Before I got pregnant, I spent more than a decade dieting, picking apart my every flaw and obsessing over my jean size. But now, as my daughter celebrates her first birthday, I'm happier than ever with my body. Yes, even the stretch marks.
Permission to love our bodies at any shape or size isn't coming from the culture any time soon. The patriarchy has far too much to lose if women stop the preoccupation with the thin ideal; so do the diet and fitness industries.
At home, there were no diets, no workout tapes. I did not think much about food, that is to say it was pleasant, it was purposeful and essential. But conversations were never about it. And why would they be, when there were so many books and people and places to talk about?
Remember, what you practice, you get better at. When you chose to practice self-acceptance, compassion, and kindness toward yourself and others, you'll cultivate peace, courage, and joy. That's a habit worth getting good at!
I used to be an extreme body hater. After decades of working on cultivating self-kindness and self-care, I am now extremely devoted to loving and appreciating the body I live in. I also have the good fortune of being able to teach others how to do the same.
So the perfect woman has to have big boobs, a big butt... but why doesn't she have a big gut? The stomach remains the big taboo of the female body: it can't exist, it has to be as flat as possible, with the waistline perfectly defined and no disgraceful flab.
I admit that it would be nice to pin our body image hang-ups to one dartboard. It would be super keen if we could lay blame at the feet of the music industry, our seventh grade gym teacher or the guy (and let's face it, it was totally a dude) who invented the tube top.
Our minds are filled with the thoughts, beliefs and values of all the people who influence our lives. Having a strong sense of self comes from tuning out the voices of everyone else and listening to your own information, intuition, needs and desires.
Some people might look at this photo and see a fat girl. I see a girl who fought many demons, dealt with many medical problems, wanted to give up on life but crawled her way back inch by inch to see that life is wonderful, and in fact, decided to# BeBrave and believe in herself.
My body tells the story of all the pieces of women who made me; an amalgamation of my ancestry. I am a patchwork quilt of evolution built from the genetics of women who lived remarkably unremarkable lives.
I'd love to tell my daughter that I have always loved my body. That I have never abused it to lose a few pounds. That health has always taken a front seat to vanity. I'm not going to tell this lie to her.
One can never assess one's state of health or degree of happiness simply by physical appearance alone. It's what's on the inside that counts, cheesy or not. True beauty does not have a size. All bodies are beautiful, and the only way to lasting happiness is through acceptance.
I love that Louis CK script because he has opened up a space for dialogue about the real problem. It's not that some women are fat, it's that fat women carry a stigmatized identity, and association will stigmatize the fat woman's partner too.