I do not have a good relationship with my body. I'm one of those women who cry when they shop for bathing suits.
Last summer, when Liv was on vacation with her father, Bing and I spent one lovely, lazy afternoon in bed. The sun was spilling in the windows and it was not yet hot or humid, so the windows were open and a breeze was coming in just perfectly, not too hot or too cool...just perfect to lay naked while it cooled us off after some serious lovemaking.
We fell asleep in each other's arms and when I awakened a few hours later, Bing was already up and outside tending the garden. I dressed and went out to join her. She smiled up at me as my shadow stood over her.
"I was watching you sleep for a while," she said sweetly. "You looked lovely, with your skin all creamy and white on those blue sheets...I just looked and looked at you and then leaned down and kissed your shoulder and you smelled like cocoa butter. It made me wish that I could paint. I would have liked to paint you..."
This sounds idyllic, yes?
I tried not to show it, but I was horrified. She had taken a good long look at my naked body and...lingered?
I gulped. Imagined me probably drooling or making some gross snuffling noises in my sleep while my cottage cheesey thighs splayed out on the sheets. My breasts flopping into my armpits. My toes with their bunions and that one hideous hammer toe. My poochy stomach all squishy looking and droopy.
I do not like my body. I never have. Even when I was sixteen and wore bikinis regularly in the summer, I have never thought that I was pretty or had a decent body. I have one breast that is slightly larger than the other. My ass looks pocky with cellulite. My hair was never my crowning glory. It went from mouse brown to grey in short order. My teeth are yellow from all the antibiotics I took as a child. My lips are too thin, I never have had full, sensuous lips like all those models in Vogue. I have a small waist that I sort of like, but then well...there are my fattish upper arms, with just enough fat on them to swing a little.
The thought of my lover, the woman I loved, gazing down at my naked body did not make me blush with pleasure. It made me feel like cringing. I had gotten past being shy about nakedness around her. I just made sure that if I was naked, she wasn't standing around staring at me.
Now, Bing...on the other hand? She says that she likes her body and I believe her. She is not much taller than I am, but is very lean and muscled. She is a runner, a swimmer, the sort of person who works out daily and does yoga twice a week. She doesn't have an inch of excess body fat on her. What's not to like? I guess I should amend this to say that she is comfortable with her body.
I am not comfortable with mine.
I'm not sure what the key is to find that path either.
Bing has always said that she loves my body, uses words like supple, silky, and sexy when describing mine. Lots of lovely S words. I don't see it. I'm not being coy either. I honestly do not think I have a beautiful body.
So, time to do a body meme, I suppose and let my insecurities come to the surface. I got this from MCCUTCHEON over at Squishy Thoughts.
1)Should you exercise more? Hell, yes. I live with a woman who works out daily, runs every morning come rain or come shine and even does yoga twice a week. She gets very, very cranky if she misses her workout. My workout is walking the dog every morning, walking him again with Liv after school and then again after supper. That is ALL I do. I don't run unless the house is on fire or I have to go to the grocery store because we are out of oreos.
2)What concerns you most about your body? All of my illnesses. I have type one diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, meniere's syndrome, colitis and sciatica. I sometimes feel sorry for myself. This embarrasses me and makes me feel pathetic, so mostly I just pretend to everyone that I am fine all of the time, although often I simply am not.
3)Do you like your body? No.
4)Other people's bodies? I am remarkably fine with everyone else's body. I don't think that fat, skinny or disfigured people are ugly. I really am okay with everyone else's body and can always find something beautiful in someone else. It is myself that I have a problem with...
5)What part of the body is most important in the other sex? Since I am a lesbian, I don't think too much about men's bodies, but when I do, I like chisled arms. And yes, in a woman, I find the same thing very appealing.
6)If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be? I would change my metabolism back to what it used to be before I hit 30. Once I hit the age of 30, I noticed that I could no longer eat anything I wanted and not gain weight. I knew that if I ate like a pig, I would pay by turning into one. Being diabetic, I have learned to be very careful about what I eat, but I used to be able to eat SO much more. Now, I have to be very wise about what I eat. I hate that. I especially crave food at night, so I have all kinds of little tricks to keep from eating. I brush my teeth, because who wants to eat after you have used your Crest and gargled with Listerine? I force myself to drink two big glasses of water before I let myself eat after dinner. I didn't have to do that until I turned 30.
7)Something else you'd like to say? I wish that I could learn to love my imperfect body. It bothers me that I am so critical of myself. I wish that I could be the kind of person who could stretch like a cat and smile when Bing looks at me naked instead of pulling the sheets around myself a bit.
So, since I like to learn about all of you....how do you feel about your body? Do you think woman are more critical than men of their bodies? Do you think that our body perceptions begin in childhood? What can we do to help our children be more comfortable in their containers?