Life Design Action: Live in a body that you lovelovelovelovelovelovelove
Requires: You. Your body.
Does not require: New boobs, new nose, new skin, new shape, new nails, new ear lobes, fashion or beauty magazines. Really! It’s true!
(I think it’s fairly safe to say that we all want to live in a body that we feel, know, believe, trust is strong, beautiful and gorgeous. So how do we get there especially if we’ve been battling the body for years?)
The Body Confessional Of A Small Hippo
Sometimes I think my mother is blind with love – or just blind.
I am curled on the sofa at her house, hugging Pix and talking to my step-sister-type-person about her University course when my mother bursts in.
“Look at these lovely pictures Aunty Denise brought down!” She thrusts a bunch of photographs at me then stands back in rapt delight.
I flick through the shots, first with mild curiously, then with unease and then with increasing horror.
“Where have these come from?” I ask hoarsely.
“Aren’t they lovely?” trills my mother.
I stare at her, then back at the photographs.
Is she blind?
These are the sort of photos that, had I known they existed, would have been furnaced years ago. They are the sort of photographs that hit Facebook where everyone else looks gorgeous and you are pulling the face of a grizzling maggot with constipation.
It am more than a little uncomfortable with these photographs.
I hate them.
“It must have been a year when Denise and the kids came over for Christmas …” Mum muses dreamily. She leans over. “Look, there’s Katherine and James …” (two blondes, svelte and beautiful) “… and Rebecca …” (the youngest of us – a dark, exotic beauty…) “…and there’s Harry …” (my brother with his fair locks and ice blue eyes) ” … and there’s you …” (a massive red cheeked, golden haired hippo. Wearing a striped nightie. Nice.)
Suddenly, 24 years after those photos were taken, I am flooded with all the shame, embarrassment, humiliation and self-consciousness that I experienced on a daily basis back then. Years of name-calling and shit from other kids is stirred up from the bottom of my soul. And in this bizarre speed-of-light reaction, I am suddenly really pissed off with my mother.
I am not usually into passing blame, but …
* 8 year old kids aren’t doing the household shopping or cooking meals. Parents are responsible for their children’s health and well being so How The Hell Did I End Up That Big? And Bullied? And Desperatley Unhappy With Myself?
* These were the sort of photographs that had they been of my mother – she would never splash around.
Before I can mention either point, Mum picks the photos up and passes them to my step-sister-type-person to look at.
If flaunting my childhood obesity wasn’t enough, Mum then adds, “Denise thought that we could scan them into the computer and then put them on a chip for one of those digial photograph frames.”
They are going to be on a slide show.
Oh Holy Mother Of God.
It gets better.
“As a present for Gran and Granddad!”
I sit on sofa in poker stiff shock. Start having awful, flushed faced vision of going to my grandparents with Ads and my Granddad proudly switching on his new digital photo frame to display pictures of the self loathing, scarlet faced, chronically obese monster that I once was. Suppress this thought quickly. It can not happen. Will not happen.
I am quiet in the car on the way home. Pix and Roo sing to the music and squabble. I think about the little/big girl in the photographs. I feel painfully guilty for feeling so negative towards that 8 year old self. The situation wasn’t her fault, but she had to live with it, day in, day out … She felt like a free spirited sprite trapped in a cumbersome elephant body. Poor sausage. I find myself gripping the steering wheel as Little Bethan’s story begins to unravel in my head …
Becoming a teenager, bulimic, losing weight and the continuing sense of desperate self-consciousness …
How she started to notice that she was not alone in her body battle and seeing other girls and women also struggling with body image …
Feeling baffled that the men on the TV were allowed to be old, fat, short and wonky looking, yet women were only celebrated if they were tall, thin, beautiful and sexy…
As I turn car into the wild, jungle road where I now run, I think about how 18 year old Bethan overcame her eating issues and instead started to research women and their history…
How she became intrigued by this bizarre situation where men always seemed to always be the subject and the woman the object – men the Looker, women the Looked-At …
How she began researching the marketing world and seeing how digitally enhanced photographs and videos were used to sell this image of ideal “female beauty” to encourage women to reach higher levels of “beauty” and the consequential effects this was having on women’s self esteem and identity …
How this inspired her to create the Gorgeousness Concept – a way of transcending the limited chatter about media beauty and to grow into a Giantess Of Gorgeousness, roaring out silent worth and unmistakable beauty from every cell of the body and soul …
How this Gorgeousness Concept transformed her own relationships, health, her fitness, work and well being… Everything from the way she thought to what she consumed …
I pull up in the driveway.
Music is raging.
Kids are singing like mad.
I am drumming the tune on the steering wheel and my heart is racing and I’m thinking, “Oh My God. I see it!”
The child in the photos wasn’t ever a hippo or an obsese monster.
She was a young Giantess of Gorgeousness embarking on an amazing journey.
Key Point: When you love yourself, your actions will be self loving. No need to diet. No need to starve. No need to drink revolting shakes. No need to cut your body and rearrange your lips. Love yourself. Stop listening to anyone elses perception of what Incredible is. Tap into your own unique brand of you-ness, then cultivate that with good food, good movement, good feelings and good people. In essence, grow your OWN Gorgeousness.