Body Image

I was conversing with a good friend last night, and the subject turned to looks. I said something then that I want to share with you now.

People in general are so self-conscious about their appearance. There are millions, if not billions, of dollars spent on appearance. And yet, over and over people get together and fall in love. Not because people are perfect. But because when one person loves another, they admire that person for who they are (we hope). The lover embraces the other. Finds beauty in the shape of a belly button, the curve of a collar bone, the bend of a knee, a dimple in a cheek. The lover, admiring the partner, gets this sort of feedback in way too many cases, “but my x is y.” My thighs are too fat, my nose too long, my eyes too small, my arms too thick or too thin, and on and on. This is most often the case with women, but men do it too.

What in the world is going on? The lover admires, and in response the beloved says, “don’t admire me, I am not what I wish I was.” Rather than letting the lover admire, we put on costumes that conceal. As women, we put on makeup to conceal, to make theater of our appearance. Costumes are great. We need them. They indicate expectations we can have about behavior Costumes are fun to play with. (Wear the wrong costume, and enjoy the way others are disturbed in their expectations.)

The woman says, “I don’t want you to see me without my makeup on.” Oh really? The lover can’t peak behind the curtain and get a backstage view of the star?

When we complain about our looks, what we are really saying is, “the lover should not love me as I am.” or “I don’t love myself as I am.”

I really love burlesque. There is something so exquisite about a person, of whatever shape and size, totally flaunting their sexuality as it is, with no excuses. I want that for you. Maybe not the public spectacle part, but the flaunting what you got for your beloved. Focus on your assets and play to them.

Ask yourself:

  • for whom do I want to be different than I am?
  • Why?
  • What does that get for me?
  • What does that get for them?
  • What need does that meet in me?

Note: Who am I to give you this? Let me reveal a bit about me. Very few people notice this about me, but I have a congenital bone deformity. That means, from the time I was born, the bones in my arm have been crooked. I have scars showing the work done to improve it but not fully “correct” it. I would never say, “my arms are too flabby” when there is something much more noticeable –  that I can’t do anything about – which makes me “flawed” in the model perfect sense. And then let me tell you this even more revealing bit of information. Never once. Not ever. Not even in the slightest. Over the last 25 years of relationships has anyone ever even hinted that they like all of me, except that. I have had guys want to adjust my bike handles for me, so they work better. I have had guys ask what surgery would make it more functional. But never once did anyone ever say, in any permutation of it, “this is so unattractive” or “I don’t love that part of you.” And if that is something a lover accepts – the right ones – the ones that love me….the ones that love you as you are… then I think they will also accept your thighs, your nose, your eyes, and all the rest of you too. Don’t insult their love and ardor by demeaning the glorious object of their desire. Love your body, as it is, as the lover beholds it, with eyes filled with admiration.

It is one wild and precious life you have, and this is the body you have for it. It is a miracle. Millions of years of life begetting life led to you and your body. What a marvel! As it is.

6 thoughts on “Body Image

  • I was not expecting to cry, when I clicked through to your social enterprise blog. This post touches a deep truth, a deep wound, in the human spirit.

    Thank you. This is beautiful.
    With love,

  • Beautiful indeed and so true. In many respects your bone deformity has given you the blessing of embracing your whole self in a way that many struggle their entire life to achieve.

    It reminds me of the old story (that I read long ago–so bear with me) where a man has a blackbird that he hates that lives in a tree next to his window. He does everything he can to get rid of it but it keeps returning, waking him up in the morning, annoying him every day. Finally, he takes the bird far enough away that it never returns.

    The next morning, the blackbird is gone but instead of joy–he feels great sorrow. The house is simply not the same without the blackbird around. As annoying as it may be, it was an integral part of the his home in a way that he never understood until it was gone. My idiosyncrasies and less ideal parts are our blackbirds. Sometimes the very things that people love about us the most are the unique–“imperfections”–that make us so special.

    “Love house, love blackbird”

    Thank you for sharing,


  • “Beauty must be defined
    as “what we are,” or else
    the concept itself
    is our enemy.”


Comments are closed.