A hippie love-fest vs. A perfect body

May 15, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

OK- so this blog is VERY far outside my usual posts- AND comfort zone.  Other than the extreme love I have for my family, there’s not much personal or thoughtful insight posted on www.caracrumblissphotography.com .  And that’s for good reason.  I’m a photographer.  I’m reasonably private.  And, I think that opinions and feelings should be kept to yourself (or texted to your sister), not blasted on the internet to annoy the masses. 

But today, in my (annoying) Facebook newsfeed, I saw two posts side by side… One touting on how women need to love their bodies the way they are, excusing and maybe even condoning cellulite, stretch marks, and fat.  The other was giving advice on how to get the perfect body, shaming those same three things.   The dichotomy, and the irony, got me thinking…

I’m the donut-eating, beer-drinking, couch-loving person in a family of health nuts. 

I’m also the marathon-running, calorie-counting, body-loathing person in a work family of non-health nuts. 

I am the living, breathing embodiment of the exact dichotomy that made me laugh.  So it shouldn’t have surprised me that both articles garnered an eye roll as I thumbed through the newsfeed.  How can I subscribe to both mindsets, and yet hate them both at the same time? 

Let’s start with the first… Love your body- all the curves, lumps, imperfections, and all.  That’s great on the surface.  YES!  Love yourself, and accept yourself, and teach your children to do the same.  But how far do we extend this hippie love-fest?   Should I love those extra 10 pounds that I try in vain to fit into my skinny jeans?  Doing so seems to excuse the poor decisions I made in attaining said 10 pounds.  It even feels like maybe loving them somehow loves the gluttony that was the sure cause. 

On the flip side… Hate your body and try to fix every curve, lump, and imperfection seems equally misguided.  (Admittedly, the hate part is implied…)  Though this body of mine carries some unwanted lumps, cellulite, and pounds, it has gladly obliged when I asked it to carry me across countless  marathon/ half-marathon/ 10K/5K finish lines.  Further, I have great confidence that someday these wide hips I curse so often will bless me with a couple of kids to love.  And that these saggy boobs I love to hate will gracefully and beautifully provide sustenance for those babies.   How can I hate and shame and FIX a body that can do these wondrous things? 

Both ideas seem so profoundly wrong. 

I think we confuse loving and accepting ourselves with excusing poor decisions.  And we confuse a health-conscious life with a demand of physical perfection. (I’ll spare you my pontification on who exactly is defining “perfection.”  Suffice it to say, Hollywood-fueled media is a filthy wh*re).   This conversation on loving versus shaming your body has spiraled out of control into a bi-polar mess of extreme opinions devoid of common sense. 
Love your body.  Accept it.  Every dimple, muscle, curve.  In every form.  All the time.  Six pack or keg, horseshoe triceps or flabby arm fat,  four-boob or no-boob.   

Love yourself enough to acknowledge that your self-worth isn’t tied to your pant size.  But extend that love far enough to care that you could be a better, stronger, fitter you.  Love yourself enough to hold yourself accountable when you make decisions that are in opposition of your goals.  Then love yourself some more to forgive and try harder tomorrow when things don’t quite work out.   Whatever your goal may be, love yourself enough to hold yourself to it… but not so far as to shame yourself for failure. 

Basically, what I’m saying here is find some middle ground.  It is the rare occasion that extremism wins, so find the middle ground in simultaneously loving and demanding more out of your body.

… Enough… I’ll put this soap box away for a while and get the camera back out.


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