There, I came up with a much better name for the poorly titled blog post: mirror, mirror; touch my body; move it. I wouldn’t say it’s up there with Eat. Pray. Love, but I’m making small gains.
Today’s topic is all about healthy vanity and getting off the couch. Here’s a little back story. When I was 14 months old I was adopted from Haiti by a white family from a very white area. I think there may have been one other black girl, so from day one my parents have always doted over me. I admit that I was a damn cute baby—diaper ad baby cute—and adorable young one, so I’m sure my parents and peoples’ kind words weren’t lies, but I think being the only black girl encouraged them to make sure I knew I was beautiful, as I had no one else to really look up too. That being said, it was probably the catalyst to my vanity. I adored looking in mirrors when I was younger, and it is habit that I’ve carried into adult hood (it has slowed down the past few years.) But I believe it is something we should all do more of!
Typically, when we have body issues we avoid looking at ourselves and wear baggy shirts and pants to cover our insecurities. Ladies and gents, I encourage you to take off your clothes—even your skivvies—and look at yourself naked. Get to know your body: the places you dip, curve, bulge, pucker, or are bony. I guarantee you’ll find parts, possibly quirky ones, you absolutely adore. It’s kind of clichéd, but I think being naked is one of the most fabulous things, and if you’re lucky enough to be rooming with a boyfriend/girlfriend, or have a single dorm room, then take advantage of it! On the flip side, you’ll also find places you don’t like, but you may make peace with them. I have 2 examples. For one I hated my breasts. Since age 7 I used to pray for boobs and one year it was as if the god (and you know how I love my various gods) of titties came down and was all “allakabam!” By high school I was a solid D; bathing suit shopping was– and still is– a nightmare. And for many big breasted women, you can probably agree with me that most big breasts are not like silicon enhanced ones. I’m not super saggy, but I wouldn’t say any porn agency would be casting me for “Huge, Perfect Melons 4—Grocery Adventures” But guess what: the more I started forcing myself to look at them the more I accepted their shape and realized they were fine. The same thing happened with this cellulite dimple I had. I used to hate it, but I realized that no matter how healthy I am it’ll always be there chilling on my left thigh, and I kind of like it.
Step two. Make like a body builder and touch your body. Flex your arm muscles, wimpy or bulbous, and see how they feel. Squeeze your calves. Feel your cheekies. Rub your tummy—trust me, it ain’t my favorite spot either, but looking and it and touching it has made me realize what diet and exercise habits change it negatively and positively. We’re tactile creatures, right?
Step three. Move your body. I’m talking about getting up and dancing. Try out different activities and figure out what ones work the best for your body type. Running is out of the question for me. I feel like a wheezing oaf and my knees constantly ache, but dancing and yoga class feel natural. So what if you have two left feet—experiment with swimming; have you ever heard of someone tripping while swimming? I personally think everyone should try hula hooping. You’ll certainly learn how to move that body and get a surprising cardio workout! Check out Sharna Rose, a hoop celebrity. She’s kinda amazing.
Learn to love the little (or big) things about yourself. I get that we all go through small phases of hating our body, but try not to let it affect you for a long time. Are you upset because you’ve gained a few pounds? If you know your body well (and can be honest with your habits) maybe you are meant to put on a bit of weight. But if you know you have been slacking on your care then turn that discouragement into fuel to eat better or workout a little harder. There is definitely a sense of pride in understanding your body. It’s the one thing we are stuck with for the rest of our lives, so I think we should owe it to ourselves to rise above hating it.