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 that 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 be 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. 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  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. 😉

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.