My Imperfect Sense of Body Peace

...somewhat, imperfectly. (From body-peace.tumblr.com)

…somewhat, imperfectly. (From body-peace.tumblr.com)

I became aware of my body image at the age of 12. As a kid, I was always short, skinny, and a shameless picky eater. Then puberty hit like an unwelcome, sneaky guest who (in my teenaged mind) overstayed its welcome. And by the embarrassing age of 12, I was a mini woman with wide hips and a booty that would have made even JLo blush (or, again, so thought my teenaged mind). Unlike my peers whose bodies stretched out into willowy or athletic figures, I gained inch by inch of so-called baby fat.

It was then that I peered at my own reflection, deemed myself fat, and began my decade-long weight-loss struggle.

Throughout the years my body endured one crazy cycle of yo-yo dieting. For a while (let’s say, a few months at a time), I would have slimmer thighs, smaller hips, and cheeks that didn’t balloon up like a chipmunk’s with a simple smile. But most of the time I was just a short chubby girl who couldn’t resist late-night snacking.

As an adult woman, I have (somewhat) overcome that battle. It was not until last summer that I finally established a normal exercise routine and (somewhat) healthy eating habits, which I still maintain to this day. Since then I have dropped the weight I gained during and after my trip to Europe, toned my limbs, and increased my energy level. But I would be lying if I were to say that I am truly at peace with my body. There is a reason my copy of Seventeen magazine’s body peace treaty is still unsigned.

To be honest, I don’t know if I will ever be at “peace” with the body I have been blessed with. As long as I am a woman living in this media-inundated Western society, I will always be exposed to messages crowning thinness over thickness. And, trust me, you can’t exactly turn your mind off to these messages. Not easily anyway. But I do know this: I am happier with my body now than I have been for a very long time. I don’t attribute my happiness solely to my improved exercise/eating regimen (though that plays a huge part), but to my acceptance (and embracing) of certain facts about my body:

  • I will always be short: I sometimes wished that I was taller so my weight would “better” distribute throughout my stature, hence, making me look thinner. But then I figured that if I were taller, I would still probably be dealing with body image issues. So, instead, I take pride in saying that I am the shortest in my family. Don’t underestimate me– I can still kick ass.

  • I will always be curvy. Like, bubble booty, top heavy, thick thighs curvy. And I freakin’ love it. A few months ago I slipped on a dress for work, one that always flattered me no matter the number I tipped at on the scale. Except this time. It clung loose to me like an unattractive house dress. I frowned at my reflection, not at all liking the thought that I may be losing my curves. I do agree that that in itself is another body image predicament, but it was then that I realized that I would never want to be ultra-thin. That may work for some women (and, assuming that it is not a shape achieved through extreme measures, that’s PERFECTLY OKAY), but not for me.

  • My body deserves to be treated with respect. And that means consuming nutritious meals but not feeling guilty for sweet bites. Because, seriously, I love baking too much to swear off it. That also means occasionally working up a sweat, sleeping the right amount of hours, and just straight up loving it. That last part, though, is what I still play tug of war with.

So, if I accept these facts, then why the lack of complete body peace? The answer is easy: I sometimes think I will be “better” if I had the figure of a (short) Victoria’s Secret model. Ya know, with all the curves but defined abs/legs/arms/eyebrows.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it. But I do know that I am a short, curvy, awesome woman. And my strong body can kick serious ass.