I’ve read several places that 8 out of 10 women and 6 of 10 men are unhappy with their bodies. Virginia over at Beauty Schooled clued me in to a Glamour Magazine study which found that 71% of women “feel fat” (and presumably aren’t happy about that…)
It made me think – what would the bodies of those 80%, 60%, and 71% say if they could speak for themselves?
If I were my body when I used to feel like this, I think I would have said:
“You’re complaining about my size and shape? Are you freaking kidding me with this? Do you have any idea how hard I work for you? Breathing, blinking, cell division – millions of things every day that you don’t even ask me to do. And don’t even get me started on the things that you DO ask me to do. Could you at least say thanks and go a day without complaining to someone that we have man hands…”
But our bodies never say that. They just keep doing stuff for us. Perhaps not to the level that we would like all the time, but you have your body to thank for being able to read or listen to this and I have mine to thank for typing it.
Go with me on this for a minute: Imagine that your very best friend gets seriously injured and needs someone to completely take care of them: wheel them around, feed them, type for them etc., while constantly squeezing a bag to make them breathe, and performing chest compressions every couple of seconds to keep their heart going. Now imagine that while you are doing all of this, your friend incessantly tells you that your nose is weird, your hair is too frizzy, the shape of your thighs is wrong, your stomach is too big, your upper arms are too loose, and your toes are ugly. Constantly. Imagine that it’s been a week that you’ve been pushing them everywhere they want to go, feeding them, taking them to the restroom, breathing for them and doing chest compressions and all they do is point out what your “aesthetic flaws”. How long until you just want to scream at them? How long until you start thinking about not squeezing that bag anymore?
Since we are in charge of how we feel about our bodies, I’m thinking maybe we should take a minute to focus on all the completely awesome things about them, and thank them for all of the hundreds of millions of things they’ve done for us in our lifetimes. No matter what health goals you have, or what you want to do in life, I’ll bet it will be much easier if you you are your body are a team. What do you say?
13 thoughts on “If Our Bodies Could Talk”
Isn’t it funny how easily we forget how much our bodies are constantly doing, even when we’re doing nothing? All kinds of incredible, amazing stuff is going on in here! Remembering that we have bodies and are actually a part of them takes us a long way into accepting and loving them. I particularly like your illustration – great image there.
Thanks Ellie. I totally agree – it’s so easy to take our bodies for granted because they do so much stuff and hardly ever complain.
Thanks Melissa 🙂
Fantastic! What a great reminder of how hard our bodies work for us and the little thanks with give them. I never knew the power and strength of my body until I was pregnant and gave birth. While I’m not crazy about my body, I realize it’s a temple of strength, stamina and endurance and made life and nourishment possible for my daughter. Definitely worth celebrating, not deriding.
“Temple of strength, stamina and endurance.” Love it!!!!!
Awesome post I think more people need to not take their bodies for granted and listen to them. Our bodies are amazing not only do they do so many things for us but they allow us to adapt to many many different situations without a blink of a eye. I am thankful that I have a body where everything works just fine! Thank you body.
You are so right about the adaptations thing, I hadn’t even thought about all of that!
This + an angry blog post I read regarding Kate Hudson’s (alleged) breast implants + an article about the “Marilyn Monroe was a 16” slogan really made me sit down and think about this whole body image thing. (Your post was the only one with any true sense of proportion, btw.)
It seems like we’re simultaneously trying to separate ourselves from and define ourselves by our bodies. We talk about perfectly functional parts with revulsion as if they weren’t actually connected to us, then we rejoice when we see them represented by someone attractive in the media, as if only then could we defend our own beauty. I couldn’t believe how upset this blogger was that Kate Hudson’s breast size had changed. She basically blamed her for her own subsequent low self-esteem. All I could think was: You’re a grown woman, not a child, and you’re demanding a role model out of this person you don’t even know, all the while claiming that you do in fact have high self-esteem in general?
I ended up writing a letter to my “unlikely future female offspring,” because I hope to god that her body image does not hinge on a set of shifting aesthetic values. Maybe if we’d just ally ourselves with our bodies instead of treating them like something foreign, we’d build better defenses and be more attentive to their needs. After all, it seems like the biggest threat to them actually comes from ourselves.
(That was longer than intended; sorry. 😉 )
I hadn’t seen the articles that you talked about but I absolutely agree with you in principal. Putting the responsibility for our self-esteem on somebody else seems pretty unlikely to be helpful. I absolutely love the idea of writing a letter to your unlikely future off-spring. Thanks for an awesome comment!
Excellent analogy! Nothing more to say!
I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, but just found this post, Since finding SA 2 years ago, I have come to accept my fat body, but this post…this made me fall in love with it. I just want to give myself a great big hug now! You.are.amazing.Ragen. (but you already knew that)
On another note, I live down the street from the AZ Ironman course. I wanted to come see you do the half -and wish you a belated Happy Birthday- but I just couldn’t drag my ass out of bed that morning. I’m looking forward to cheering you on for the full next year!