I’ve been thinking a lot, reading about, recognizing quite a bit of shaming that goes on in our world, and I just fucking hate it. (Whoops, sorry guys. There’s no way I’ll make it through this post without profanity)
We shame people for everything. Every. Fucking. Thing. Their weight, their body shape, their hair, their skin, their voice, their breasts, their butts, their thighs, their clothes, their cars, their kids, their age, their sexuality, their issues that they generally had no control over gaining, their existence. We’re ruining each other! Why do we feel the need to do this? To break each other down into tiny pieces, to pick apart the very things that make us unique and beautiful and lovely? And where does comparison come into the picture? Do we compare because we were shamed? Or do we shame because we compared? Do we fear rejection so much that we have to create a false confidence disguised in biting comments and unjustified critiques? We are so judgmental. And it’s simply heartbreaking.
So much of my body shaming has mostly come from inside my own mind. Sure, I’ve had my fair share of people directly telling me that I’m not pretty enough, thin enough. I’ve had men tell me if I lost another 20 pounds then I would be more acceptable. I’ve had them tell me that “you’re OK, but your friend is prettier” and yeah, those instances have directly impacted the way that I see myself and therefore how I look at other people. It’s sad and it makes me angry. I don’t want to live under those horrible, life-crushing, soul-sucking words, but sometimes I feel trapped by them, that I will never escape their weight. And what’s worse is that those words have now taken a permanent residence in my mind causing me to turn unspoken signals into ways of beating myself down. When I’m out and no one hits on me, my mind repeats those words to me, that it’s because of how I look. When a guy breaks up with me, I immediately believe that I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, successful enough, sexy enough. My mind is constantly berating me as I go through my days, finding instances to remind me where I fail to be enough.
If we could just learn to love each other, fully, wholly, and without abandon, what would that do to our world? How would we change individually and collectively?
I challenge us all to start calling each other out when we start breaking someone down. Remind each other that we’re all beautiful, even in our imperfections, in our messiness. Try pushing yourself to be right where you are. Don’t be a facade of who you are because you’re afraid people won’t love you. Let them see you without walls, stripped down. Be present with each other, wherever that present is. Verbally tell each other the little nuances that you love about them. Remind each other every single fucking day that they are enough, that they are worthy, that they are themselves and should not be anyone else. Be kind to each other. Love with open arms. Make people feel safe in your arms, let them feel like their hearts, their insecurities are safe in your care.
Men, this part is special for you and I hope you don’t mind my advice: Women struggle each and every day of our lives fighting for confidence in our bodies. We have pressures from every angle to be better/different/perfect. Don’t think that you need to educate us on health, on what men want, on what is ‘normal’. We have enough of all of that negativity pushing into our lives at every turn we make. Just be there to encourage us. Don’t hold back from showering us with praise and acceptance. Worship our bodies as they are. Those little freckles that drive you crazy? Tell us because we may think those are the biggest flaw we have. That extra skin we have on our hips that you grab onto when we make love? Remind us that you grab out of passion, out of love, out of joy. The fact that we cry during movies, betraying our sensitive hearts that you love so much? Wrap your arms around us and speak your love of our emotions and vulnerabilities. Don’t hold back on us. Don’t add to the already abundant number of sources that break us down. Be one of the few who build us up. Love us.
And in turn, I hope that we will begin to hear those negative words less. I hope that they will fade to non-existence as we cover each other in love and acceptance. I hope that we will hear each other when we sincerely give praise. I hope that we will internalize that love, that it will drive us to go back out into the world and give it back out. I hope that our differences will become positive affirmations. And I hope that we will learn to rest easily in the love and joy that fuels our lives.