Sunday, January 20, 2008

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Did you know that only 2% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful and that only 13% are very satisfied with the weight and shape of their bodies? Those are very alarming statistics! But whoever determined what beautiful is? If you expand on that, whoever determined what perfection is?

I will be the first to admit that I was never satisfied with my body. In elementary school, I developed so early that I tried to hide the fact that my breasts were growing. Then in junior high, I thought I had huge feet and large thighs. By the time I reached high school, I was anorexic, weighing no more than 110 pounds and wearing a size two. Being thin brought with it popularity though.

After I was diagnosed with Fibro in late 1996, I put on a few pounds. That was 'okay'. Plus, I was married by then ;o) But it was after my breast cancer in 2000 that the weight really piled on. That became my worst time. I literally 'hated' my body and what I looked like. Do you know what's ironic? I spent most of my years of puberty trying the hide the fact that I had breasts and then seventeen years later; I had one taken away from me.

This hatred continued for seven years. It seemed like every time I turned around my clothes went up in size. I would look into the mirror and see this familiar stranger looking back at me. Women would joke about themselves being similar to the Pillsbury Doughboy but with all my rolls of fat, I was more like the Michelin Man. LOL!

Seven years of living like this did nothing for my self esteem or confidence. I hid my body more and more. Watching these beautiful, thin actresses on television or on the front of magazines was like a stab in the heart. In the words of Stephanie Plum "I was looking out at the ducks, thinking there were times in history when fat rolls were considered sexy, and wasn't it too bad I didn't live during one of those times."

But over the past five months, that extra weight has been coming off (I believe due to a change in my medications) and now I see 'myself' in that mirror again. Now don't get me wrong, my body is not flawless! I still have some rolls, parts of me still jiggle and I still have one boob ;o) What I'm learning though is to accept the body that was given to me. I'm learning to embrace the fact that I am beautiful, in my own way. I can challenge anyone who wants to dispute this because as I stated above, who determined what beautiful is.

It's a shame to see the road that our society has taken. We've become "The bigger, the better" world as far as food and objects go but when it comes to bodies, slim and taunt is being forced upon us. How are we to fight this? We see it every day on television, magazines and flyers. Just watch a few hours of television at night and count the number of commercials that are trying to force products on us that will make us slim, prettier and more beautiful to the world.

My challenge to you is to find something about yourself that you love and work from there. We could list pages of what we don't like about our bodies but listing what we love is much harder. Learn to love what you have because you are beautiful no matter what the advertising world is trying to tell you. Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder and YOU are the beholder ;o)


Sue said...

Cathey ~ Thanks for posting this. It really hit home for me. I weigh more now than I ever have in my life. I keep telling my DH that I'm just getting softer :0). With the difficulties that this past year held for me, I quit my job and the inactivity caused my weight to increase. Of course, it's always easier to put on than take off. I don't believe in the "thinness" that is so popular and on every magazine cover. It's a horrible message to send to our kids. But I would like to lose some of the weight I put on. I'm going to take your advice though and look at what I DO love about myself. Thanks ;)

Anonymous said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I am so proud of you!


Lori said...

That's how I feel about my grey!!

True about body image... but I realize I need to shed pounds... really hard with those yummy Creme Eggs around!! Doh!

Leeland said...

That's a wonderful post, Cathey! I agree 100%. I was thin when I met DH, but put on weight with pregnancies and never lost it... I just hate myself, don't recognize myself, don't dare moving in society... I feel like an elephant.
Yet, I have the feeling that being overweight makes women less likely to reject me: to them, I am not a threat.
Ask men what they like: bones do not appeal to them, or just to put in a window...
There's not much I like about myself, except my hair. It's undisciplined and THAT is me! Lol!!!
Well, I'll come back to read the comments here.
Hugs to a thought-provoking nice interesting humorous (etc) blogger.

Alberta said...

You are so right about how critical we are of ourselves! I am guilty of this and have been for most of my life.

It wasn't until my back injury 22 years ago when I realized I'm going to have to accept myself for all its 'faults'. With limited bending range, my waist is no longer tight...but I so thankful to have pain free days. I now strive to be the best I can be, both inside and out!

Stitch Wizard said...

Wow Cathey you have really done quite will after what you have done here! I used to be thin, never put any weight on but I think after about 35, and having to start taking meds for blood pressure, I too have put on weight. I am happier now though than any time in my life though and my DH loves me just the way I am. Don't we all weight more in our 50's anyhow. I think that you and I are both lucky to be alive and need to just accept our bodies. I could easily have had a heart attack these past 3 years that I didn't know I had a blockage, thanks to the doctors in the Rio Grande Valley not telling me the truth or at least advising me to see a Cardiologist. Thank you for the really nice comments on my dragon project!!! So just stitch and be happy!! Debby :)

Rachel S-H said...

Thank you for posting this! You are so right.

Marita said...

Wonderful post! Very well said.

Stitchabilities said...

Love this post it is so true!!

Left a reply to your comment on my blog about the design name

Ranae said...

This is so true. We all gain weight after certain age or life crisis. You rarely hear of older women losing weight, lol. there's just more of us to love and we are soft,lol.

Jenn said...

Beautifuly said Cathey! {HUGS}

All your starts and finishes are beautiful. I just love Chilly's Gift. VERY Cute.

Anonymous said...

Well said, dear woman! Like others, I certainly was thinner when I met Tom ... then along came menopause. I'm still "me" regardless what the outer casing looks like & I do like who I've grown in to. ;o)
I so love reading your thoughts!!

Jocelyn said...

I agree!! It is hardest to accept ourselves. It's a lesson we all have to work to learn, I think.

Thank you for sharing this post with us.