Remember the days of P.E. where you were scared out of your wits to hit the showers because you didn’t want your perfect-bodied classmates to see your less-than-stellar attributes? Yeah, neither do I. But, I’ve seen enough episodes of The Wonder Years to understand the humiliation.
And the problem, I’ve learned, is that we never stop comparing ourselves even into adulthood.
Lately, this is my struggle. Comparing myself. I’m used to being curvy. I have been my whole life. But, lately, I’ve been pushing chunky territory. In all honesty, this is not something I’m used to. I know you’re thinking, Beka, embrace your body…extra love handles and all! Well, I just can’t. No matter how hard I try, I just feel like a big schlub.
I hate that my favorite dresses don’t fit, and that I outweigh my boyfriend by 30-pounds. I hate that I don’t feel petite, and when I walk into certain stores, I’m always paranoid that they’re wondering why I am even bothering to look…as if I’d never fit into any of the clothes sold there. (And sometimes, I can't!)
Why am I telling you this? Why am I airing my insecure, dirty laundry on the web? Quite simply, because I can for one thing. And for another, because somehow, sharing my most vulnerable moment helps me to realize how ridiculous I am being.
The other day I was at an event surrounded by college girls. And sure enough, there my brain went a-comparin’. She probably doesn’t even need to try on her clothes because everything looks wonderful on her. Or Look, her stomach doesn’t hang over her pants. And then there was the I could never wear that dress with my backrolls…and how does one counteract backrolls anyway?
I just wanted to run and hide. I felt enormous and unattractive. It didn't matter to me that I had worked my butt off in a cardio class the day before, or that I had on one hell of an amazing outfit!
So, how do I counteract my need to compare myself to other women? Well, lately, I've been trying to remind myself of a few things, that get me out of my woe-is-my-thunder thighs tailspin and into feeling a bit more body confident. And so far, these five little bits o' honey have been working just fine:
1) Some of these women are still young, and still have active metabolisms. Wait ‘til they turn 26! (OK, so maybe that isn’t so positive.) At any rate, my metabolism has slowed down, so I just need to work a bit harder than they do is all.
2) Everyone has a part of their body they don’t like. So, what if I have more than one less-than-desirable part?
3) My boyfriend still thinks I’m hot and my dog thinks I'm just perfect!
4) If the Hellenistic or Greco-Roman sculptors considered women with flabby stomachs and thicky-thick thighs to be worthy of art, than why should I feel badly?
5) I’m not chubby; I’m healthy. And if it really bothers me, then I should do something about it!
So, in short, if you're like me and you're tempted to put yourself down and to start comparing yourself to girls who, for all intents and purposes, have physical flaws too, even if they're invisible to you in your time of supersize syndrome, stop. You look great, I look great. Nobody's perfect, and it's as simple as that.