In my understanding that over-all good health includes not only the Spiritual and Intellectual aspects of a being, but the physical as well, I have begun to administer to physical motivators. If you have known anything of me, you will be aware of earlier struggles with weight that evolved into apathy at best. Once I accepted myself, I learned to insist that others accept me as I was as well. I had and still have no intentions of making changes in my physical appearance. I am over weight, tend towards flabbiness, and one of the most beautiful women ever put on this planet.
Sure I’m not everyone’s idea of physical perfection, and most days I’m not even attractive enough to look at myself in the mirror. Then there are those days when I take way too much time and the resulting appearance truly stuns. I consider that a waste of my time though, especially since I have the fortunate blessing to be the kind of woman who doesn’t have to try to be acceptable pretty. This isn’t meant to be bragging, especially when you consider it comes from someone who was told by relative that I wasn’t “pretty enough” to do much with my life.
Unfortunately it wasn’t only those individuals who had motivation for making me feel inadequate, but some who truly loved me who constantly complained about my weight. I remember the day my “skinny” picture was taken; you know, the picture someone puts on the refrigerator to inspire you to lose weight? When I stepped into the shop in that dress, I was told I shouldn’t wear it because it made me look too heavy, by the same person who hung the picture on the refrigerator. That was it: the single moment my perspective of physical health changed.
It was then that I realized the numbers and the clothes really don’t matter. Everyone has some image in their head of perfection. Even those who acknowledge that what is ideal for one meat puppet might not be for another, don’t consider the ideology inside the meat puppet. Some people like “fat” and some like “svelte”. With the clear understanding through experience that the medical profession doesn’t always know everything as succinctly as they’d like me us to believe, I am also under the impression that what is a healthy body image for individuals might also be different from individual to individual.
I do understand the need for generalizations, even when it comes to body index charts. It’s good to have a mean from which to work with, as long as you understand that it is a generalization and not specific to all beings. I have seen what happens to my body when it is within “normal” range. I have felt how uncomfortable I was in that skin and how constantly ill and irritated I felt. Admittedly these things might be eliminated through specific variables, but my life is not about body image.
Or maybe it is. Mental health certainly is central to body image. It’s part of the human complex, and even those who have overcome cultural-ism when they look around, there is still an impression we have been given as “healthy bodies”. As a society we have put forth images, even in our acceptance of “big and beautiful” models, that are “acceptably” healthy. From our skin to hair and teeth, every aspect of physical appearance is dictated to us in their proprieties. Although I may have even features and carry myself with grace (sometimes), I don’t fit the popular image of attractiveness.
Most of the bodies I see in the media are not attractive to me, but that does not mean that they are not attractive. I like men to be barrel chested and hard, and women to be soft and luscious. That doesn’t make me right, it just means I have preferences. Attractive and healthy are not necessarily the same. I look at myself in the mirror and I can see that my lungs will not carry me through most of th activities I’d like to do, but they are encased in a frame exactly wide enough to expand to the full breaths that allow me to sing with unexpected power. My breasts start too high to ever be modest and are too low for popular standards, but they are a full and glorious image of feminine creativity, and I relish in their imperfection. My belly is not flat, nor are my thighs fine, but these rolls that disgust some softly cushion the children in my life with tenderness they can sink into. My skin may not be smooth and evenly colored, but my eyes engulf the memories of each freckle laughter in the sun has placed there.
Good physical health has very little to do with measurements and doctor’s orders. It is as much learning to appreciate the meat puppet you are in charge of; it’s limitations and boundaries as well as it’s abilities and skills. It’s learning to feel your physicality from the inside out, and doing your personal best with the gift you have been given.