I’ve been considering body image lately. Since last week I’ve pondered why there’s such an obsession with having the perfect body. I was sitting with Mama Dazz, talking about typical mother-daughter things until I spied old photos of me on her computer desk. In one photo, I must have been in fourth grade the time it was taken, as I was wearing the P.E. uniform for the school I had transferred to when my parents had separated. I was giving the peace sign along with two other kids in my class, and noticed something interesting. Despite my rounded face, I was similar in body to the fairly skinny girl on my right. The other photo was of me in fifth grade, with short hair and eating party sweets. That was the year puberty hit, and I was slightly fuller than the year before, but I wasn’t that big.
|In a way, people are like cats...|
“I wasn’t as big as I thought I was,” I mused, “and I was rather cute.”
“Oh, you were beautiful, Morri,” Mama Dazz replied. “You always were.”
|Different breeds = different kinds of beauty.|
Enter the flashback of my puberty years: Mama Dazz comforting while I cried, thinking I was ugly, fat, and stupid. She had this mantra that she would tell me every time this happened. She would hold me and tell me “It will get better… It will get better.” I tried to believe her, but it never set in, not really. I thought I was going to be fat and ugly and stupid forever.
I looked down at the photo of the smiling fourth grader that was me and I say out loud: “What happened?”
True, I wasn’t the healthiest kid. I was sick often, disliked exercise, and was a picky eater. But when puberty hit, and I was seemingly the only girl in class that was rounded and developing differently, I began comparing myself to the others. As far as I was concerned, if I were thin I would be liked. If I were thin I would be pretty. If I were thin the boys would ask me out. If I were thin I would be smart.
This is not how a fifth grader should be thinking.
Mama Dazz pointed something out to me that I thought was fascinating. From her generation to now women are more inwardly critical than they used to be. Meaning, we are more accepting of other women and how they look than we do with ourselves. What’s more, what we see in the mirror isn’t what other people see. Our reflections are so distorted that it takes a photograph from years ago to point out just how beautiful you actually were.
I for one believe there is no such thing as the ideal body type. From the toned and angular athlete to the curvaceous plus-sized babe, from the lanky gamer to the Buddha with a cherub face, there is beauty in every person.
True beauty is loving yourself in every sense of the word, making sure you are happy, healthy, and whole. You don’t have to squeeze into a size 2 to be considered attractive, or have muscles bulging through your clothes.
I admit I have these relapses where I look in the mirror and nitpick at my “imperfections”. I sometimes say to myself, “Just a few more inches… Just a few more pounds… If only I were taller… If only…” Why, just this morning as I was shopping for skirts and dresses for the spring and summer weather, I ended up putting the majority of back because of this type of thinking. And though I felt I looked amazing in the things I did buy, I was frustrated because I didn’t find what I was looking for.
Clothes don’t make the person, and neither does the flesh or fat. The frustration I was experiencing wasn’t in regards to the skirts I tried on; rather, it was because I was timid and uncomfortable wearing them. For years I’ve been balancing what it meant to be a woman in today’s world, for if I was too feminine I wasn’t strong and if I was too masculine I wasn’t a woman. I chose masculinity for power and strength and muscle because it was the safer route. I could compete with men in a way that I couldn’t with women. As a result, I lost a part of myself. And that part of me rather liked dressing up in frilly things.
So ladies and gentleman, I cannot stress this enough. It is time to take a stand and revolutionize the way we look at ourselves, and the way children and adults alike feel about their bodies.
If someone hasn’t told you this today, let me be the first: You. Are. Beautiful.
Chicken Pot Pie for One
For the filling3 Frozen chicken tenderloin pieces5 Heirloom tomatoes (or 5 cherry or 1 Roma), halved1 Carrot, cut into smallish chunks1 Celery stalk, coarsely chopped1/2 Small white onion, finely diced1/2 Orange bell pepper, sliced thinly and cut into chunks1/3 c. Frozen petite peas2 Cloves garlic, coarsely chopped1/4 tsp. Sea salt1/4 tsp. Pepper1 tsp. Arrowroot starch
For the crust1/2 c. Cooked Arborio rice1 Egg1/2 tsp. Baking powder2 tsp. Glutinous rice flourPreheat the oven to 350°F.Put the ingredients for the filling (not including the arrowroot startch) into a saucepan over medium heat with water just skimming the top.Once the chicken is just cooked, cut into small pieces and place back in the pan.Cook for one hour on medium-low heat.Drain all of the liquid from the pan (there shouldn’t be a lot, but I recommend saving it for another recipe), and use 1/4 c. of the stock to make a rue with the arrowroot starch.Pour back into the pot and cook on medium-low for fifteen minutes.While that is cooking, add into a mixing bowl the ingredients for the crust until thoroughly combined.In an oven-safe bowl (one you won’t mind eating out of), pour in the filling first and then add the crust on top.Bake for thirty minutes or when the crust is completely cooked through.