“I’m so fat.”
“My arms are icky jiggly.”
“Look how old I look.”
“I hate my thighs.”
I sit here in “Little Tree Books and Coffee” on a small street in Athens on the morning of our departure with a sigh of contentment as I reflect on this wonderful week. I can go on and on about the unforgettable experiences with my nephew, from dining on the local delicacies, to the 6-mile breathtakingly beautiful trek to Oia Santorini in the unforgiving sun, to pool time in the shadow of the Acropolis, to the painfully long yet ultimately rewarding bus trip to the jaw-dropping cliffs of the monasteries, to the ongoing game of gin rummy (which I happen to be up by one).
However in the spirit of transparency, I will confess a dirty little secret: I body shamed myself throughout. Not all the time, and it sure didn’t stop me from donning my bathing suit daily and going to nighttime hot-spots where I was the oldest by decades, but my saboteur reared it’s dark face again and again and it was ugly. I am human.
Before I continue, let me be clear: I love my spectacular middle-aged body and all its imperfections. I am especially grateful for its resiliency and stamina. I led an 18-year old on treks, tours and late nights for goodness sake. And it wasn’t just on this trip. One of my friends had a 54th birthday party that started with an optional “shadow boxing” class. Picture “Soul Cycle” with boxing bags. After the workout, the birthday boy commented on how the two of us were the oldest in our group by about 20-30 years, and frankly we kicked butt.
Given all that, why the body shaming?
Body shaming is all too common, whether among the thin or voluptuous, young or old, male or female.
Certainly the media does not help. Photographic retouching sets unattainable expectations, and red carpet looks take an army to create. With the omnipresence of social media, even world-famous celebrities must have a thick skin to survive. Just this week two were in the news for either shaming themselves or being a victim of fans.
Body shaming certainly hurts when others do it, but only YOU can control when you do so to yourself. Whether you state the criticism out loud among your peers or in your head, it’s time to change the conversation.
On Valentines Day I encouraged you to show your body some love and today I remind you to check in and see how you’re doing.
Take a moment to recognize what you shame yourself about and turn any comments upside down. Change a negative to a positive and repeat it over and over, until you believe it (which I promise you ultimately will).
Every time I shamed my body on this trip, I rolled my eyes, laughed and let it go. I wasn’t perfect (I never profess to be), but I didn’t let it impact what I did or where I went.
Consider how you react to those inner critics, and inch closer toward shutting down any nasty noises from the voice in your head telling you you’re not (whatever) enough. Together, let’s crush it and wear any imperfections with pride.
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™