To be honest, at first, I didn’t know how to go about the topic of body and beauty and what many see as imperfections. I was worried that women would take offense because I didn’t want to be THAT PERSON claiming that bushy eyebrows and stretch marks are considered flaws in the first place. The truth is, I don’t feel those are imperfections at all, although some may, especially if you have them yourself because let’s face it…we are our worst critiques.
I’m just going to put myself out there for this one.
I’m not saying that because I love my flaws and ‘imperfections’ that I don’t have ten extra pounds driving me crazy or wish more than anything to have my leg hair permanently removed, I’ve just learned to love myself regardless of them. That feeling of self-acceptance is something that I want for all women who have a hard time looking in the mirror. Now that I have had many years of struggles and epiphanies about self-disgust and hatred under my belt it’s something I want for those who still have a hard time.
A belt that causes quuuuite the “pudding top” for your information. So let’s dive right into that, shall we?
So, a “pudding-top” is what I call that loose post-pregnancy skin some women get once you gain a lot of weight then lose it rather fast -not firm or as fluffy as a muffin, and it likes to seep out of clothing. When my daughter was a toddler, she would call it her squishy and her love for my loose stomach honestly helped me accept it more. I didn’t want her playing with it at first but eventually the fact that she loved it made me let my disgust go. It is quite similar to post-pregnancy/breastfeeding breasts. I mean COME ON, I went from a small C cup before pregnancy to an F cup while breastfeeding. Talk about a sad deflation process.
You know what I’m talking about, ladies. If you don’t, then you enjoy those cute bikini tops without the built-in 360 degrees support for the both of us, alright sister? Haha!
Now I’m figuratively dying, laughing, because swimsuit season is right around the corner and I know what lies ahead for me: comical moments in the dressing room, that’s what. All of this different theoretical maneuver tests to make sure you’re not going to lose your girls once your child makes an unexpected run for it, etc. etc.
I’m not trying to preach that every woman should accept themselves as is and that’s that, either, or that it’s wrong to go out of your way to change your appearance; that’s incredibly unrealistic and awful. I love the fact that women take pride in their looks and make changes that make them feel better with regimes, procedures, and surgery.
I mean, I still enjoy my trip to the medical spa to see my Esthetician because my genes blessed me with those thick dark hair follicles that don’t know how to quit. Like I said, one day I hope to do whatever necessary so that I don’t have to shave or wax immediately after I shave or wax. I’ve also contemplated going to have corrective treatments, specifically for acne scars and redness, because I was one of those girls who suffered, and I don’t use the word suffered lightly, from acne throughout my teenage and early adult years. I picked, and I scrubbed, and I damaged my poor skin. It consumed a good ten years of my life as a young woman trying to find my confidence and love myself. I don’t have clear porcelain-like skin that you see all over the internet and magazines, and it took me a while to get over that jealousy and hurt. I’ve still convinced myself that the women without pores are cyborgs or aliens. It makes me feel better. Love you, mean it. The point of all of this rambling is that I want you to understand that I too have been consumed by my ‘imperfections,’ and in one way or another we’re all relatable and when we’re all relatable, it’s easier to realize that we can move past our outward appearances.
I understand and respect both ends of the self-love spectrum – you either let it be, or you make it be, and I love and respect that. You’re the one in control, and it doesn’t matter what other’s opinions are. I think you’re amazing no matter what you do, or don’t do. So please, believe me when I say that I think you’re sexy and beautiful and I support your choices because it’s your body, your life and so should you!
I want to focus on the self-love and that appreciative mindset as a whole, and much of that has to do with what WE, OURSELVES consider to be flaws or imperfections and how we let that affect our mindset. The woman with porcelain skin could have large areolas that make her self-conscious or the woman with the beautiful dark, and thick, curly hair that you admire could shave her feet every week. We all have something that we consider an imperfection, and we use that flaw as a way to compare ourselves to other women and cut down our self-worth, and I think that’s one thing that could bring us together.
My real, like holy hell, self-love breakthrough happened just a few years ago. I remember standing in front of the mirror and nit-picking every little thing about myself then literally picking at my face, my legs, my chest. My anxiety had me a mess, so I decided to make this unhealthy obsession instead, into a healthy one. I wanted to move past my exterior point of view, and love myself regardless because I knew this was not how I wanted to live.
I WOULD LOVE MYSELF FOR HOW I STOOD IN ANY MOMENT NO MATTER WHAT.
Even though I want to lose some weight and don’t like the fact that my legs are annoying, I love myself hard because I know I’m so much more than that. There’s no if’s, and’s or but’s; that’s just the way it is.
This idea of true self-love, all clicked because of an online community, Fit Girl’s Guide, that I found back in 2015. I met hundreds of women who had similar stories to mine. I saw women who I knew to be gorgeous and strong as fuck, discuss their struggles with body image and it blew my mind. We openly explained our issues with stretch marks, acne, cellulite, crooked teeth, sun spots, damaged hair, varicose veins, unwanted body hair, and everything else you can think of when openly discussing what could be considered body flaws and imperfections. What sent a shock of realization to my mind was that when I looked at them, I honestly saw perfection. They were all beautiful in their special way, and it broke my heart thinking they couldn’t see that. I didn’t judge them based on their body types or outward appearances, and I then began to realize that I wasn’t alone. This idea was so much bigger than the battle between me and my mirror. I had been using so much of my energy to lift up others, but I didn’t even try to do the same for myself.
If I could look at them and see perfection then I could do the same with myself, so I started to change my thought process when it came to my own body.
You’re not just going to read this and then BAM, fixed! No sadly, it’s not like that. There are no quick and easy fixes. This transformation will take months and even years of endless acceptance through thought change. Once you learn to love your mom boobs and stretch marks, you’ll end up getting sun spots and wrinkles and perhaps then you’ll have to talk yourself through the entire process again.
DON’T WORRY THOUGH.
I believe that we can prepare ourselves to grow into and love our skin then continue to do the same as we age.
I mean, even the women who everyone “ooh’s” and “aaa’s” over, it’s easy to assume that they too have issues with how they look. Perhaps they shave their big toe like me and most of the women whom I love and admire. That’s right; I shave my big toe, ladies. We have to stop holding ourselves up to these unrealistic standards and start seeing ourselves as human.
Hairy, everchanging, and immortal humans. We’re not gross; we’re exactly how we’re meant to be! Okay, so maybe a little gross. It’s just who we are, and once you see yourself as human and not as this perfect filtered photo on social media, it will be easier to change your mindset. In learning to love our ‘imperfections,’ we must first accept the fact that we’re weird mammals with insane bodily functions, haha. It works for me, and I think getting back to the basics can help you too. We need to let go of this idea that we are better off someway else or we have to manipulate our bodies to be happy because by doing that we may never reach this insane perfect image in our head and be upset forever.
Sadly, and I do mean sadly, there’s no fountain of youth either so let’s accept that we’re going to be changing with age, enjoy the process, and still take whatever steps we want to feel good about ourselves. Okay?
Come from a place of love.
There are so many ways that you can work on your image and make yourself temporarily feel better, but if you don’t believe it deep down, what is that going to help? If you’re changing your looks or working on yourself from a place of disgust, then you’re just going to continue the awful cycle of self-disgust and sadness. That has to stop. We need to let go of this idea that we are better off some other way and not at this exact moment. Change your mindset, and you will completely change the way you view yourself. Every woman deserves that!
I know that I look way better now than I did when I was struggling through high school and early adulthood, and it’s not because of treatments or regimes -even though that’s helped tremendously- it’s because of my entire outlook on life and how I see myself has changed.
With time my routines adapted to fit my self-love narrative which was to love myself where I was in the moment and, in turn, love the process of what self-love and care meant to me. It wasn’t a burden any longer. I wasn’t doing it to FIX myself. I was taking care of my image and handling it my way because the feeling of doing so made me happy. What you feel on the inside WILL transcend to how you look on the outside, 100%.
Mindset truly is everything.
If you let yourself get back to the basics of who we are, what you have is a naturally beautiful body of a woman who has worked and is still working every second of every day to do right by you. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s so important to love your body regardless of what imperfections you may see because when you own who you are, you can start to feel like the beautiful person that has been there the entire time.
That feeling of appreciation and love is going to let you care for yourself in a completely different manner, and your self-love will outshine anything that anyone could ever consider an imperfection. So start to own who you are and change your inner dialogue, learn to love yourself regardless of what society or your exes, classmates, or assholes on social media deemed as ‘imperfections,’ and move forward with a completely different mindset.
Once you do, you’ll be surprised by how quickly what you once thought were flaws start to fade away and are replaced by what makes you, you, and that’s worth smiling over.