I can’t even say how many women I know who have said that they don’t like their bodies, that they are unhappy being their current weight or size or shape. That they don’t feel sexy or desirable – and many of these women are in long-term relationships! Sure, we all have bad days – days where nothing fits, where nothing feels good. But to live in a constant state of revulsion at one’s own self… It’s just not good for anyone.
Certainly, we can all stand to eat a little less junk and a little more good stuff. We can cut down on the soda and up the water intake. We can work out. But it’s only going to do so much. Without strict and extreme changes in our lifestyles, it’s next to impossible to make a size 16 body fit into a size 8 dress. So many of us choose to hate ourselves and our bodies for our failures to be skinny – and to feel like it inhibits our abilities to be desirable women. But does it?
When I was in my younger years, I used to go out dancing every once in a while. Not all the time – I have never been a huge party girl – but once a month or so. For a while, I’d stay in the background, let my friends attract the attention. I would wear sort-of party clothes, but I didn’t feel comfortable dancing sexy or having real fun – after all, I was the big one in the group, the obligatory fat friend around to make the other girls look cute.
One day I was going out with friends for a someone’s birthday. In fact, I had forgotten completely about the party – so I was in plain old regular jeans and a sweater, not even a V-neck. No showing off the cleavage for me. But for some reason I decided that since I already looked schlubby, I wasn’t going to stress myself out about being the fat friend. In fact, I relaxed. I danced. I got hit on.
It was the first time in my life I’d actually been grabbed in a club. A gorgeous man with an extremely well-built chest and smooth ebony skin and a Jamaican accent saw my butt-shaking and decided I looked like a hot and sexy Italian woman. He stayed by me the whole evening and gave me his number. He also said some incredibly suggestive things. I had no intention of calling him, of course (especially at that point in my life, suggestive things freaked me out!), and gave him a lame excuse about having just moved and lost my cell phone (which was, of course, sitting in my purse on my arm). But that attention gave me such an ego boost that evening that after that I decided to look at going out a little differently.
I went out some more, and got hit on each time. Sometimes more than once in an evening. Most of the guys were sleazy (it was a club, after all) and I didn’t give anyone my number until I met my husband. But I got asked. A lot. I still dressed basically the same – usually a shirt and jeans and boots – when going out. I still weighed the same – in fact, I met my husband while dancing in a club downtown at my very heaviest. But what changed was my attitude toward myself. I decided that I moved well. I felt sexy. I was sexy.
Most of us can’t change the way our bodies were made. And if we try, we only become frustrated and angry, disappointed in our inability to be a perfect size two.
What’s the solution? To accept and learn to love ourselves, every last roll and bump and curve. Girls, repeat this after me: I am beautiful. No, honestly, say it. Think it. Mean it. Do you think you have to look like Scarlett Johannsen before your husband or boyfriend will want to see you naked? Try it. I think you’ll see he loves that love handle and those bones that jut out.
Believe it. You are beautiful. You are unique and special and beautiful. If you proudly enjoy that your body is your own, and don’t beat yourself up about your small breasts or your big belly or your size 16 (or 12, or 8) jeans, if you own it… Then you will feel sexy. You will be happy. Losing weight or gaining boobs won’t make you happy. You will make you happy. You have the power right now to change your body image. It’s in your head.