Body image is the most wonderfully agonizing topic in American culture. From its presence in the media to self-deprecating conversations at Sunday brunch, its grip on our lives is truly unparalleled.
Depending on the message we consume, we’re either left damaged or empowered. It’s tricky like that.
I’ll be the first person to preach owning who you are, no apology necessary. But when it comes to my personal body image, my views are a bit ...different.
What I’m about to tell you bears no influence upon how I feel about other women. I look at a curvier girl with neither envy nor repulsion. I find beauty in all shapes and sizes, and I genuinely mean that. But when it comes to myself, skinny is the ultimate goal.
This isn't some oppressive mentality I'm trapped in against my will; yet, it tends to be the elephant in the room. Women, especially naturally skinny ones, love boasting a carefree attitude toward food. They bask in the rebellious glow of skipped gym sessions.
Meanwhile, you sit there in silence because no one wants to listen to you talk about your diet or your 6-mile run.
They don’t want to hear you celebrate losing those pesky three pounds you gained on vacation. They want you to eat pizza, wear sweatpants and fabricate self-love as you begin to bust out of your size 4.
Because, somehow, you preferring a particular aesthetic for yourself (with no negative opinion on the bodies of others) leaves you viewed as a body-shaming tyrant.
So many girls want to be thin, but if you talk about it, you’re held in contempt. Ah, the paradoxical nature of mankind. I digress…
I’m here to say f*ck that.
There is so much more to being thin than just being thin. I don’t count my calories or work out obsessively. I just know I’m a better version of myself when I make a conscious effort to watch what I put in my mouth. Accountability is a beautiful thing.
What is it about being thin that is so important to me? With my fluctuating weight and propensity for munching out, the periods of time I have myself under control are priceless.
I’m queen of the world and no crop top is too cropped. My hand isn’t glued to my hip in photos because my arms are skinny on their own. Speaking of photos, go ahead and snap them at all angles; I’m skinny, I don’t care. I’m not bloated; I’m not anxious.
I am disciplined and I am elated.
Have I failed to mention health? My skinny days are not attributed to ordering six wings instead of 12 the night before. It’s because I’m waking up early to sauté kale before work.
I’m snacking on roasted almonds. Pasta, you’re on the bench; spaghetti squash, suit up. I’m eating things I can feel good about, things that are improving my health and ensuring longevity.
Is this difficult as a self-proclaimed indulgence fiend? You bet.
It’s human nature to love a challenge. I personify thinness as an attractive, unattainable man I just have to have. I see him around. I know what he likes and I know he’s good for me.
He may not be on my mind at all hours, but I quietly make adjustments to my daily life to bring myself closer to him. When I actually have him to myself, although fleeting, all is right in the world.
You probably think I’m psychotic for feeling strongly enough to write this. I’m fine with that because the reality is, I just ate fettuccine alfredo and ice cream last night for dinner.
I didn’t pine over it or hang my head in regret because I know my value of thinness won’t fade, and those calories won’t hang on my body for long. I’ll eat well, exercise and bounce back like I never left.
But, I won’t dare tell anyone because feeling this way makes me lame. It brings eye rolls and catty snubs. I’ll be pinned a contributing factor to the unrealistic portrayal of women in the media -- just another shallow b*tch perpetuating the prevalence of eating disorders.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I understand this mindset isn’t for everybody, but it just so happens to fit my wants.
I want to wear rompers without my thighs swallowing them whole. I want my boyfriend to throw me over his shoulder with ease. I want to feel light and quick when I’m running a race.
I want to feel accomplished for the care I treat my body with. These wants haven’t intensified over the years. This isn’t some unhealthy obsession that eats away at me. I don’t lose sleep over fitting into a size 2.
I simply am who I am. I want to be skinny, and I’m not sorry for it.