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Reflections

by Kaylee Norton 12 months ago in body

distorted by socially constructed ideas of beauty

WARNING: Reflections in this mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of beauty.

So the other day, I was looking at my reflection and I made the realization that there’s nothing – absolutely NOTHING – wrong with my body! I had an intense wave of love and appreciation for my body. Yes, I’m “over weight” but I’m not unhealthy. Yes, I can be more healthy, but I’m working on it! I eat healthy 90% of the time, I’m physically active, and I get good sleep. I have cellulite – as do 80-90% of women! And almost 70% of women are over weight or obese.

So with the normality of cellulite, stretch marks and extra weight, why do many of us have to deal with hateful comments, bullying, and shaming?

Because society dictates what is acceptable. It has constructed this arbitrary image of slim but curvy married to Mr 6-pack earning a six figure income, living in a beautiful home, driving an expensive vehicle, with 2.5 children... Seriously – where did 2.5 children come from. Yeah, I know it’s an average, but still. Pick 2 or 3.

This image of the “ideal life” is highly unrealistic and extremely damaging to those of us who fall short of this image.

And it’s not just women who deal with an unrealistic body image. Men deal with the image of “6-pack, bulging biceps, rippling pectorals” to be desirable. My husband has dealt with poor body image for years – decades! – because he didn’t fit that image. He has the opposite problem, though. He’s tall and very slender and has a hard time gaining weight and specifically muscle. He’s finally realized that adding 20-30 lbs of muscle onto his 6’4″ frame is unrealistic. His workouts have changed to match his new goals.

Men deal with cellulite and stretch marks but not as frequently as women. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I post a photo of myself on IG, I always get nervous – the more skin, the more anxiety. As much as I say there’s nothing wrong with my body, I know many others don’t feel the same. Some people still believe this arbitrary construct of beauty and are belligerent and cruel when they attack someone about their body. Though it’s never happened to me, I’ve seen it time and time again happen to people I follow on social media.

And THAT’S why it’s important to post the pics! Because SO many people believe that cellulite is bad – that their body is wrong. There’s SO many things that are natural that we just need to accept and embrace. Yes, if something can be changed, by all means, try to improve it if it’s going to improve your well being but there has to come a time when you need to accept that it just won’t change. Then, for your well being, stop stressing over it!

I have a few things I dislike about my body and there’s absolutely NOTHING I can do about it. One is my knees – yeah I know. Weird! And the other is my ankles – or cankles. But I know that even when I was competing, I still disliked my knees and my cankles were still there. Yes, less, but not gone. So what am I supposed to do? Hate these random parts of my body? No, because it’s how I’m built. In fact, over the past month, I’ve been doing some research and I believe I have a mild form of lipedema which I'll be discussing with my doctor. There’s no cure for it and it’s not reversible and I know medical won’t cover treatment, but having that confirmation that I have something medically “wrong” with me would give me some closure to something that consumed my life for so long!

It's hard to navigate social media without being made to feel like shit, but it can be done! Fill your feed with motivational people who are uplifting, body positivity and inclusive. Follow clothing lines that dress your body NOW – not IF you lose those extra pounds. And hide any ads that promote weight loss or make you feel inadequate. Our uniqueness is beautiful – it’s your superpower. Embrace it.

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Kaylee Norton

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