Thursday, April 15, 2010

On Body Image...

Note: I contacted Sheryl before posting this to get her feedback and permission.  This blog post is Bitch Cakes Approved.

In order to keep myself motivated, I have been reading a lot of other weight loss blogs.  I need to see that other people have done what I'm trying to do (and much, much more).  I like to see their insights about both triumphs and failures.  I like to know that I'm not the only one.

I also like to do things properly, so when I find a new blog that I like, I go back and read all the archives in order, over a period of about a week or so.  It helps me understand the history of the blogger. 

I've been binging on Bitch Cakes for the last few days and loving almost every moment.  First of all, I adore her personal glamour style, and I think she looks absolutely fabulous at about 150ish.  She's got amazing curves that I'd kill for. 

But there was one post that really hit a nerve for me.  She wrote about how, after she'd hit about 160 (I think.  I can't find the entry now) some people were telling her not to lose any more weight and how she was perfect.  And she didn't like being told that.  She was happy that other people were impressed, but her primary goal was not for other people to like her just how she was.  She saw imperfections in the mirror and she was bound and determined to fix them, and whose business is it anyway if that's the choice she wants to make?

I'm not arguing with the sentiment.  It's hard to lose weight and it's hard to hit the gym reliably and I'll be damned if I'm going to sacrifice blood, sweat, and tears only to make someone else happy while not being personally satisfied with the results.  I understand completely. 

But she posted photos of her current progress.  And it turns out that she and I have very similar bodies.  I'm taller, but we both pack on muscle and we've both got curves to make men weep, and barring a horrible illness or famine, neither of us will ever be "slim".  So I was looking at these photos thinking "yep, those are my legs.  I've got those hips.  Thighs that could crush walnuts.... check.  I'll trade you my rack for your stomach, but most of this is pretty familiar territory."  Trouble is, I look at Bitch Cakes and think she looks amazing, and then I see the same thing in the mirror and want nothing more than to change it. 

So then I went back and looked at her photos again and this time I was thinking, "Yeah, I'll bet she wants to slim down here, here, here, and over there."  And that's disheartening.  This weight loss project I'm doing is all for vanity.  I'm already extremely physically healthy, and I just want to be able to wear cute clothes and not worry about muffin tops.  But if someone who looks as amazing as Bitch Cakes does can't be happy with her own appearance, is there any hope for me?

There are are a few things worth mentioning here.  I'm about 4 inches taller than Bitch Cakes, and because of the workouts I do, I have much more pronounced and bulky arm and shoulder muscle.  What looks cute and curvy on a 5'2" frame with makeup, pencil skirts, and a great smile looks intimidating and a bit grotesque on a 5'6" frame with a glare that could wither garlic and enough attitude for 5 people.

Also, I don't dress as well as she does.  I wear jeans and loose tshirts a lot of the time, and never any makeup.  I don't look bad, and for a software developer, I'm certainly ahead of the sartorial curve, but I don't look fabulous.  And on the days when I'm grumpy, boy does it show.

I've had a few days to reflect on my self image and I'm doing things about it.  Operation Self Adoration is about to go into full swing.  First of all, I took 4 pairs of pants in to be tailored this week.  I get them back next week and then maybe I'll have clothes that actually fit.  I'm also thinking it's time for new hair, and maybe I should make a go of makeup. 

But you can have my stacked shoulders when you pry them off my cold, dead body. 

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