I ran into an acquaintance the other day who had recently delivered a baby. She looked phenomenal, with no remnants whatsoever of the baby weight lingering around.
“How the hell do you look like that?” I asked, not even attempting to mask my utter annoyance.
“Oh, you know,” she explained. “Since I had a baby plus a toddler, I just spend all of my time running after them so the weight fell off. Plus, I just never seem to remember to eat!”
That was not the response I wanted to hear.
I’ve seen countless celebrities singing the same tune and it always makes me crazy. I have three kids and I have never once found myself running after them. Maybe I’ll dash over if I hear a loud thud followed by silence, but certainly not often enough to break a sweat. Sure, I’m with them constantly, but my normal pace is more like a saunter. My heart rate is steady and you could never call gently pushing a kid on a swing an aerobic workout.
And, how does one forget how to eat? Like, ever? The only time I ever came remotely close to not eating three square meals plus snacks daily was when I had bad morning sickness! Babies eat regularly. Kids are constantly asking for snacks and meals and treats. Never mind, that their plates constantly need to be “cleaned/finished”. As a mother you are surrounded by food– how on earth is it forgettable?!
If you’re rocking a post-baby body and I ask how you got it, please give me a response like:
“I’m starving and miserable, but I really wanted to get in these freaking jeans again”
“I work my ass off at the gym 24/7.”
“Genetics. You should see my mom.”
“Honestly, I have no idea how the hell it came off so fast.”
Or, even the dreaded, “I’m eating less and moving more.”
Those I can understand. I can’t relate to them, but I can live with them.
But, please don’t give me the running around and forgetting to eat bullshit.
I’ve been there. I know better.
I think today is a safe day to post this. I can’t be sure, as I’ve not really had any time to go on social media to check but here goes anyway, because if I did actually check no doubt it would be another day that passes without me being able to post this for fear of upsetting someone. For fear of someone, anyone, on my friends list thinking it is directed at them. To be clear; it isn’t.
Anyway, I really need somebody to explain it to me because I’m not really understanding the attractiveness, in more ways than one! What is this obsession with putting effects on every picture that people seem to take?
Above: an alien, below: a filtered me. Spot the similarities!
When did it become acceptable or even desired to make your face look like that of an alien just visiting from out of space? You know; over large eyes, small pointy chin (slimmed, I believe they call it). Slimmed my arse, it’s weird. And it’s not as if anyone believes that that is you, do they? Because it’s not. It’s an exaggeration of a person. You are making yourself look more like a cartoon than a person.
Am I being overly critical to think that anyone you meet for the first time after having seen a photo of you is highly likely to be disappointed! Because no one actually looks like that. If you did, you would probably be ostracised and bullied by the very people you seek approval from.
Am I the only person who looks at someone’s filtered photo on Facebook or twitter and just feel slightly sad for them? What is wrong with their faces that they feel the need to filter out any true reflection of them? Because every single one of my social network that I have seen posting these doctored images are pretty outstanding people in their own right. They are beautiful inside and out, and yet they insist on posting images that don’t resemble them.
So I have a message to all of you who can’t post a photo on social media without editing it and filtering it within an inch of its life and turning it into an imaginary image:
There is nothing ugly about being you. Naturally you, with no editing or filtering or slimming needed. You don’t need to change.
In 5 years, or 10 or 15 years time you will not be able to look back on photos of yourself and see how you really were, because you no longer exist. You wiped the real image of you from existence and you are comparing a computer generated image to a real one. And do you know what, you are going to feel bad; because you will be comparing yourself to an image that never really existed. Because that is not you!!
You are a beautiful individual, whose beauty doesn’t just exist on the surface. Your face is a reflection of a tiny part of you, and it’s not even your best part. Your wit, empathy and understanding. Your big heart and terrible singing. Your clumsiness, your messiness. They are the things that make you beautiful and attractive; not larger than life eyes, completely unblemished faces and abnormally small chins!
So please; stop filling up my news feeds and home pages with imaginary pictures, especially if you are not admitting that you’ve used a filter or six!! Everyone of my friends has blemishes and spots and imperfections. Because we are human.
If I’d wanted alien friends I’d have joined a space program!
I’ve got a bikini bridge, a thigh gap, what looks like a fairly flat tummy with no stretch marks and a BMI of 18.6. That’s just in the healthy section for those who don’t know (I had to Google it myself); if I lost just over 1lb I’d be considered underweight. I wear a UK size 8. I’m fairly tall. So according to the popular websites and magazines I have all of the ingredients of “the perfect body.”
This is me fully clothed the way others see me:
I get told I’m lovely and slim by people I hardly know, as if it’s something I should be proud of, but I’m not. If asked to describe my body I would, like nearly every woman I know immediately reel off a list of things and it would go something like this:
- No boobs (despite them being covered in thin white stretch marks!?!)
- I have bingo wings
- My teeth are too long
- I have big feet and very skinny calves
- I have saddle bag thighs
- My nose is crooked
- One eye is higher than the other
- I currently have a huge spot brewing on the side of my face
- I have ugly hands
- Did I already mention my saggy boobs…?
Hardly the image that the magazines would have you believe you will look and feel if you had all of the attributes that they infer that perfect women should aspire to be.
I think there are a number of reasons for this, not least being the overly photoshopped perfection that we are constantly bombarded with. But also because when we look at ourselves we don’t see what others see; we concentrate on specific areas, like me with my saddle bag thighs; in my head they are huge, but unless I point them out people don’t really notice them.
And my knees, well, where do I start, I had never really looked at them until fairly recently when I suddenly noticed that they seemed a bit saggy. I’m perfectly sure I’d never looked at them before and thought how unsaggy they were, but all of a sudden I am mildly obsessed with the fact that they might be making their way down my ultra skinny calves to get into a loving relationship with my ankles.
No one has ever told me that I have ugly hands, I have just seen lots of nicer hands in my time, I’ve also seen lots of worse hands but I don’t compare myself to the ones who’s hands are worse than mine, I compare to those who s hands are beautiful. No one has ever recoiled from the sight of them, except me.
In all reality who on earth else is looking at me in that kind of detail? Maybe a few, but I seriously doubt that even my husband, who has seen me naked more times than he can probably care to remember, would have written a list of my body faults anywhere near as l did above. My other faults maybe, but not all those specific areas of my body!
The problem with the way we look at ourselves is that we almost never see the whole picture. We focus in in tiny detail on specific areas that we don’t like, thereby ignoring all of the other stuff that counters it. Like the fact that my eyes are a nice colour and shape (or so I’m told) which is probably counterbalancing the fact that they are slightly crooked.
Personally it is very rare that I would look at someone in that sort of detail. Generally I see them as a whole, and that doesn’t just mean their body part shapes or individual facial features, but to the whole including their personality and also their mood and emotions. I’m much more likely to refer to someone as “brown hair, always smiling” than I am to say “tall, with crooked teeth and saggy elbows, you know the one”. And in my experience that is how others see things too. My eye is drawn to the good parts and my feelings a about someone, and not one small imperfect part of them that I’ve examined in detail. In all honesty, who has the time to examine others as much as we do to ourselves?
So in future, I’m planning on stopping examining myself under a microscope and instead I will try to view myself as I would anyone else, as a whole.