Many people struggle with their body image, especially given what we see on social media. That’s why I want to change the way we speak of our bodies.
For most of my teens and twenties, I spent my summers trying to shield my legs because of my cellulite. I believed that having very long legs made those dimples that much more apparent to others, giving me anxiety and body dysmorphia.
These negative thoughts about my legs led me to wear maxis all summer long and tie sweaters or sweatshirts around my waist to hide the backs of my legs. Unfortunately, it has taken me until twenty-eight to learn and accept that cellulite is a physical characteristic that will always be a part of me.
You see, I have gone through many physical changes throughout my young adulthood to my late twenties, and through those changes– no matter how muscular my legs got, no matter how thin they got– the one thing that didn’t change was my cellulite.
I know that cellulite is a mix of genetics and being a woman, which is why I made a pact with myself this summer to no longer shield my long legs and cellulite. Instead, I’ll embrace them and wear the damn shorts and short skirts and stop body checking myself every time I pass a mirror.
In light of the body positivity movement chipping away at many of the toxic notions and beauty standards that have been ingrained in us since childhood, I wanted to talk about how I’ve been working on changing the way I speak about my body.
- Societal standards have and will continue to change. For that reason, it is time for us to stop trying to measure our bodies to what society has deemed as being “attractive” at the moment. If you could time travel you would probably find a time in history where every type of body, from curvy to athletic to skinny to hourglass shapes, have been put on a pedestal.
- No one focuses on your body as much as you do. You are the one who spends every day and night with your body, and no one else spends or sees it at every single moment in every single light. So while you may have an image of your legs in that unflattering light that made you feel insecure, the fact is that no one else has that same image as you do, and no one will stare at that body part as much as you do.
- While the media wants us to believe otherwise- cellulite, dimples, and fat are all a normal part of how women’s bodies are built, and genetics can make you more prone- no matter your shape. Some of the most athletic women known have cellulite which should give you a good indicator that it has nothing to do with health or how fit you are or are not.
- Don’t let social media images fool you. While you may see images of celebs with smooth skin, cellulite-free toned legs, small waists, and large curves, just remember that you are seeing what they chose to share. You are not seeing the behind the scenes or every other image that was taken just to get that one photo. Not to mention you have zero idea, whether that image was photoshopped and altered and what special lighting went into creating that image. There is zero way of knowing that the individual in that photo looks like unaltered or filtered so WHY in the WORLD would you compare your body (which, let’s face it, if you struggle with anxiety, you probably take your least flattering lighting snapshot of your own) to that image you are looking at in a magazine or online?!
- Follow body positivity accounts. I have shared some of my favorite ones, and heading into the summer, I am making sure to especially focus on Danae Mercer’s account. She is exposing all the truth about how curated social media is, which is helping me a lot with stopping that compare and despair mindset.
While I still have so far to go on my healing journey working toward accepting my body, I wanted to share some new ways I’m approaching body image. Hopefully, these tips will help us avoid any spiraling that could prevent us from being the happy, healthy summer-loving girls that we aspire to be!