Letting go of the idea of Perfection
~ Part 1 ~
A perfect 10. The perfect woman. A perfect wife. The perfect mother… and the list goes on.
What is perfection, and who decides this? Did a random group of white, hetero, middle class men get together and make this shit up? Not quite, but if they did, the criteria for the perfect woman would look something like this:
- Big Boobs
- Fair skin (with a tan, of course, but not too dark!)
- Long legs
- Straight, white teeth
- Long flowing hair
- Full lips
- A delicate sweet voice
- A curvy ass
- A small waist
- Toned body without any cellulite
- No extra body hair
- Sexy yet demure
- A great cook
- Gives great blow jobs
- Always ready for sex
Sound familiar? Does this sound like society’s image of the perfect woman?
What does this image do to us, to our hearts and our psyche? It f#*ks us up. It really f#*ks us up.
It makes us think we’re not good enough, from the time we are little girls. It gets us counting our calories and stuffing our bras, lining our lips and wearing high heels.
Do you think I’m a crazy male bashing feminists? Yeah, a feminist I am, but a male basher I am not. I love getting dressed up in sexy high heels, a push up bra, a form fitted dress with a wicked smoky eye. I love to feel feminine and attractive, to get male attention and female appreciation. Love it.
BUT (there is a huge but here), there is a difference between choosing to get glammed up for a night on the town and succumbing to the pressure of perfection that we see all around us.
I am 51 now, and my ideal physical body was me at 24. The really messed up thing is that even then, when I was at my ‘best’, with an awesome, fit, sexy body, I STILL wasn’t 100% happy with what I saw in the mirror. Even though I weighed 120 lbs and had 15% body fat. Even though I had a six-pack for abs (yeah, I did). Even though I was fit and youthful and sexy as hell. I remember back to that time and the truth is that I didn’t feel good enough then either. I thought that my boobs were too small, I hated that I had cellulite bumps on the backs of my thighs, and dark circles under my eyes. I saw only my flaws.
The really messed up thing is that even then, when I was at my ‘best’, with an awesome, fit, sexy body, I STILL wasn’t 100% happy with what I saw in the mirror.
Enter your text here...
Fast forward to today. While I know that I’m beautiful, I also know that I no longer have my 24 year old body. And I’m not kind to myself about it. My flabby stomach, which I think about almost all the time. The ‘age spots’ on my face. My old lady chicken arms that prevent me from wearing sleeveless tops in warm weather. The cellulite on my thighs that prevents me from wearing shorts - ever. The thick, unrecognizable 50-something body. Who IS this person?
I choose outings and activities based on what I will have to wear. Day at the park with friends? I hope it’s not too hot, so I can get away with wearing pants instead of shorts. I love the Caribbean but dread going to an island because it means swimsuits and sundresses. I am relieved when a fancy night out is cancelled, because then I don’t have to worry about squeezing into Spanx and covering my arms and thinking of nothing but the size of my ass and the bulge of my stomach all night long.
So what’s the solution? Should I just lose the damn weight? Get my body back in shape so I don’t have anything to feel self-conscious about? Maybe. Yes. And no. Cause here’s the kicker: no matter what changes I make to my body, I will never see it as good enough until I love myself as I am.
Here’s the kicker: no matter what changes I make to my body, I will never see it as good enough until I love myself as I am.
The fact that I had the same insecurities 60 lbs and 25 years ago...and when I was running half marathons and was fit and slim, and so on and so on. So yeah, I can lose some weight for the sake of my health, but that’s not the issue.
The issue is that I put conditions on loving and accepting myself, and these conditions are directly related to my weight, my pant size and my body.
The issue is this idea of perfection that I - and so many women I know - have bought into. The sad realization that even if I lose 40 lbs, tone my arms, flatten my belly, that I still won’t think I’m good enough, at least not until I change what is on the inside.
So where does that leave me? Where does that leave us, all the women who resonate with what I’m putting down?
I used to believe that if I accepted myself the way I am, that I would never have incentive to ‘be better’, that if I loved my curves and jiggles, that I would never aspire for fitness or slimness again. That accepting myself would automatically put me on a trajectory straight for obesity.
The thing is, hating any part of yourself is not motivation for change. Nothing good comes from hate. Ever.
So what am I, besides a jiggly ass, a flabby tummy and cellulite ridden thighs?
I am brilliant. I am beautiful. I am curvy. I am sexy. I am funny. I am kind. I am an exceptional human, with a heart as big as a mountain and a soul as deep as the ocean. I am multilingual. I am clever. I am compassionate. I am hard working. I am a good friend, mother, wife, auntie and daughter. I am an empath. I am an amazing public speaker. I am a talented writer. I am an influencer and a bridge builder.
I’m f#*king awesome. And so are you.
I choose to love myself today for who I am. Not for who I was or who I could be, but who I am at this moment.
What about you? What will you choose?
As my favorite poet, Mary Oliver, said,
“Tell me, what is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Will you sit on the sidelines, waiting until you are perfect, or will you live out loud today?
With love and light,