Wednesday, December 1, 2010

TL;DR: in which I discuss body image



Oh baby. I brought a lamp into the room, and used it as a "spot light" or whatever. It ended up creating a high-contrast sort of effect, which I kind of like! I'm a fan of high contrast photos, although not as much as my dad, who is like... the crazy King of high contrast photography.

Anyhoo I wanted to show off this sweater, which is the last thing I got at H&M on Black Friday, and which I've already worn this week. I've been wanting to play with the cropped look for a while, and I figured a cropped sweater over a dress was a perfect way to play with that without showing my midriff and freezing to death. Also look at the cool chain trim! I love it!











I'm wearing: H&M dress and sweater, Delia's boots.


I've been thinking about the post I've been meaning to do about body image. The more I think about it the more unlikely I am to actually write it, so I'll just get it out of my system right now. It's something I'm sure every single one of us gal bloggers has thought about, worried about, and brooded over. Can anybody seriously tell me they haven't at least once thought they were too chubby, or too skinny, or their legs were too short or their boobs too small or any other things that a woman can find "wrong" with her body? I doubt it. I know every one of the women I know has worried about this at one point or another.

The reason I think it's important to talk about this, or at least acknowledge it in a style blog setting, is because we post pictures of ourselves on our blogs. Every day. We pose, smile, and wear outfits that mean something to us. We put ourselves out there! Nobody can tell us any different -- we're fucking brave, and we deserve respect, because we're epic BAMFs for just taking the plunge into style blogging. Even so, we dwell on things that shouldn't matter -- does that pose make me look fat? Are white tights a bad idea for my thighs? Stupid thoughts. Thoughts we shouldn't think. (And I know you all think them!)

I struggle personally with my own body image every day. A year ago, I was just making the decision to join Weight Watchers and start losing the extra 40 pounds I'd put on over the previous few years. I was just barely overweight, but I felt like the ugliest creature ever to walk the earth. It was awful. It was truly the absolute worst. I hated myself, I did, and why? Because I wasn't a size 0 anymore. I wasn't this tiny, flat-chested teenager anymore, and I had fat rolls and curves and I hated it. Because all of these other bloggers were so tiny, I felt like a hack, and I quit blogging. And then I lost 30 pounds over the next six or seven months (after an ass-load of work, let me tell you).

When I hit my goal weight I was happy, but it didn't feel like I'd imagined. Instead of having the tiny, fit, sexy beach bod I'd been fantasizing about, I was still a little jiggly around the edges. I still had epic cellulite on my thighs and butt, I had flabby upper arms, a curvy butt, and a little pot belly. I wasn't satisfied. I wasn't skinny enough. I was actually 5 pounds smaller than my original Weight Watchers "goal weight," but I wanted to lose more.

I am still, often enough, not satisfied. I'm still not satisfied. How depressing is that? How stupid is that? I lost 30 pounds, I'm lower than my goal weight, and I still have many moments when I don't feel skinny enough. I don't feel sexy enough, or good enough. Which is ridiculous, because I am a normal weight, I lost the weight I wanted to lose, and yet it's never enough. That's the worst part of this awful plague on our culture: it's never enough.

I was looking at pictures of Lea Michele, who plays Rachel Berry on Glee. She lost like 15 pounds or something by going vegan, and at first I was like "omg she didn't even need to lose weight!" But the more I thought about it the more I was like, "Holy shit she looked great before, and if she wanted to lose even more weight, then there must be something wrong with how she looked, so there must be something wrong with the way I look, too. Maybe I should lose more weight and be 100 lbs too." Which is awful. It's poisonous. There's no, absolutely no reason to think that way. But I do, and I know a million other girls do too.

It's what we're conditioned to think. We're conditioned to never feel good enough. And I think, at the end of the day, what we need to realize is, we need to feel good about ourselves as we are. Whether or not we do something to change what we don't like about our bodies, we should love ourselves before the change and after. I wish I'd learned to love my body before I lost weight, because maybe then I'd be satisfied with my new body. I'd love it like it deserves to be loved.

It makes me so sad, because I read girls' blogs saying things like they need to lose weight, and I look at pictures of them and I think, "No! Darling, you look perfect!" but they'd never listen to me. They won't hear me, because they've internalized the need to be skinnier, to look like an actress or a model, or their favorite size 0 style blogger. And that's understandable. I wouldn't listen, either.

I guess I'm not trying to fix this, or come up with a solution or a cure. I just want to talk about it, to get it out in the open. I don't always feel great about my body. In fact I hate my upper arms, they're flabby and like old lady arms. I have a doughy pot belly. I wish my legs were longer. There I said it! It's ridiculous, I know, but there it is. I don't want validation, I'm not fishing for compliments. But I do want all my readers to feel confident here, to know that we are all insecure, we're all awkward in our own skin sometimes, and we all have things that make us feel not good enough. But we can bond together, and understand that it's okay, and maybe by acknowledging this, we can move on and begin to change the way we think, one step at a time. Or not. But it's nice to know we have each other.

I just want you to know, if you read this blog, or if I read your blog, or both, or neither, then you are a bad ass mother fucker. You rule. You are insanely sexy, you're beautiful, and I want to hug you and be your best friend. Life is too short to spend it hiding, worrying, and feeling shitty. Let's be excellent to each other. And party on, dudes!

36 comments:

gee said...

1) i want to be your best friend too. mwah
2) i have old lady flabby arms too. haha.
3) i think you wrote this wonderfully..no matter what most girls(i believe) has a body image problem and it is so sad. i had the worst body image problem due to my horrible time in middle school. the guys use to "moo" at me when i walked down the hall, which led me to stop eating and so on and so on.. but now being older and wiser i have come to love my body and it is a beautiful thing. i wish all girls knew they are beautiful no matter the size.
4) sooo, thank you for this post. you are beautiful.

xoox

.Alyspank said...

I vote you make a million copies of this and post it anywhere you can- hell, lets send it to the magazines and get the story straight! Stickly thin isn't the only kind of beautiful out there. I don't think anyone can be told that enough.

This, no joke, has got to be the most superb blog post I've read- ever. The pictures look cute as hell (cropped sweater with chain trim lovin'!) and the content was amazing.

I'd give you a standing ovation if I knew my mom wasn't going to look in my room and see me awkwardly standing in front of my computer clapping to myself. F' it, I'll do it anyway!

Alyssa

http://beautysimplistic.blogspot.com

Leigh said...

I loved reading this. You are absolutely right.

And, FWIW, I know that you will always be beautiful because, girl, you have a heart of gold, brains, style and panache, and those are worth a thousand million times more than a size zero ever will be.

Kellie W. said...

You really are my favorite person ever. I want to send you a basket of cookies and cupcakes to congratulate you on this glorious, beautiful, amazing post.

I've had body image issues for my entire life, too. Through all of middle school and high school, I had boys say to my face that I was ugly, and it was just fucking traumatic. I've lost about 20 pounds since 12th grade, but even now I have days when I feel gigantic. No matter how much weight I lose, I still feel like that ugly 15 year old who never got asked to the school dance. But blogging has helped me feel so much more confident, and it's amazing to know that other girls out there are going through the same thing. Basically, you are AWESOME, and this post made the ugly 15 year old in me crack a big smile. <333

Nicole, Coco Maria said...

This is such a great post, and I'm so happy you wrote it and that I get to read it. You are completely right. I did a post monday about my thirty pound weight loss and ended it with the sentiment that I was disappointed in myself for not losing more. You verbalized the things, the reasons I couldn't. I don't know why there's a need to be smaller or thinner. I do know that I just want to be healthy and content (not sure if the second one is possible?) and I think that's what we should all shoot for, health and happiness. This has turned into a body-ramble, but I just want to reiterate that you and this post are super wonderful!

Heather said...

I am joining in on the standing ovation, Jeff already thinks I'm crazy! Seriously Meg, BEST post ever written. You wrote it perfectly! Every girl needs to read this, it needs to be turned into a pamphlet and passed out at every school in the world. It breaks my heart seeing young girls so upset over not looking like Lea Michele or whatever star they admire. I'm linking this on my blog as soon as I post again, because this needs to be read! Let's be BFFs and always tell each other "bingo arms are the new flamingo legs" or something like that. Yay for being imperfect.

Okay I suck at babbling. This outfit is my favorite, I want that dress and sweater. And I like the spotlight, the pictures look great.

Oh and my birthmark, thigh fat and love handles all thank you for this post!

Rose said...

<3 SanDimasHighSchoolFootballRules!

I love you and this post. I know I have complained to you before about my issues and especially now that I'm stressed about school I noticed that I have been focusing more. Especially b/c of that disgusting slouchy picture of me. The worst part is that sometimes if I think I look really good in something that hides my stomach then I will think that I am just deluding myself b/c I still have the stomach instead of thinking that my body is fine and just wearing flattering clothes.
Annoying. But hopefully we can support each other to not be ridiculous!

sam said...

this post is amazing thank you

genevieve, sandbox romance said...

Aw, Meg. Thank you for this post. It means a lot to me, personally, as a person and a blogger. Your amazing frankness, and your ability to write beautifully, have created such an amazing post. I was really honestly touched. I deeply appreciate when bloggers put this out there. I also find it intriguing that that vast majority of popular fashion blogs seem to be maintained by "smaller" girls. But maybe that's just me.

Thank you a million times over.

Between Laundry Days said...

This is a perfectly composed post, and I adore you for it. I too want to be best friends and hug and watch Stargate and Doctor Who together. And feel like badass women who are beautiful and powerful and wonderful and who have FANTASTIC cropped sweaters.

Bug hugs.

sherryl said...

i became sad but happy because of this post, wow, goodness. why do we have to feel this way? it's ridiculous. i still struggle with my body and self esteem issues and this post just really made me tear up. i deal with some ridiculous things sometimes and i feel like i just can't do or change anything to be "beautiful".

but then i realize i AM. we are beautiful. inside and out, and we should never feel less then that. i am surrounded by people that i love and that love me and in the end, physical beauty really doesn't matter and we shouldnt care about being size 0 or not. cheesy but so true. its a struggle...but thank you so much for writing this post.

ps: i love your outfit. the dress is adorable, and i love the colour. crap. you're adorable. beautiful. insanely. <3

kate maggie said...

What an incredibly important post. This is a topic that gets shoved under the rug way too much. Thanks for bringing it back into the light and talking about it. I have been one of the ones who have struggled with this. I have always been quite petite, but right after Highschool I started thinking that I wasnt quite 'skinny' enough - so I joined weight watchers, lied about my weight so I could get into the program and lost so much weight only to realize that I didnt even need to lose weight and I felt worse. So ridiculous what our mind does to us sometimes! Its so hard though with media and everything around us screaming 'skinny skinny!' thanks for being real about this subject. I hate my arms, I hate my legs, I hate my stomach - but far out...I need to get over it, we all do, who cares?! AH. WHO CARES? haha *can you see im passionate?* you're a gem Meg..thanks for talking about this. xo

Chio said...

I've been following you for a while and I never posted you before but this post made my day!
You probably speak for every single girl, I mean, who doesn't have body issues?
I'm glad that you dare to talk about the seemingly taboo issue of weight in fashion blogs. And I also hope that every girl would embrace their bodies, accept it as it is and,above all, love it! Why suffer for that dumb social dictation of being skinny? In the end, you're never satisfied and that's so wrong. We only live once and we should make the most of it while we can.
I don't know if I'm making much sense cause it's 2 am here haha but anyway thanks for sharing your thoughts on this important issue.

Nikki said...

<3

I really don't have anything to say. Just... I really really needed to read this tonight.

Michal said...

MEG YOU ARE AMAZING. This is exactly what's been on my mind lately. I've definitely (and still do) struggle w/my body image even though deep down inside I know what you say is true. I don't need to. I need to be content with what I've been given & I want to help others understand this to. One of my absolute best friends who is one of the most GORGEOUS people in this world has such a terrible image of herself & lately I've been doing everything I can to help her realize how truly beautiful she is. I think I need to show her this post. I think it's time we all embrace our imperfections because without our crazy birthmarks, or flabby arms or big noses or whatever, we'd all be the same and where's the beauty in that? Again, YOU ARE AMAZING! LOVE!

xx

PS Love the sweater. :D

HollyElise said...

Meg, I say again - I love you.

This post is awesome and amazing and everything that everyone above me said.

KVG said...

This post is AMAZING!

Thank you for writing this.
You look perfect and beautiful in your photographs.

Body image is something that we all deal with every. single. day. Neverending cycle, it seems. Thank you for this wonderful post!

Rai said...

Ugh, the whole body image thing. I've got terrible body image, but I'm not going to let it stop me from blogging. I mean, I'm chubby, I slouch because I hate my height and I'm just plain awkward but everyone has hangups, so I'm not going to let something silly like that get in my way <3 xx

Stephanie said...

Great post. Like all the other commenters, I too have body issues from time to time. We just have to remember that we are awesome. :D

Shibby said...

Amazing post! I definitely feel like this and it is the reason I dont post pictures of myself on my blog and the fact that I just dont have the time to dress nice and take photos of myself at the moment.

Lovely outfit :)

Emily, Ruby Slipper Traveller said...

Yup.

Do you have those blogging moments where you post pictures and your eyes go straight to your belly, or thighs or whatever you hate the most at the moment, and even though nobody else would even see these supposed imperfections you just can't stand yourself briefly?

Bah, beauty culture has a lot to answer for!

Fleur-de-Lis said...

I can't even tell you or thank you enough for this post. I'm going to add a link to it in my sidebar..
You are truly an inspiration and a joy to read**

Victoria / Justice Pirate said...

what a very cute outfit!! love it!!

I used to always hate being so thin. I was always the skeletal girl in school and hated it so much. I was on weight gainers at 12. Now I'm content with my weight. Having kids made me bigger and it is weird how I missed being thinner after having each of them, but was able to get back in shape (and not be ultra skinny anymore) pretty fast. however I've always suffered badly from small breast syndrome. I don't know if I'll ever grow out of that. for four years I didn't complain because I was growing with milk and nursed throughout that time and then when I went back not only were they small again but they were a little floppy from all the stretching (they got to be a double D for each pregnancy/birth. . now back to A-cup I am). it does however drive me very very crazy when girls complain they are too fat. They look beautiful to me. I really think being healthy is important and really think being obese or underweight is horrible. but when people are in a normal weight. . I wish they'd appreciate it. you know???

Lauren said...

Girl you know I love you, and um heck yeah we can be friends, haha.

And before seriousness when you wrote BAMF, the first thing I thought about was nightcrawler from x-men... oh jeez I need a nerdexorcisism.

As you know from my post and your comment and blah blah (which Inever got back to you about and gave you internet hugs and kisses for your remarks)... you know what I find in myself as flawed. And yeah everyone feels it. I like when people put their flaws out there cause it shows everyone is like that. It's real. I'm tired of the fakey, cutesy blogs where they poop rainbows... Ahem, anyway. I'm totally feeling it again with the whole wedding thing. Holy crap that is a ton of pressure. And I'm finding out a lot of dress dont fit because I have a huge ribcage, and I can't do anything about that. I tried on my mm's and grandma's wedding dresses (they were heavier then me and my grams was 3" taller than me) but my rib cage was 3-5" bigger then theirs! No matter if I loose weight or not my skeletal system won't change, and let me tell you, that is super upsetting because it's completely out of your control...

Oh well you heard my rant... The good thing about the dress thing is now I have a perfect excuse for wanting a backless wedding dress, haha my ribs!

<3 Lauren

sparkle is a color (Katrina) said...

Awesome, awesome post! This couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I was just thinking to myself yesterday how frightened I was to get on the scale since I haven't weighed myself in awhile and I probably gained 98776 pounds. But then I stopped and said "My jeans still fit. I haven't had to squeeze into them or pull out my 'fat pants'. That should be good enough." I recently lost about 12lbs and I was feeling soo skinny a few weeks ago. Now suddenly, although I know my size hasn't changed, I feel fat again. It occurred to me how easy it is to get sucked into the "just five more pounds!" trap. I'm trying not to worry about my weight anymore so much as how I feel. Exercising and eating better make me feel good. Eating McDonald's and being a sloth do not, at least not in the long run.

And I know I'm always a BAMF, regardless of how I look on any given day. :)

xx, Katrina
http://sparkleisacolor.blogspot.com

Joy said...

You.Are.Awesome!

That is all!

http://southerncomfortga.blogspot.com/

Amber Blue Bird said...

I want to hug you too :)

That was very well written and I completely connected with it. I think everyone female goes through these feelings, style blogger or not, but I have found a happy place with my weight now and I think there comes a point in every girls life when they will see themselves for the beauty they are. Hopefully some will realize it sooner than later by reading your post

The Mental Cartographer said...

Meg,

This is an awesome, wonderful post. Well-written, clearly articulated, and with a strong confident voice.

I'm going to share this post on FB because it should be shared and read. :)

Have a great day and keep up the great writing and fashion pics. :)

Andrew

blythe said...

Hi Meg! They're Steve Madden boots- got 'em at Nordstrom last winter. Great buy- you'll see plenty of them in this year's Dressember posts too!

Kelsey said...

Well, that definitely needed to be said. And you style/fashion bloggers ARE brave.

For me it's that teeny tiny Japanese idol body type which is highly unrealistic as I don't even have the bone structure. Not many people do who aren't genetically programmed like a ballerina.

Anonymous said...

<3 <3 <3 I love this post and all its saying. Thanks.

She is Sara said...

Meg, reading this sounds like reading my thoughts allowed everyday. I too gained a shitload of weight after high school and it took years to loose it all. I have the same arm flab, the same pudge, everything. I get bummed when I share clothes with friends and I can't fit in their jeans and yet my boobs are too small to fill out their dresses. It is hard not to get depressed about it. But I think you are right, we are all courageous. It is hard to do what we do, it sounds crazy but my mom will not take any pictures with me unless she approves all of them. I mean, family pictures! She is facebook obsessed and only her face can be in the pic and she can't smile because her face might look fat. I used to be like that and it was ANNOYING. I'd go to a concert with my friends and not have any pics because I felt fat.

OKAY. I am really glad that you did this post. I think we all need to wake up and chill out all at once. We are all awkward. I think that we are all awesome possum and I love you for posting this!!!

XOXOX!!

Lovers, Saints & Sailors said...

Amen sister! Thank you so much for writing this post. It needed to be said and it needed to be acknowledged.

I look forward to being your e-friend.

P.S, totally not a result of fishing, but you are gorgeous!

✿ren said...

I think I'm on the opposite end of this body image problem that plagues girls worldwide, but I cringe a little whenever my friends start counting calories or squeezing french fries to get the oil out and etc., and I wish they would believe me when I say that they look beautiful. ^^;

You're such a BAMF too! :DDD

Rhitbee said...

Yowz! You're such a bamf. This was such a great post - I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I started learning a long time ago that my insecurities are ridiculous. It's always a struggle to remind myself of those lessons though. I've fought with my weight since I was very little and have yoyo'd since I learned the meaning of the word diet.

I think blogging has really helped me to become more comfortable in my own skin though.

You're gorgeous and brave and I am so totally a new follower now!

xo Robyn

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