Maybe it's the fact that I'm in full on period mode right now. Maybe it's the fact that I work with all women. Maybe it's a little bit of both. But lately, I have spent an awful lot of time thinking about body image, body dysmorphia, and unrealistic expectations of what my body can, will, and should be. Not that I think that I am unique in this. I'm sure these thing are never very far from the mind of most women. I know conversations about the way we look, the size we wear, the abilities of our bodies are never far from our lips. Like sick, twisted, hormonal self-hating mean girls, we talk about all of the ways that our bodies regularly let us down.
I don't understand why I can't be satisfied with the fact that I wear a size 6. Why in the world do I have to put myself down for the fact that I have to wear a size medium in activewear? I don't understand that I can't be satisfied with completing a half marathon. Why do I have to insist that I do it better, faster, stronger? I don't understand why I can't be satisfied that my stomach is mostly flat. Why do I wish that I could count every single abdominal muscle, and beat myself up when it's utterly impossible? I don't understand why knowing that my husband thinks I'm the hottest thing on the planet. Why is it so important to me that I live up to beauty standards set by the media and agreed upon by society?
My body is evolved to do miraculous, incredible, beautiful things. I can create life, and sustain it until someday, someday far in the future, that life can sustain itself. My body can carry me to nearly any land bound place on this Earth that I want to go. My body can withstand the pressure of going to many non-land bound places on this Earth I may choose to explore. I have so many abilities, so many ways that this body does not fail me. Yet, I choose to look at the failures. To look at the things I'm not able to do. The ways that I just don't measure up.
I wish that this post, this narrative could be my solemn declaration to stop this inner madness. To choose something entirely different for myself. To become the eternal optimist, and to only see the abilities. I wish that I knew of a way to flip that particular switch. Can you imagine a greater gift that you could give to another woman than the gift of unconditional self-acceptance?
I have had several men tell me that it is a good thing to never be fully satisfied. That the dissatisfaction is what drives us to grow, and to be better, and to move forward. And yet I have never heard a woman come out and make this same claim. As a woman, I know that my dissatisfaction with who I am is both good and bad. I know that it does keep me striving to reach new heights. But I also know that it is the one thing that will hurt and hinder my ultimate success. If I can never see the good that I accomplish, or see that my contributions are enough, I may not even realize that there are things that are worth striving for, or that I can achieve. Shoot, if I'm being honest, I keep myself from doing things that I know are possible. I used to climb mountains. It was one of my favorite things that I did. And then I met Ammon. Another rock climber. And suddenly, the things I can do didn't matter any longer, because it was nothing compared to what he is capable of. And my embarrassment at my seeming lack of ability crippled me to the point where I can't climb anymore. I simply no longer feel capable of doing something that brought me so much happiness.
So, no. I don't agree with all of the men out there who think that the best drive is accomplished through dissatisfaction. I think that it works for men, because they channel all of that energy for good, and not for self-degredation. Such a fundamental difference between men and women: the way they talk to themselves. And it's probably [certainly] the hormones talking, but in this I am incredibly jealous of men.