What’s Inside

I am thin. I am thin and I’m not saying this to boast, it’s just part of my state of being. It is one tiny part of what makes up the whole person I am. Somehow, somewhere the shape of our bodies became a defining, to some THE defining, aspect of who we are.

I am thin and I am not a concieted snob who looks down on others because of how they look. It is no more fair of people to assume that I have that attitude than it would be for me to make assumptions based on someone not being as thin as I am. I usually don’t make the common assumptions about people’s eating habits and activity level based in their weight because….I am thin and I am a lazy pig. I have a fast metabolism and have always eaten large amounts of not always healthy foods. I actually like healthy foods but I also have a major sweet tooth and am more likely to order a burger than a salad when I eat out, which is all too often. I am fairly active but I’ve never stuck to an exercise routine for more than a few months. It’s really not fair because I know people who eat healthy and work out like crazy and still are not thin. They are probably healthier and more energetic than I but not always as thin. My bone structure is also petite which means a person can have the same or lower percentage of body fat than me and still not look as thin. If there were any fairness in the world I would weigh 200 lbs.

I am thin but not as thin as I once was nor as thin as many people are. Now I look pretty normal but I use to be really thin and get the standard “eat a hamburger” comments and even had a fellow college student ask me “Do people call you chicken legs?” (Seriously? Maybe when I was ten). Which brings me to….I am thin but that doesn’t mean I’m attractive or happy with my appearance. Some clichés are true, the grass does look greener on the other side. I can’t tell you how many girls with straight hair I’ve heard wish for curly hair and vise versa. I’ve known beautiful girls with “boyish” figures to obsess over Marilyn Monroe curves and lovely curvy girls to long for smaller breasts and narrower hips. Personally, although it’s far from perfect, I’m probably more confident in my body than my face. (I want it to be clear that I’m not compliment fishing or trying to make other people who may have similar aspects as the ones I hate about myself feel bad. My purpose is to show how critical most of us can be about our appearances, even someone like me who is relatively confident in how I look. And to show that skinny doesn’t automatically equal attractive and confident). My nose is huge it dominates my face. I’m one of the few women I know who doesn’t suck in my stomach for pictures but instead tries to avoid profile shots. Oh and my nose has one of those bumps on it people get when they break their nose, but I never broke mine. My ears stick out. Despite being in my thirties I still break out.  I’m seriously hairy, even after I shave you can still see the hair and I shave my legs and underarms nearly everyday. I wax my eyebrows about once a month and my upper lip every other month and pluck my chin every day, usually twice. I’ve even had some laser hair removal, I worry frequently people will notice my excess hair. People say I look young for my age but I notice the sunspots and beginnings of crow’s-feet. I probably consider my body my best feature yet I am conscious of my cellulite and the way my breasts sag after having a baby. And no, that’s not all but I need to move on otherwise I’ll just have pages of self complaints rather than a blog post. It may seem I think I’m hideous but in reality my confidence in my appearance varies grossly. One minute I can be strutting through the mall thinking I look fab and the next I’m staring at myself under ladies room fluorescent lights wondering how I could ever have imagined I looked good when I left the house.

I am thin and I am a hypocrite. I tell others that it’s what’s inside that counts and that you don’t have to he thin to be beautiful and I really do believe that. Still, I fear that I will become the F-A-T word that I wouldn’t call anyone else. I was concerned when I stepped on the scale the other day and saw that I weigh more than I ever have (well without a baby growing in me of course), not concerned enough to lay off the brownies though. It’s not that I don’t believe inner beauty is the most important thing and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I just believe those platitudes apply to everyone save me.

Do you know what really scares me, what absolutely terrifies me? That some day my wonderfully beautiful little girl will come to me and say “mom, I’m fat” or “I’m ugly” or “my nose is too big.” I can’t stand to think my girlie who is so gorgeous, who shines so brightly may suffer these same self bashing thoughts. That despite being told repeatedly how wonderful she is inside and out and my efforts not to put my own appearance down in her presence, that she will look at herself through critical, disapproving eyes.  It brings tears to my eyes to think about it.

I wish I could conclude this post with a miracle solution that would make the deep-rooted obsession in our society with size and appearance disappear. I would like nothing better than to wave my magic wand and make everyone see their true worth. I don’t even fully understand it. How our country can have such a problem with obesity and also such a problem with skinny obsession and with eating disorders. From one hand we’re being sold grotesquely unhealthy chemical laced food and from the other diet pills and exercise videos. Consumerism manipulates us at every turn but it’s deeper than that too. I’m a reasonably intelligent, educated woman, I took gender studies in college. I know when I see that perfect looking girl on the cover of a magazine that she’s wearing an unholy amount of makeup and has been physically altered as much as is feasible then digitally altered as well. (And I don’t just mean airbrushing they shorten noses and chins etc. Apparently super models and movie stars just aren’t pretty enough on their own). I know that model, who is probably a very attractive woman to start and probably starves herself to be so thin, looks nothing like the picture on the magazine in real life. I know all that and still think “If only I could look like that, be that beautiful.”

I don’t have a perfect solution but maybe I have a place we can start, a way to contribute to all those who are striving to create social change on these issues. We can be aware that we are meant to look unique, we are not cookie cutter people and different people find different shapes, sizes and facial features attractive in others. We can all work to convince ourselves that our worth as human beings is not dependent on our outside appearance, convince ourselves enough to really believe the truth of it. I am thin and I am beautiful but my beauty does not come from being thin. It comes from the sincerity and sometimes sarcasm in my eyes. My genuine if a little crooked smile. My ability to think for myself and form my own strong opinions. My silly sense of humor. My complex and unique personality and yes, appearance that makes me…me. You don’t need these things to be beautiful because you have your own unique beauty and yes, I’m talking to YOU, whoever you are I think you’re beautiful and you are more than your BMI or the length if your nose. So lets stop just spouting platitudes about inner beauty and start really, truly believing them about ourselves.

What makes you uniquely beautiful? Pleas tell me in the comments section, really I want to know.