Thursday, August 9, 2012

What's wrong with this picture?

Sometimes I wonder why we are so hard on ourselves.

We.  Women.

We look in the mirror and see every line, spot, pimple, grey hair and goat hair.

We spend hours looking for and trying on jeans and can't find a suitable pair to fit our "weird" bodies because we are too tall or too short, we have a flat butt or a too fat one, the waistband is too high or too low, yadayadayada...

To hear a group of women talk about trying to find a decent swimming suit is to hear tales of sheer terror!

Could you imagine a group of men discussing such things?  Huddled together in the mens room talking about stretch marks and cottage cheese?

Men don't seem to have the same issues with their bodies that women do.  They don't really care what they weigh or if they run into someone at the store with no make-up and wearing a sweat suit.

Women go to great lengths to hide their perceived imperfections.  Cover-ups, shawls, no shorts, no sleeve-less.....

I admit to some of these obsessions.

Being overweight most of my life then finally losing 80 pounds five years ago has made me acutely aware of such things as calories in/calories out and the number on the evil lying box we stand on to measure our body mass in pounds.

I remember, before my weight loss, talking to friends and hearing how they also wanted to lose weight and how "these 3 pounds just will not come off!"

3 pounds?

I wanted to cry everytime I heard something like that.  And I heard ridiculous things like that quite often.

After I lost the weight, I acquired another body image obsession.  I was feeling pretty good about my loss and really hadn't noticed any "problem" areas (translated-sagging!).  But my sweet little grand daughter noticed something.  She would flap my "bat wings" whenever I was buckling her into her car seat.  I didn't think anything about it until one day her dad told her to stop doing that.


OMG! I have bat wings!  (go ahead and scroll up to see them, I'll wait)

That started the no sleeveless, must hide my bat wings obsession.  I started noticing others had the same phobia and some were even having surgery to remove them.  They were left bat wing free but with a huge scar down the under side of their arms.

I wondered if that was a such great trade off.  And I realized that weight loss, gravity and genetics could result in bat wings.  I happily went sleeveless once again! because I live in an oven!

Two weeks ago something happened that proved to me that it doesn't matter what your arms look like.

I was shopping with girlfriends and we were trying on some lovely shawls.  One friend told the sales clerk she never goes sleeve-less and if she does she wears something to cover her arms because, you know, bat wings.

The sales clerk told her her arms were beautiful.  She then told us that when she started saying that same thing her mother told her to ask a person who had no arms if they thought her arms were fat.

Lesson learned.

To answer the question posed in the title of this post-
I see 2 things wrong with the picture
1) I am not sitting by a pool, lake or beach
2) I do not have a glass of iced tea nearby

Other than that, it's simply me.

Go easy on yourself.

You are beautiful.

Our August In Focus theme is barns!  Be sure to add your shots to the flickr pool!

It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.  ~Agnes Repplier


p.s.  there's going to be another linky party in 2 weeks!  if you are unsure how to use the linky or have any question, leave them in the comments, we will answer your question in the comments so be sure to check back!


heyjudephotography said...

Linda, no kidding, when I looked at that photo my first thought was, "all she needs now is a pool!" This is such a great post and I can imagine that there are sooo many of us reading this today that will relate. We hear it all the time. We are hard on ourselves. But it is so hard not to be. I think it's ingrained in us from the beginning. Such an important, important message. We are beautiful. Focus on all the good things. Thanks Linda for a great start to my day.

Barbara said...

You tell us sister! Something I know I should remember for sure.

Sherri B. said...

What a powerful post...and a great reminder. We females are SO hard on ourselves and our bodies. The photo of you is beautiful!

stephmull said...

I love this Linda! Like Judy, my first thought was, where's the pool! Your words are so true and thank you for the wonderful reminder as I start my day. Love to you and your beautiful arms!!

gina said...

Such an important reminder for all of us, Linda! That the millions of cells in our bodies work together and allow us to breathe, move, and experience another day is a miracle in itself. I try to keep in mind. I love the timeless feel of your image.

Dotti said...

Oh, dear Linda! You have hit the proverbial nail on the head! And it's not just women as we age ... it's our daughters and granddaughters while they're still young! Hollywood has us all brain-washed to achieve the Perfect 10. And let's face it ... not many (any?) of us will. We do need to nurture ourselves and I believe nurturing our hearts and souls is even more important than nurturing our bodies. And, while we're at it ... let's not forget to tell our daughters and granddaughters that they, too, are beautiful ... even thought they're not perfect. And then let's be strong role models of that belief.

Hugs ...


Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Bravo Bravo!! Well said. My newest love is the add that shows the Victoria Secret models then below shows the Dove Real women... all in their undies! I love the Dove one so much more. I think by said this statement that we are ALL beautiful no matter our size that maybe, just maybe our grandaughters will start to believe what we are saying.

Sadly we say this but dont really believe it. I know I say it about my friends and yet my mind keeps beating myself up every single morning when I look in the mirror.

Im trying but it a task that I must work on daily.

Thanks for the discussion and WELL DONE !!!


radish38 said...

Great post. Very true. So thanks for putting it right out there.

WildeLifePhotography said...

Wonderful post. It's only been the last 2 weeks that I've started to wear sleeveless shirts due to the heat and nothing else in the store to choose from. Last week my attitude changed to "Who Cares", it's me and if you don't like my arms, stay away.

Cathy H. said...

Such a wonderful reminder!! To be comfortable in our own skin!! I've always hidden my "fat" arms. I can remember my Mom saying that ans I thought I should feel the same way! Now, for the first time in years, I'm wearing sleeveless shirts!! Want to know how that started!! I was traveling to a wedding with a sleeveless dress that had a jacket. Not wanting to wrinkle the jacket I hung in in the back. We stopped for lunch along the way, it was hot, and I thought well no one knows me in this town and I'll probably never be back here! I'm not putting my jacket on!! As I was going throught the buffet, this lovely lady stepped up to me and complimented my dress and said I looked so cool!! She didn't even notice my fat arms!! That did it, I came up and went shopping for sleeveless tops!!

Angela said...

Great post. I wonder what we teach our daughters that we grow up with such negative self images of our bodies. Now I just have to convince myself to go sleeveless!

terriporter said...

Oh, wow, you are talking to me for sure! When I shop, I am forever saying, "Love that top if only it weren't sleeveless." For me it's not fat arms but drooping skin on my upper arms. I HATE it and don't even want to look at it myself let alone have it out there for others to look at. And I know how ridiculous it is. For heaven's sake, my 85-year-old mother wears sleeveless tops! I keep wondering at what age I will think, "Who cares?" Maybe it should be now. The things we notice (and dislike) about our own appearance are things nobody else even sees. Your post is encouraging me to just get over myself and stop worrying about it. Thank you. Now I'm off to the store to buy that cute sleeveless top I saw last week!

AFishGirl said...

This is a resoundingly wonderful post!

Linda/patchwork said...

This a such a good post. Why do we always beat ourselves up?
I've had 'fat' arms all my matter what I weighed. I think it's time to just be glad those arms still work.

terriporter said...

Amen, Linda!

Anonymous said...

Ditto, ditto, amen, hallelujah!

Deanna said...

I won't put on a bathing suit because I think I look too scary...when am I gonna stop and enjoy the pool that is right across the street from me??

Carol said...

As an audiologist, I have this discussion with men and women every single damn day. No one cares about the amazing electronics that an help them stay in touch with the human race - they only care that no one will see it. Think about it - we will hang huge glasses right on the front of our faces - but God forbid anyone notice that we have a hearing aid! It is all marketing, marketing , marketing, and we swallow it hook, line and sinker! If your body works the way it should, be grateful!!!!! All else is wasted energy.
(PS I am not immune to this either, but the daily discussion has made me be adamant about it. Love your clothing choices because you love them, not because they hide things!)

Kim Stevens said...

Amen life sister! I'm pretty sure people are horrified at the way I go out of the house these days, and you know what? I don't care. It's a liberating feeling to go out of the house in a tank top (men's no less) and a sports bra, no makeup and hair in a clip. It's hot, and when I'm out photographing I can concentrate better on what I'm doing rather than the thought that I'm melting. And last year, was the first year in about 8 that I bought a bathing suit because I love the beach more than what I care about how others see me. And I have bat wings too, AND I wear tank tops. Great post!

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