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.
By attaching a positive note to your daily body-loving rituals, you begin to associate your body with comforting, delightful things, which strengthens your relationship with your body and helps to feel more at home in your skin.
My armpit does its job just fine and my appreciation for what it does is not contingent upon how it looks, how it looks to others or even how lovely it smells. My armpit is, happily, the last place on my body that gets my attention.