By Ashlyn Thomas, Staff Writer
You wouldn’t believe what my muffin top has taught me about love. A year ago, I had a problem with the size of me. I realized that I didn’t love myself. I didn’t love my body. And really, when you look at the culture we live in, this makes perfect sense.
Society flashes sultry images of what it is to be the perfect, skinny, super-model woman. We have to be smart, we have to be pretty, and we have to be sexy.
I am not sexy. I’m not skinny. I defy society’s idea of the perfect woman. I’m short, I’m curvy, and I have a blessed little bulge: the muffin top.
Unlike most women, I’m grateful for my extra five pound tummy fat because it has taught me how to appreciate the beauty of a feminine body. In an effort to begin loving myself, I took the first step in the direction of self-acceptance. Loving me started out as a letter.
Dear Beautiful Body,
You’ve been told that you aren’t the right kind of beautiful. You aren’t Abercrombie & Fitch’s beautiful. You won’t land on the cover of Vogue like Taylor Swift. And, if you’ve forgotten, you can’t fit into that size two dress. You just aren’t good enough, plain and simple.
Hold up! That’s what they say. This is simply untrue.
You have a beautiful mind and you have a beautiful body. Recognize your dignity as a woman. Only you can offer the security of a confident, empowered woman. Defend your body! That muffin top is a beautiful thing for a woman--a symbol of self-love.
As a woman, challenge your self-esteem and pursue self-compassion. Society encourages the idea of psychological well-being, yet subversively places unrealistic standards of beauty. As women, we need to recognize our shared humanity, considering the positive aspects of the beauty of womanhood. You are special because you share in the collective beauty of humanity.
Start treating yourself with kindness. Beauty is only skin deep. Stop devaluing yourself by seeking the material unhappiness of society’s beautiful skinny. It’s unreal and so very average.
You aren’t average. You are made for greatness. You are a beautiful body with a beautiful soul.
Your Very Own Beautiful Woman
Here are three takeaways to reinforce body positivity:
Express Your Body Love.
Love your body. Am I suggesting love notes and poetry? Why not! When I struggled with self-loathing, there was an instance where I was reminded of my beauty as a woman. In a public restroom as I washed my hands, two high school girls ran up to me and demanded that I look into the mirror and say to myself, “You are beautiful.” My mouth hung open. Mirror me stared back. I was speechless. Those words sounded dead and fake to my ears. It was then as I formed those words that I realized that every every girl needs to recognize the beauty of her body. Write an open, honest letter to yourself. You’re more than a list, but take the first step to recognize the qualities that make up beautiful you.
Don’t Skimp On Love.
My love language is food. My muffin top has taught me to not scrimp on food. I rival Jennifer Lawrence in the department of eating. Like her, I have a love affair with food and I don’t need anyone to tell me otherwise. Pizza. Salad. Pasta. Veggies. Chocolate. We are both women, and we both eat like women--not how society says women should eat. With equal desire to eat well, I choose to balance my day with exercise and I make choices that make me feel good about myself. I take time for myself. I turn my Saturday into a reading day with cups of tea. I take long hot showers. I recharge by calling my girlfriends up for a night of Netflix and manicures. We all have different ways of loving our bodies. By learning to love your body, you keep yourself happy and healthy.
Love Your Womanhood.
Society’s idea of a perfect woman threatens real womanhood. Unlike a year ago, when I had a hard time recognizing the importance of loving myself, I now see the beauty in having a positive outlook on my body. Today, I will not accept society’s definition of what a body should or should not look like. My supposedly “flawed” body is not photo shopped. I’m a real girl and I love every little piece of myself, and my love started with my muffin top.
I reject society’s claim of what is beautiful. Because, what is beautiful is truth. Beauty is truth. Our bodies are who we are, and because of this, living in truth allows us to see beauty more clearly. As women, it’s important to look at ourselves with truth because truth will enable us to see the beauty of our bodies. And, in the words of Meghan Trainor, “Every little piece of you is beautiful from the bottom to the top.” It’s time we start changing the way we look at ourselves. It’s time to treat ourselves kindly, realizing our dignity. Let’s start by beginning to love our muffin tops.