Reasons why you should feel good about your body

This post is part of the 2011 Love Your Body Day Blog Carnival, from NOW’s Love Your Body Day. They made me say that. Carnival? But they’re still really cool. Here are some reasons why you should feel good about your body:

1. It enables you to recognize yourself, and other people to recognize you. Which is really important, because there are billions of people in the world. You have stuff going on that no one else does. It’s fantastic. It’s a really good thing. In fact, I want to meet you, just to see all the ways in which we’re interestingly different and comfortingly similar.

2. It is incredibly complicated, but tends to work. And you’re alive. Which is absolutely astounding, when you take a moment to think about it.

3. Even though you can recognize yourself, you always look different. How you feel and what you do and who you’re with and what kind of mirror you’re looking in all shift and rearrange the way you appear to yourself. It’s cool. Sometimes it’s awful. Sometimes you feel like total crap. But there’s always potential for startling beauty. Or surprising awesomeness.

4. No matter what you look like, you’re hot to other people. Like, seriously hot. Except to internet trolls. Even supermodels aren’t hot to them. Once I read someone’s rant about how big Gisele Bundchen’s nose is. Which made me feel like my nose was about the size of, let’s say, the moon. But longer. My friend told me that she was feeling really ugly the other day and then someone on the street was like, “Hey, you’re beautiful!” A homeless guy on the street told me I have a gorgeous ass two nights ago. OK, not exactly the same. The point is– it’s pretty sweet that we’re all attractive. Did I really mess that point up, with the homeless guy comment? Moving on.

5. There are a lot of different options for clothes. Unlike a while ago, when women had to wear uncomfortable dresses all the time. And corsets. And the same neckline. And you had to make your own tampons. Wait. That’s a different thing. You have a lot of choices now. You can find something that looks amazing. When I’m old, I’m going to wear all these flowy, priestessy outfits. Like, in silver and green. I have it planned out.

6. You can find something about your appearance that is stunning. Even on a day when you feel gross. We’re trained to find the flaws. I feel like my brain is an evil little badger sometimes. It grabs the flaws and hangs on. No! Bad badger! I am capable of identifying positive stuff. I can practice at it. I can get good at it. I am looking in the mirror right now, because there happens to be a mirror over the desk I’m writing on. I like my lips. Right now. My lips are stunning. They are perfect. And I’m stopping at that.

7. But not stopping the list. Seven is a luckier number. There’s more to it than your body. Which I forget, in my worst moments of image based self-doubt. I can write really lovely songs, for example. I do not have to look lovely when I sing them. Just the songs are enough. But maybe I look lovely when I sing them anyway.

(an artsy photo a friend took of me a few years ago, playing and singing. I’m much better at keyboard than guitar, by the way. I don’t know why I had to tell you that. Guilty confession?)

8. Oh, I have another one! You don’t have to be perfect!! Perfection is stupid. It’s a myth perpetuated by photoshop and fantasy. You don’t have to look any one way to look beautiful, great, stunning, wonderful, pretty, gorgeous, amazing, strong, fantastic, cute, nice, cool, or any other good thing. Often, you just have to look like you.

*  *  *

Unroast: I already mentioned my lips, but I also really like the way I look in a tight little snow hat.

 

21 Comments »

Kate on October 19th 2011 in beauty, body

21 Responses to “Reasons why you should feel good about your body”

  1. San D responded on 19 Oct 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    I am amazed at my “senses”. Every morning when I take my walk my senses are bombarded with wonderment. The air smells crisp and sometimes I smell pancakes. I hear birds, rustling leaves, people talking on cell phones on their porches. I taste the fall as my breath exhales and produces a slight vapor from the cold morning, and as I go through my morning gathering of colorful leaves, my hands run over moss, mushrooms and chestnuts. While we spend a lot of time discussing the “body”, don’t forget that our experience with our body is enhanced by being in tune with your senses.

  2. Kate responded on 19 Oct 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    Good point.

  3. ckay responded on 19 Oct 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Every time I feel crappy about my body, I remind myself of all the amazing things I can DO with it. What it’s capable of doing.

    Enjoying delicious food.
    Having fun and sweaty and awesome and exciting sex.
    Jumping on the bed.
    Skipping down the sidewalk.
    Dancing! Not even well, just dancing.
    Kicking soccer balls.
    Running up stairs.
    Sports in general.

    It reminds me that I’m lucky to be an able-bodied individual, that I’m lucky to have a body that works, that gets me easily from point A to point B, that lets me experience pleasure, that helps me interact with the world around me.

  4. Kate responded on 19 Oct 2011 at 6:38 pm #

    Yay! I love your list. ME TOO. Except for 6 and 8. I love ice skating, though. With hockey skates, so I can go really fast.

  5. Tabs responded on 19 Oct 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    The tampon comment made me laugh out loud. I’m going to roll with that laugh making me beautiful. :)

  6. Amanda responded on 20 Oct 2011 at 12:09 am #

    I really, really, really x infinity needed this post today. Seriously, I’m crying because it touched my heart.

    Thank you.

  7. Reckless Housewife responded on 20 Oct 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    Kate, you are so wise for such a young woman. And you really must continue on with the tampon making tangent on another day. :)

  8. Kira responded on 21 Oct 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    This is excellent! Bookmarked for days I feel horrible. :) Thank you so much for being amazing! <3

  9. Kate responded on 21 Oct 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    @Reckless Housewife
    Thank you! I’m not sure I believe you, but thank you :-)

    And for more of my writing on tampons (if not tampon making), read this: http://www.eatthedamncake.com/2011/02/01/my-tampons-are-going-extinct/

    I’m amazed I even have that link to pull up. There’s clearly something wrong with me. Should I really be thinking about tampons this much?

    :-)

  10. Madison responded on 22 Oct 2011 at 12:33 am #

    the homeless guy part didn’t ruin it! a homeless guy asked me today: ‘how you doing today pretty lady?’ and while my instinct was to be creeped out, I also realized that he had just as much basis in thinking I’m pretty or not than anyone. so, all in all, it made me smile.

  11. Maggie responded on 22 Oct 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Hi Kate,

    I just wanted to write you (in the comments because I searched in vain for an email address :) ) and tell you that I’ve been reading your blog lately and it is both uplifting and encouraging.

    I’m a freshman girl, but I’m a bit young for the grade, so I’m not actually fourteen yet. It even feels awful to write, but the obsession with thinness and appearance has so deeply permeated my being, and I am still so young.

    I feel especially inclined to be angered by this, because I have wonderful parents who have never placed any focus on appearance. My father is a philosopher/lawyer, and didn’t know the difference between a dress and a skirt until a few years ago. As I grew up he reminded me constantly “Handsome is as Handsome does.”
    My mother is a yoga instructor (haha..you are definitely hot enough for it!) and she is health-oriented, not skinny-oriented. I asked my father a few months ago “Would you describe me as thin?” He replied “No, of course not.”
    I huffed as hormonal teenage girls are prone to do as my mother rolled her eyes. “What?! That’s just not the sort of thing I would describe you as if somebody asked me. When I think of you I don’t think of your thinness! I would mention your interests.”

    I attended the best school ever from third to eighth grade. I don’t know how much NYC-ers get to hear about Cambridge, MA, but I went to an excellent hippie sanctuary of a school. And hippie-sanctuary for Cambridge means very hippie. Because Cambridge is full of hippies. And also hipsters, actually. ;) Needless to say, little emphasis was placed on weight or appearance there…teachers walked around in flowing hemp dresses, bra-less. Or not. But either way, nobody cared.

    And yet, although I am at a healthy weight, I feel so uneasy about my appearance. I think starting high school makes a difference. The other day, my history teacher cancelled class and bought us doughnuts instead. Instead of laughing, and appreciating the morning, I had to endure three other girls’ conversation; “Omg! (an acronym spoken, unfortunately, in real life) I’m going to gain X pounds.” “Well, I’m Y pounds right now. My doctor said it’s all muscle, though.” “I’m a size N for pants.”

    One of my best friends is a 28 year old woman, and she texted me saying the key is to remember how ridiculous they sound, and to try to ignore it.

    A few weeks ago, I went a little crazy and cut way back on any food intake. I’m in a running group three times a week, and also jog on my own (this makes me sound much fitter than I actually am..haha!) It was intentional. I wanted to lose weight, and fast. I lost eight pounds in eight days. I’ve gained some of it back now, and I feel so much better. I got very ill with just a cold, and got a strict talking to from my doctor about building my immune system up. And it disgusts me that I starved myself. It disgusts me, because I like to imagine that I’m immune to these images of the media, of the girls around me…but I’m not. Nobody is. And I’m disappointed that I’ve gained that weight back.
    It distresses me that I should place so much on one number. It is silly, and it is not smart. It is stupid. And yet, I can’t seem to help it.

    I don’t really know what the point of this comment is, other than to say I really enjoy your pieces, and that they’re helpful. I don’t know if you have any ideas for enduring the high school girl chatter about this stuff (I know you were unschooled for those years), but if you do I would certainly appreciate it ;) .

    I don’t know why all of this can permeate so many women’s minds so deeply, but it’s messed up.

  12. Sooz responded on 24 Oct 2011 at 8:26 am #

    Kate: You are soooo funny. tampons, homeless dudes…you crack me up. I always feel better after reading your posts. :)

  13. Kate responded on 24 Oct 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    @Maggie
    First of all, you can write to me anytime at kate@eatthedamncake.com. That address should be up on the blog, but I’ll double check to make sure it hasn’t done something weird like disappearing.

    Second of all, I think I know what you’re talking about. Or at least, reading this made me think about how frustrated with myself I sometimes get, because I think I am precisely the kind of woman who should feel fine about herself. Who should not be effected by this stuff. Who should be, like you said, immune.

    Sometimes, I don’t even know where the insecurity comes from. I also grew up in a really supportive environment. So I feel wimpy when I feel unattractive. And I feel guilty when I randomly stop eating carbs for three days before I submit, as usual, to the deliciousness of them.

    But it’s OK. And it’s understandable. People are really, really sensitive. Maybe you’re even more sensitive, for having been raised in an environment that gave you room to be yourself, and allowed you to be safe, which allowed you to be vulnerable. I don’t know. Sometimes it can be like that. And being sensitive is a good thing.

    And feeling bad about your weight, unfortunately, is a normal reaction to all of the subtle, constant observations society makes about women’s weight.

    So don’t make it worse by beating yourself up about it. Acknowledge that it’s obnoxious that there’s a misinformed disembodied voice out there in the world and in your head, telling you what you should look like. And then look in the mirror and remind yourself that you rock. Because you obviously do.

  14. Eat the Damn Cake » no one is too smart to worry about beauty responded on 25 Oct 2011 at 11:19 am #

    [...] reader named Maggie left a great comment on one of these posts the other day. She was talking about how feeling bad about the way she looks is confusing, because [...]

  15. Mara responded on 22 Nov 2011 at 11:45 am #

    This is a really great post, and i love the name of your blog. You have a great sense of humor and you make some really fantastic points. Thank you for existing!

  16. Kate responded on 22 Nov 2011 at 11:47 am #

    @Mara
    Thank you! And I’m pretty happy about existing.

  17. Staci responded on 10 Dec 2011 at 10:14 am #

    You have changed my morning with this entry.
    I just stumbled upon this site taking a moment to sit and drink my water, fourth out of eight daily glasses I need to stay far away from feeling faint, and I was my usual self before this. I have Body Dysmorphic Disorder, or Body Dysmorphia, it affects me almost every moment of the day and night in some way or another. I’m trying to work on it, but I’m quite stubborn, and just can’t see what others tell me they see upon gazing along my appearance.
    This entry is beautiful. This entry is stunning. This entry is necessary. This entry is the best entry on a blog I have read word-for-word (so far).
    I had to shed a tear (okay, maybe two or three more), it gave my throat that little pain you get when you want to cry, when it feels it is tightening up and you just wanna fight the sensation to the muddy ground. I never thank my body for being able to do everything it is capable of doing. I love to dance. I love to run. I love to laugh, and twirl, and jump around, and flail my arms, and hug someone, and swim, and cuddle with my mom, and smile, smile so big and great. I love to breathe, live, and exist.
    This entry has given me a new way to look at the day this moment, and even though I won’t be over my bdd for many years to come (til I look the way in my mind I need to look), I will remember what I just read from here. I will tell myself when bad thoughts come to quiet down, and just look around yourself; you can actually SEE the world. Not everyone is given this opportunity. I can SEE. I can HEAR. I can FEEL. I can SMELL. I can TASTE. I can MOVE.
    I can live.
    Thank you, Kate.

  18. Steph responded on 03 Feb 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    I’m in my final year of my undergraduate fine arts degree. My “thesis” is essentially a series of images aimed at bringing out the beauty in everyone, no matter what their body type, in hopes of causing them and viewers to feel better about their bodies, to know that they are not alone in how they feel about themselves, and to promote a healthier body images. I stumbled across this blog in my research for more substance to go with my images (they’re falling a little flat on their own) and I found this blog really helpful, as well as the comments by Maggie. If she reads this, I’d love for her to contact me through http://www.stephanieanneallen.weebly.com because she is exactly the type of person my work is aiming to reach, she is the girl that I was at 13.
    Thank you for this blog.

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