Perception is Reality… My Body Image Story
(This was submitted by one of our readers who would rather not mention his name – which we naturally respect)
My Personal Body Image Story
My Body Image Story – All my life, up until shortly after I got married nine years ago, I was always active. I started playing basketball at an early age, continued until my second year in college; was on the track team, participated in cross country, and even tried soccer just to name a few of my activities. I would come home from two hour practices, and do sit ups in my room, for no good reason.
When I wasn’t in the school gym, I was at a membership gym playing basketball and lifting weights some evenings. I was in Olympic condition, and had almost no body fat. It came easy since both my parents are petite, and both my mother and I wore a size zero-short. It wasn’t until I got pregnant after being married for six months that I experienced weight changes. Having two more children didn’t help the situation much either.
I remember the days when, even though I loved my body, I lamented shopping because I could never find anything to fit me. Even at a size zero, most pants had a waist that was too big or the legs were too long. These days, I weigh only nine pounds more than I did in high school, I graduated in 2000. The issue is that after having children, things redistributed themselves in ways that you couldn’t imagine unless you’re been through it.
Because I am taking the time to be with my kids, my size zero days are over. Did you see the part in Men in Black where the alien lands and takes over the farmer’s body? The skin just won’t fit right, no matter how he attempts to adjust it. I know that things are not actually to that extent, but I do feel uncomfortable in my skin.
There are two events that happened in my life that have helped me tremendously with my body image issues:- I had a home birth – One time, I purposely got naked in front of some friends I planned on having a quiet water birth in the comfort of my home, but my body had other plans, and I ended up having my second child on my bed.
In order to become comfortable during labor, I shed the long shirt I was wearing. Only for a split second during the birthing process did I realize, and become self-conscious about being completely naked on camera, in front of my midwife and her assistant. It was a fleeting thought as I was inundated with childbirth. After everything was over, I felt liberated for having done the hardest thing I had ever done which made my issues-no big deal anymore.
I must admit, the former experience emboldened me quite a bit. Although I don’t like the way my body looks, I realize it’s not so bad, and it honestly is something I could change if I really wanted to.
On another occasion, I went with some single girl friends to Victoria’s Secret. I made myself go because I was so self-conscious about going. Long story short, we’re all in the dressing room, and I decided to bare it all. I kind of made it up in my mind that it would be my joke on them, kind of like “this is what you have to look forward to,” and make them a little antsy….. I know, I’m mean. So, I just got naked, and “tried on” some sets of underwear. Then came the initial minute of uncomfortable silence.
After that minute, we got into this deep discussion about body image, and pregnancy. I told them about how I felt about myself, and they were amazed at my attitude because of how “in shape” I was. They admitted that things were not the same as the high school days but then I saw them in their underwear, and I honestly counted my blessing… clothing can be deceiving. But when people are naked, they are, simply put, just people. We all have our insecurities, clothing help us hide what we want to hide and accentuate what we want to show off.
But at the end of the day we all have things we wish would be different. By being nude around other naked people, we could learn how to just accept each other the way we are… the way we were created.
I don’t understand why people are so scared to try social nudity. If more people would, perhaps this world would be a little less judgmental and far more accepting. The issue of body image could be greatly improved if all took the time to be ourselves with nothing between us and the people around us. This is just what I feel and what I think.