consider my body

consider my body
image by dall.e 2

All I know about human bodies, I know from my own. I know hair can be coily, ears can be lobeless, chins can be multiple, stomachs can be full, waists can have stretch marks, thighs can have cellulite, feet can be cracked, and skin can be darker than walnut wood. I suppose, having lived for over twenty years, I know enough to trust that the girl in the mirror is normal. Beautiful. I suppose, as a woman of sound judgment – some may disagree –, I can decide for myself what is desirable, and therefore should be amplified, and what is not, and consequently, should be changed. I don’t trust whether others possess this ability. No, don’t get me wrong – for their bodies, they might, but certainly not for mine. I’m talking here only about aesthetics, nothing to do with specialties such as medicine and kinesiology. Here, I deal only with the people who deem themselves wise enough, as a matter of fact, audacious enough, to resolve for an entire gender, what is beautiful and what is not.

They say that the BBL hype has begun to die down. What does that have to do with me? I have always had a big bum since my body opted to develop secondary sexual characteristics after the women in my clan; that, and a wide chest. A few days ago, after I had listened to a podcast detailing the new body “in style” – the slim-thick-clean-girl aesthetic, I said to myself, “So, what happens if I’m thick-thick and I don’t like slicking back my hair, wearing minimal make-up, and neutral colors?”. The question was, of course, rhetorical as I do know what happens, you become part of the “others”. There are ideal women, the Bella Hadids and Hailey Beibers of the world, and then there are the rest. Women whose names do not appear in essays about feminine beauty, even if it’s to criticize our current dealings with the topic. The topic is, of course, one of our current world’s favorites. It hides behind news headlines detailing what new body sculpting tool has been invented, which exercise is guaranteed to give you abs in two minutes, what protein powder will give you quick gains, what oil will melt your belly fat away in a day (they no longer make teas, we caught on), what tiny sucker whitens your teeth the fastest, and even what skin appearance is trending the most.

They call it the glazed donut look. First of all, I like my donuts with sprinkles. More importantly though, other than the fact that moisturizing one’s skin is a habit worth adopting, what implications does this have on those of us whose skin textures occasionally like to feature epidermal Himalayas? I’m speaking here of inclusion and against a collective definition of what beautiful skin looks like. Yes yes yes, the beauty of their glowy skins does not signify the absence of mine (or so I’ve been told). Nevertheless, it is not my kind of glaze-less skin that will be featured on magazine covers. Nor is it my full cheeks that remain stiff and plump despite the caresses from endless gua sha swipes. It is because those magazines won’t sell (or so I’ve been told). I, for one, want to see some change. For two, I think it is a great disservice to the world that we only feature a select few looks and present them as “models”. After whom exactly are we deriving this extremely narrow set of features? My guess is that it is from the exceptions and not the norm. Look around you. There are nearly four billion women in the world, we cannot all look like Marilyn Monroe had a baby with Dunkin Donut’s fourth-most popular delicacy. A goody that I can’t even enjoy when dealing with breakup blues because there is no time for self-pity – gotta lose that ‘relationship weight!

They asked her for tips on toning up. It was obvious to all of us that Lori Harvey looks much more sculpted after her breakup with the world’s “sexiest man alive”. She told them what worked for her body, then they served her a plate of criticism because, according to them, 1200 calories is too little for her. For her abs, she said that pilates changed her life. Jesus changed mine, but hey, aren’t we all different? First of all, I starve when I eat below 2000 calories. I like cardio, I wouldn’t even know what Pilates is if you showed it to me. Some swear by weight-lifting while I almost fainted trying to do a squat in the gym. Others say that kale is the veggie to indulge in when cutting on calories. I think kale tastes like horse feet (I have never tasted them but if I did, I am certain they would taste like kale) and broccoli is the way to go. I do not wake up at 4 am to go to the gym like “That Girl” (don’t even get me started), but rather I procrastinate on it until later in the day when I have the energy to pretend that I like running on a treadmill. I can also pose as a biker and a skier. I have gotten so good at it that I can spot my people – those of us who, given the choice, would rather never step into a room filled with steel and plastic assembled to remind us that we will never be fit enough.

Some may think that this is the kind of essay that only ugly women write. I laugh at the thought of that. I didn’t write this piece to complain about my unconventional beauty, no. I wrote it to remind myself (you can jump on the wagon if you will) that the only places in which my beauty is eccentric are outside myself. They are beyond the scope of the eyes that I trust the most. Far from the gut whose intuition has never led me astray. External to the only beholder whose judgment of beauty I can fully endorse. As for me, I behold myself every morning, I behold myself every night, and each time, I see that I am even more beautiful than I was before. This, is the kind of attitude that helps you stay level-headed when they try to wrongly convince you that true beauty comes with conformity.

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