Do you have a part of your body you don’t like?
I hate to say “We all do,” because that is such a depressing statement.
(To think that everyone in the world has a body part they don’t like just makes me deflate like a sad balloon.)
Given the world we live in, I’m sure a fair amount of you wish you could change something about your body, and until we flip society on its head, this is simply unavoidable.
My body part that I wish I could change is my Upper Arms.
Every time I point at something I feel them wobble back and forth.
I’m pretty self-conscious about wearing tube tops because I think my proportions look all wonky and I feel top heavy.
So I’m definitely stepping out of my comfort zone with this outfit.
And no, this is not something that has just happened recently. I’ve always felt this way.
Below is a pic of me from 8 years ago in Cuba. I was 100 pounds, 30 or so pounds less than I am now (not sure exactly because I don’t weigh myself anymore), and I remember the moment I saw this pic 8 years ago. I felt so disgusted about my upper arm that I thought it ruined the photo and I never wanted this pic to see the light of day.
So this is the first time I’ve ever posted this photo ANYWHERE…NOT EVEN ON MYSPACE!
Young Jewish Hotpants
So what does this all mean?
Learning to love yourself never ends.
You don’t wake up one day and say, “I’M CURED OF SELF HATE!”
It does get easier, but learning self love is like learning math.
It starts off sooooo hard (except for random geniuses like my brother). And if you don’t do your homework it remains sooooo hard until the end of your life.
But if you keep practicing, you start to get good at it. And if you REALLY practice, you get REALLY good at it.
But just like math, you will NEVER EVER EVER know all there is to know about self love.
You could be the Albert Einstein of self love (Alself Lovestein??), but you would never hit a point where you were perfect 100% of the time.
Just like with math, you can never stop learning how to love yourself.
So what did I learn after looking at my current photos compared to the one from 8 years ago?
(That was the self love homework I gave myself this week.)
I actually learned a few things…
The first thing I learned, is that my arms have nothing to do with my weight. I could be skinny, fat, or in between and I’d still wish I had Michelle Obama’s upper arms. Redirecting my sadness or anger into something negative about my body to avoid reality has been a tool I’ve used for as long as I can remember, no matter what I’ve actually looked like on the outside. All women have been conditioned to do this, it’s what sells gym memberships.
Next, I learned that my arms are really REALLY useful to help me get through my daily life, no matter what they look like.
Because of them, I’m able to hug my cat, write this blog post right now, and of course, throw my $300 purse into the air like it’s a $5 basketball.
(to anyone reading this who does NOT have an upper arm or arms, I’m sure whatever body you have can do WAY cooler shit than mine can <3)
Next, I learned that my arms are my history.
When I look at my mom and my grandma, they have the same upper arms that I do. I mean, they should since I did come from them.
But I have never looked at my mom’s arms and thought, Geez why doesn’t my mom have different upper arms?
No, instead I simply think, OMG I love my mom. I love her hugs, I love her strength, and I love her. Her arms are a non issue and don’t even come into the equation of my mother’s self worth.
And last but not least, I realized just how much of my life has been spent dwelling on my arms. Thinking about how to change them, wishing them were something else, feeling grossed out at my body.
How many tube tops did I miss out on?
How many photos of me having the time of my life weren’t shared?
How many finger points did I skip because I was worried of a little jiggle?
So many years, so many pounds, so many arm curls at the gym, so many times I got dressed, then saw my reflection and changed outfits.
Hating your body really is exhausting, don’t you think?
I’m not saying I’ve suddenly been cured and I’m now going to love my upper arms 100% of the time for the rest eternity…
I’ve had quite the self love workout today.
I’m always learning,
And I’m always getting better.
Photography : Spree Wilson