

  • Demy

    Ah, this is the last thing I read before I go to bed, and I have to admit that out of the 60 posts (I still have 300 and something to read, but I don’t have the time -whatever!) I read, that one was the best. By far. Well, of course you know I adore the way you write, but I agree with everything you said. We’re all so overly obsessed with our image and our weight, it’s pathetic. We should just…relax. I’m not skinny either. And I don’t want to be. I weigh 125lbs and all my friends are still skinnier than me. Ok, what can I do now? That is life. I have so much more important things to focus on that my body image at the moment, and I’m kind of sad for people who spend hours and hours pitying themselves for the way they look. They should appreciate it, actually. I like what you said: we should all just look in the mirror and find the pieces we love about ourselves. It’s not conceit, not at all, it’s just mental health! Thanks so much for writing this and just for the record, I believe that you have an absolutely stunning body and as you said, you remind me of the ancient greek statues of Athena! πŸ˜€
    Oh the outfit is sooo lovely! Blue is my favorite color, so I neeeeed this dress! It looks gorgeous on you! Plus, I love the way you styled it with stripes and the cute floral scarf!
    Now I’m off to sleep, because I don’t want to sleep on the keyboard lol!
    Many kisses!!!

    • We definitely should relax. I mean, I’ve always thought it was funny when people strive to be skinny, and then thin girls wish they had more weight on them. Why not accept who you are and be confident in that? There are things that look better on me with my curves, and things that look better on skinny girls with their lithe bodies. Both ways are beautiful. I wish the world didn’t see things as just one way.

      Hehehe, thank you love! I’m glad you think so. It took quite a while for me to like the way I am built, and now I wouldn’t want to be any other way!

      If I lived close to you, I would let you borrow it. πŸ˜€ <3 Have a good sleep!

  • My first thought when I saw this post was, “Dayum, girl looks like a tall drink of water!” And you do. I think you look great. But, I always think you look great. It’s what you think about yourself that counts, and I’m so glad you’ve came to accept yourself and your body. I know many who aren’t at that stage yet, and many who will NEVER be at that stage. I think the most important things are A) being healthy, and B) being happy. It seems like you’re both of these things right now, so sing it loud and sing it proud, sister!

    • Thank you! And I agree; the two most important things are being healthy and being happy. I could be healthier (the Cheetos call my name. Incessantly.), but all in all I know I’m not *un*healthy. πŸ˜‰

  • The dress is stunning, Mara!
    And the post is very frank and to-the point. Being true to yourself is the least you can do to be happy- and when happiness comes, everything just falls into place
    Why care about someone’s opinions when they won’t matter at all? πŸ™‚

    Loved it! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you, dear! That’s very true!

  • This is a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing! Also, you look gorgeous (as always!)

  • Kelly

    I’ve always felt fat, which was okay when I was younger because chubby kids are cute but once I hit puberty I really started to hate how I looked. But I started noticing how nice my hair is and how unique the shape of my eyes are and despite my ‘fat’ness I still have a pretty small waist. So now I don’t hate how I look, though I do think I need to exercise more and eat healthier and I weigh about thirty pounds more then my best friends haha. I really liked this post and your outfit =) You’re really rocking that dress! Is the Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake good? It sounds interesting. I actually came across this woman who recommended Hollywood Beauty Cocoa Butter Skin Creme and she said it helped with her stretch marks and cellulite. I haven’t actually tried it though. She said to apply it twice a day and that the marks got pink and itchy but then faded a lot and stuff. here’s a link
    I feel like I should mention that I’m sixteen and so I’m not really a mature woman yet, so yeahp.

    • I’m glad you started to notice those things about yourself. That sounds a lot like me– I didn’t really notice that I was curvier than the other girls until I was around thirteen. And I’ve grown to accept that I’ll always weigh more than most of my friends, and it’s okay. I always think I need to exercise more (for heart reasons, actually) and eat better, but I’m okay with having the curves I have!
      It was a good book, yes! There were a few swear words, but overall I liked it. It was really unique and interesting.
      I’ll have to try that.
      Hey, sixteen is a good age. I think you sound mature. πŸ˜€

  • I love that title! It reminds me of Phantom. Because of the chapter called “The Singular Attitude of a Safety Pin” or something like that.

    I’ve never seen anyone who wasn’t fat who I’ve thought looked bad except models, who look half-dead because they’re so skinny. Even overweight people look fine, so long as they aren’t too much overweight.

    It’s funny; I find that my insecurities about my own appearance have nothing to do with what people around me say or think! I feel that no one around me really cares, and the only one who’s bothered by my flaws is me.

    My issue has never been weight. I have big arms and large thighs, but that’s not so much being overweight as it’s just the way I’m built. But I know that my appearance is nothing remarkable, and my hair will always be too dry and frizzy to work with. Who needs to be pretty, though? It would be nice, but it’s completely unnecessary, and beauty can sometimes lead to bad things (like unwanted male attention. I’m so glad I’ve never experienced that!). I’m not saying that paying attention to your appearance is silly because there is definitely some importance to that, but you don’t have to be pretty to look put-together. So, yeah, I sometimes wish my nose wasn’t so big, but then I remind myself that God made me look the way I do for a reason. And suddenly I’m beautiful.

    • HAHA! Sorry, just… correlating the title to the Phantom cracks me up. I can see how it reminds you of that, though. πŸ˜€

      I love the last thing you said– God made you look the way you do for a reason, and suddenly you’re beautiful. It’s so true! And also, there are people who would be pretty but their attitudes or manner of dress are ugly so they are unattractive, and there are people who– if you really think about it– aren’t that pretty, but the way they act and dress is amazing so they ARE beautiful. I’ve met people on both sides. I much prefer the latter. πŸ˜€

      • You don’t have to apologize for laughing! It is funny.

        Definitely! Like those models I mentioned before. They might have pretty faces, but many of them look so unhealthy and unhappy that it’s not even pleasurable to look at them. I don’t know so much about dress, but for sure attitudes and behavior can make pretty people ugly and vice versa. I have a friend whom I think is very beautiful, but I remember when I first saw her a few years ago, my impression of her appearance was that she was not much of a looker. And now, looking back, I’m just, “Huh? How could I have thought that? She’s so gorgeous!” But I guess knowing her personality helps bring out the beauty in her, and that’s something I couldn’t see before knowing her.

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  • I pretty much love everything about this post. The dress is striking and you have it styled beautifully. Mostly though, I just love the sentiment. You are so wise Mara.