Rosie just left this comment on an entry from a few days ago. I love it so much I want to marry it. I found myself nodding along with her the entire time, it’s so true to everything I believe that I decided to post it here as an entry of its own. (Paragraph separations and bold are mine.)
The entire first paragraph is vital to understand other women – no matter what we look like, we struggle with it. It’s not a reflection on others, period. I wrote to someone on Facebook the other day that if you put two identical women in a room together they’d declare the other beautiful while picking apart every flaw they could find on themselves. It’s an internal conflict that, at it’s truest heart, has less to do with body image and far more to do with our ability to love ourselves wholly.
The last paragraph has a universal truth that I bolded for emphasis. Read it. Listen to it. I mean REALLY listen. With your deepest heart.
Thank you, Rosie, for writing this.
“Its very complex isn’t it because obviously even if a woman still looks fit and slim and relatively unchanged in appearance her feelings of self loathing are still very real to her. Invalidating those feelings can often lead to an even louder cry of anguish, a feeling that no-one else understands or sees what she sees. But the thing that really pisses me off is that its not her fault. We live in such a crap culture where ideas of what is beautiful or normal are so narrow that even this young gorgeous woman thinks she is undesirable.
We women need to be so courageous, to stand up and not be ashamed of ourselves and not hide our bodies so the idea of beautiful and normal can expand. I’ve had three kids including a set of twins I carried for 39 and a half weeks. I have stretch marks over my hips, twin skin round my belly button that wrinkles when i lean forward and a big bottom and thighs but I wear a bikini when I go swimming. I eat very well and exercise and look after myself. Why should i be ashamed?
But it still takes huge amounts of courage to expose yourself because every other woman who looks like me is covering up in shame! To be honest even women who look like this(with a slightly imperfect belly) would likely be covering up and that is sooo sad (where does that leave the rest of us?).
I don’t think its because of what men expect from us. I know good men see the whole woman. I also separated from the father of my kids and went through these fears. Now I am with a man who is younger than me and everyone says is really gorgeous and he is totally into me. So who are we hiding from, who are we scared of. Shallow crap men that you wouldn’t want to be with anyway? Its not easy but I say we need to have the courage to expect the best for ourselves whatever we look like. To me that means being with a man who sees me as beautiful and desirable as a friend and as a lover. And knowing also that its OK to be alone until that comes along.”