“Real women have curves.” You hear this from many different places. As “plus size” women do we try to over compensate by declaring ourselves better for having curves? Are we fighting against what has made us feel rejected for so long?
By saying real women have curves we are enacting the same “us, them” attitude that has gotten us into this mess in the first place.
Real women come in all shapes, sizes, sexual orientations, races, talents, likes, dislikes. In fact, I would really like to take out the word “Real” all together. It implies that the opposite is somehow fake in some way. I have many friends without curves and I’m pretty sure they are real and I’m pretty sure they are “real” women.
Am I being too serious? Can’t we joke? Yeah, I mean believe it or not I am a jokester. But, as a society we have taken appearance and telling people what is or is not good wayyyyyyy beyond where it needs to go. But this is a serious issue in society and people do end up with eating disorders as a result of societal judgements. What role could humor serve though? Could making this issue more lighthearted among friends relieve some of the tense energy around it? I would say…maybe…and know your crowd.
I joke around with my friends all of the time in fact. We joke about our bodies, and everything really. But, to make wide-spread judgements and campaigns about what a real woman is or is not isn’t too funny to me.
So don’t worry anymore, get out there. Be a woman. Do your thing. Owning your “woman-ness” has nothing to do with curves or not.
Dear A Mermaid Named (E.D.),
As you reflect on your healing journey, does any of it feel easy? Maybe some of it does. Maybe some moments of surrender and truly learning to let go feel easy. Maybe these moments were the culmination of a lot of other moments that weren’t so easy and you were just ready. But, overall I know this process has not been easy for you. When you began this journey, I don’t remember anyone saying, “this will be a breeze.” You probably also thought it would be a lot harder than it was. You are stronger than you ever knew. Is healing hard? No, I’m not sure it is not the healing in itself that is hard. For you, it has been learning how to face the fact that, “not everything is always perfect.” It has also been learning to deal with the fact that painful emotions are apart of life and that you actually can experience them and not break in half. It has also been about accepting that your loved ones are also not perfect and may also hurt your feelings sometimes. Most of all, it has been a bit challenging at times to stop avoiding and start accepting. I think it took courage to say, “I want to heal.” Today, as you look back on a few challenging days and conversations you had this weekend, what do you notice? What I notice is that you have found so many new ways of dealing with difficult emotions. I know that maybe not everything went exactly as you would have liked these past few days and maybe a few times you used food in a way you have been trying not too. But, remember Mermaid, it is about progress not perfection. What I notice is that you stopped to ask yourself why you were feeling these urges again, and that you came from a place of reflection and really took the time to understand your emotions. Way to go! What I also notice, is that this morning, you woke up in a positive mood. You woke up eager to see what the day would bring. This is such a shift, for a few small months ago, you would have woken up and beat yourself up for not begin perfect. You probably would have carried a feeling of shame and desperation throughout your day. But you didn’t. How do you feel right now? I know. You feel positive. You feel like you can make mistakes and learn from them. You feel resilient. This does not mean you were not terribly sad or lonely last night, because I know you were. I know you had some difficult emotions to process. But, Mermaid, no one said healing was easy. Beautiful, yes. Easy, no. Do you want easy? Maybe sometimes you do. And, things are getting easier, just have patience. Healing this might be the hardest thing you have ever done. However, it might also be the single most life changing, rewarding thing you have ever done as well. Is facing the pain not a challenge? Once you see it you can heal it. Well done, today. Now, read this, when things feel hard. Read this when you feel alone or sad. As the tide rises and falls so will the pain. It does get easier. It also gets brighter and the feel of the sun’s rays on your skin feel warmer. I know you would never trade these days for anything because in them you have seen your potential. You have seen the magnificent beauty of imperfection and you feel grateful.