This is a tutorial I wished I could have watched when I was growing up. Although probably hosted by somebody else because I don’t know if 30yearold me would have been the most inspiring for 13yearold me to see although maybe. But I don’t know, 13yearold me was a little judgy. I still vividly remember flipping through a Delia’s catalog for the first time and seeing these tweenage models running around in bikinis and I looked at their thighs and they didn’t touch and I looked at my thighs and they did touch. And y’all even though I had never heard.
The phrase thigh gap, I didn’t really have the internet and certainly not instagram but immediately I thought something was wrong. This really tipped the scales for me in an already dangerous path toward hypercontrolled eating and fitness and overall bodyloathing. Because what I might have known at the time but didn’t want to understand was that my body is built in a particular way and my thighs are always going to touch but I thought that if I could mold my body to look like those girls in that Delia’s catalog, I would be.
More attractive, I would have more friends, I would be more popular and ultimately protected from things in the world that might hurt me. And if I could leap to such unhealthy conclusions about my body based on images in seasonal catalogs, I can only imagine how much more complicated body image has become in an era of social media and selfiecentered challenges to showcase skinniness. Case and point The recently gone viral bellybutton challenge. Started in China, the bellybutton challenge alleges that if you can wrap your arm around your back and fit your finger in your belly button, congratulations you’re acceptably.
Thin. When in reality, congratulations because you probably have an incredibly flexible arm socket and would probably do quite well in yoga. In other words a lot of these skinny challenges, tests and criteria rely on smoke and mirrors and willfully ignoring how our bodies work on an individual basis. I think a lot of us know that but chose to believe otherwise, I know I did. In choosing to believe that we should look a certain way that outlines the work that we have to do, the kind of selfcontrol that we have to exert in our daily lives in.
Order to meet up to these false standards. It gives us guidelines, it gives us boundaries, it gives us things to work with in a world that otherwise feels completely unmanageable. But the thing that I’ve learned in the past 20 years since I first really started dealing with these kinds of body issues is that the harder thing, the more challenging thing, the thing that actually takes all of that selfcontrol and determination and will power that that fake thinspiration preaches day in and day out is actually letting go and.
Learning selflove rather than selfloathing. I have personally experienced how it’s harder to treat yourself healthily inside and out than go on an hour long run in blazing heat when you really don’t want to because the thing about that run that’s different than this whole selflove thing is that there’s a beginning and an end. It’s a discreet thing that you can check off before you go to sleep at night. And I wish that I’d understood and internalized this when I was younger to save myself the time down the road of having to.