Posts in category Self-esteem

An Open Letter to My Body on the First Day of Spring

NOTE: This is a guest post – a Beauty Is Inside first! Thank you to Brooke Scheinberg for writing this powerful letter just in time for Spring. 

 

SpringFlowers

 

Body, it’s me. Can we talk? It’s March 20th and spring has finally arrived. As spring fills the air, there are some things we can always count on– flowers will bloom, birds will gleefully chirp, temperatures will rise, and the media will unleash its seasonal campaign begging me, pressuring me, DEMANDING me to declare war against you.

 

Magazines and commercials will be asking us if we’re “beach body ready.” They’ll say it’s time to “melt away those love handles” and “get rid of those extra pounds.” Body, last time I checked, we have fat covering our bones, and extra cushioning around our tummy and hips– never has this fat posed a threat to us or to anyone else for that matter, so why must it be so urgently destroyed? Why should we have to make ourselves smaller and smaller to satisfy an ideal of beauty that we never agreed to in the first place?

 

Advertisers will try to sell us products that will “eliminate unsightly stretch marks.” Body, last time I checked, we have stretch marks–winding, twisting, squiggly pale marks on our thighs, hips, breasts, butt, you get the picture! Despite what the media tells us, you and I know that these stretch marks signify our growth– from a little girl into a woman. These stretch marks formed because I nourished you, fed you, allowed you to develop fully over the years. Why should we feel compelled to erase the very marks that make us human? Magazines incessantly mock celebrities who have cellulite. Body, last time I checked, we have cellulite. The generations of women before us had cellulite too– it’s in our genes. My thighs have ripples and dimples, just like my mother’s thighs, and my grandmother’s thighs, and my great-grandmother’s thighs. When I look at our legs, the cellulite isn’t what strikes me. What strikes me is how our legs supported us and allowed us to stand tall throughout life’s most difficult challenges. Our legs, they did not buckle in times of hardship, heartbreak, and grief, no– our legs kept us moving through life when it seemed impossible. Though we may receive ongoing harassment about the cellulite on our legs, our legs will continue to stand tall and stand up to unrealistic standards of beauty over and over again.

 

We see commercials for laser hair removal, waxing, and shaving products. Body, this is no secret– we have hair. On our arms, on our legs, on our face, etc. Remember those boys who made fun of us in middle school for having hair on our bodies? Oh, the shame and insecurities we felt back then. Our dark hair carries our history and our heritage– that is nothing to be ashamed of. Those boys, I hope they’ve matured over the years. I hope they don’t humiliate their mothers, their sisters, and their daughters who grow hair on their faces and bodies. I hope they have learned to love and accept women as human beings and NOT Barbie dolls.

 

Body, the internet keeps telling us we need to “cleanse and detox.” If there is one thing we need to cleanse and detox, I think it is our mind. We need a 24-7 detox from the poisonous messages that have been bombarding us since we were young. Perhaps the weight we’ve needed to lose all along is the weight of society’s judgments surrounding our bodies and our worth.

 

Body, I want to thank you for never giving up on me. You’ve been there for me when I was not always kind to you. You don’t hold a grudge for all those years I hated you, starved you, overworked you, and treated you poorly. You’ve loved me unconditionally from the second we met, and it’s about time I returned that love. I want to cherish every moment we spend together– basking in our imperfection, existing exactly as we are, and making no apologies. Happy Spring!

 

About the Author: 

Brooke Scheinberg is a licensed social worker currently providing clinical therapy services at a substance abuse clinic in New Haven, CT. A graduate of the University of Maryland School of Social Work, Brooke was inspired to become a social worker after seeking treatment for an eating disorder and discovering that recovery is a reality. Using her personal and professional experience, she hopes to help and inspire others on their journey to self-love.

In 2090 …

I’ve recently seen this meme circulating around social media, so I decided to fix it. Having lost my beloved grandmother this past year, it gives me even more perspective. If I found a photo of her like the one on the right, I would be thinking, “Alright! You go, Grandma!” I would be excited to see the family resemblance, how we share a similar body shape or bone structure. I would be feeling connected to her and wondering what she was like as a younger woman. I certainly wouldn’t be objectifying her or judging her attempt at trying to feel attractive. I wouldn’t be ashamed or embarrassed of her like this meme is implying a grandchild should feel.

 

It makes me sad that the ones I’ve seen sharing this meme are other women. Come on, ladies. We can do better than this. There’s enough misogyny in the world. We don’t need to participate in it ourselves. :(

 

Something else to consider for those who take issue with the photo on the right: in a society in which women are routinely objectified and treated as if our bodies are our most valuable attribute, is it any surprise that some of us might internalize that to a degree and just want to feel like we’re one of the beautiful ones too?

 

2090

Annie Lennox

AnnieLennox

Lauren Bacall

Sadly, we lost another movie icon today. RIP Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)


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Sharon Stone

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You Don’t Have to Be Pretty

Pretty

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014)

This phenomenal woman truly showed that when beauty is inside, it shines outside too.

Maya

 

(Quote from Huffington Post)

Maya Angelou

Butterfly

Helen Mirren

HelenMirren

My Fellow Women

FixedIt

I Will Define Myself

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Sarah Silverman on Women & Aging

After the recent Comedy Central roast of actor James Franco, Sarah Silverman admitted to having her self-esteem take a hit as the roast devolved into jokes about her “advanced” age. She discusses her reaction during an interview on W. Kamau Bell’s Totally Biased.

“Me being old, first of all, at the roast? — completely took me by surprise … Because it’s personal, that is just so woman-based. I wasn’t even the oldest one on that dais. I’m the same age as fresh-faced new star W. Kamau Bell! I feel like it’s a part of, as soon as a woman gets to an age where she has opinions and she’s vital and she’s strong, she’s systematically shamed into hiding under a rock. And this is by progressive pop-culture people! You know what I mean? It’s really odd! I feel bad that it cut me. Because I should be like this about it (brushing her hand off her shoulder). I feel like your joke is that I’m still alive. My crime is not dying.


And I feel like, I just did this special and it made me think of something I said, which was — to so many women, especially when I watch Real Housewives — (muffled, through gritted teeth) which I watch, I wish I didn’t, but I do — I just want to say, ‘Your heartbreaking attempts to look younger is the reason your daughter doesn’t dream about her future!'”


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Watch the interview here:


Diana Nyad

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Janelle Monáe

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The Mirror

Reddit

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a renowned Nigerian novelist. She gave a powerful presentation at TEDxEuston entitled “We Should All Be Feminists”. This is an excerpt from her speech:

Chimamanda

Watch the full presentation here:

 

Anne Hathaway

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Gloria Steinem on Eating Disorders

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Margaret Cho on Body Image

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Marion Bartoli

No matter how accomplished or how talented a woman is, her appearance is always treated as relevant. Here’s one example. BBC tennis commentator, John Inverdale, had this to say about France’s Marion Bartoli who just won Wimbledon’s women’s singles title:

I just wonder if her dad, because he has obviously been the most influential person in her life, did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14 maybe, ‘listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker. You are never going to be somebody like a [Maria] Sharapova, you’re never going to be 5ft 11, you’re never going to be somebody with long legs, so you have to compensate for that.”

 

Bartoli took this powerful swing in response:

Tennis_MarionBartoli

A Woman’s Declaration of Independence

IndependenceFlag.jpg

 

It’s time to declare independence, to separate ourselves from the bad habits, the stifling expectations, and the negative messages that no longer serve us (assuming they ever did).

 

It’s time to declare independence from media messages that tell us we’re ugly if we don’t look like the “flawless” images of celebrities on the screen and in the magazines. It’s time to stop buying into the manipulation and stop wasting time trying to chase an illusion that doesn’t even exist.

 

It’s time to declare independence from the belief that having the perfect body will make us worthy of love and respect. We’re already worthy of love and respect in the bodies we have now — no amount of weight loss or plastic surgery will increase our value.

 

It’s time to declare independence from dieting, from deprivation, from seeing food as the enemy. The American weight loss industry makes nearly $60 billion a year trying to convince us that we’re not good enough — if diets worked, would these companies be this profitable? It’s time to stop contributing to their false sense of hope.

 

It’s time to declare independence from body loathing, from looking at our bodies with disgust instead of love. It’s time to appreciate all of the amazing things they do for us — the jiggly arms that give great hugs, the flabby thighs that carry us through the park, the droopy breasts that fed a child, the wounded heart that still knows how to love, the exhausted brain that still manages to tell our lungs to breathe.

 

It’s time to declare independence from the oppressive labels of virgin or whore, straight or gay, feminine or masculine, and all the shades in between. Our number of sex partners do not define us. Our sexuality does not define us. Our gender identity does not define us. These traits can’t possibly define what kind of person we are or what’s in our hearts or our minds. Any attempt by others to claim otherwise is an attempt to control us, to police our behavior, and to shame us so that they don’t have to examine their own ignorance and fear.

 

It’s time to declare independence from the belief that women can bring sexual assault upon ourselves based on how provocatively we’re dressed, how flirty we act, or how drunk we get. The only ones responsible for rapists’ behavior are rapists themselves. We have the right not to be blamed when others hurt us, and we have the right to feel safe in the world.

 

It’s time to declare independence from legislators who think the female body should be controlled by wealthy, middle-aged, white,  Christian, conservative men. Our bodies belong to us — it’s time to declare our freedom to make our own decisions about them. Because if we cannot, then we are truly not equal citizens and this country is not as free it claims to be.

 

It’s time to declare independence from spending so much time, energy, and money trying to fit into someone else’s idea of who they think we should be. It’s time to put ourselves first, to focus on our own desires and do what we think is right. It’s time to trust our own instincts and make ourselves proud.

 

It’s time to declare independence from shame, from the belief that we’re not good enough, not beautiful enough, not thin enough, not smart enough, not clever enough, not sexy enough, not pure enough, not feminine enough, not worthy enough. It’s time to declare that we are already enough — that we are perfectly imperfect exactly as we are.

 

It’s time to declare our independence from any force that tries to hold us down — including those forces that limit us from within.

Anne Frank

 

Anne Frank would’ve been 84 years old today. She was truly a beautiful person, inside & out.

 

AnneFrank

Louisa May Alcott

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Tori Amos

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Lena Dunham

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Barbie Makeup Removal

Artist uses Photoshop to remove Barbie’s & Bratz dolls’ makeup:
“Dolls heavily influence the way that young girls want to look. And so, in my opinion, less is more. I hope that my work inspires toy companies to give dolls a more natural look. If the dolls look good without makeup, what’s the point of putting makeup on them in the first place?”

 

BarbieMakeup

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See more at Bust Magazine.

 

You Don’t Have To Be Pretty

YouDon'tOwePrettyToAnyoneRead the full article here: A Dress A Day

Voltaire on Virginity

The Velveteen Rabbit

Portia de Rossi on Body Image

Sarah Silverman

Erykah Badu

Roseanne

Julianne Moore

Anais Nin

Jennifer Lawrence

Emma Stone

Health of Strangers

You Are not too Fat or too Skinny

We must Teach Our Girls

Slut, Defined

Your Opinion

Lao Tzu

Amy Poehler

Mila Kunis

Overthinking

 

If you’re an overthinker, here are a few things that can help:

1) Meditation — Take a few minutes every day to practice clearing the mind. Over time, it helps, but in the meantime …


2) Triggers — Figure out what triggers you to overthink: Is it a need to control things? Is it co-dependency & feeling like you’re supposed to take care of everyone? Is it a critical inner voice that starts telling you how you screwed up or how you’re not good enough?


3) Pay attention! — Try to catch yourself when you start ruminating, before you start going into that  downward spiral. Notice what triggers those thoughts (that’s where meditation helps).


4) Stop yourself from going there! — Find a distraction, call a supportive friend, take a bath, watch a movie – anything that stops the auto-pilot & redirects you to go down a better path.


Pink


From the song “Perfect,” written & performed by Pink.

You Deserve

Advertising Sells

Acceptance

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