Written by Dashiell Elliott, guest blogger
Body image can be a delicate subject. We tend to look towards the media, our friends, or the internet for validation. On what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. However, many of us do not consider looking into the mirror. No, I’m not talking about the glass one that stares back at us sometimes in disdain. But our internal mirror, the one that only we are able to see, internal scars and all. For some reason, we have somehow subconsciously convinced ourselves. That everyone can see our internal flaws the same way that we can.
For so long, I would believe that body image and body positivity is something that is seen on the outside. however, that is the furthest thing from true. I would spend so much time and money on my outside appearance. That I started to believe if I looked good on the outside, then I would automatically feel that way on the inside. When in fact, pretending did not help me one bit. I started going on this journey to discover. Why was I still feeling incomplete after all of the glam was wiped off and hanging back in my closet? Let’s try something, ok? Let’s remove the word ‘body’ from all of these buzzwords and see what we have left.
Ok, so boom. Instead of body-positive, we are left with simply positive, Instead of body-image, we are left with image, Instead of body-conscious, we are left with conscious. It is possible to possess a positive and conscious image of ourselves without thinking of our body. The removal of the emphasis on the word ‘body’ is important. Because our body is not and never will be a reflection of who we are internally. It is simply a shell, a vessel, a hub for our creativity, kindness, love, intellect, and so much more. It has not been an easy journey for me to be able to see myself in this light. Our self-image tends to run deep and typically stems way back to our childhoods. Where we first began to identify and develop our sense of selves.
I like to think of this process as The Butterfly Life Cycle. And not because of the typical cliché reasons. Even more, I am speaking on how fragile the butterfly life cycle process actually is. How important this journey is when we are becoming. If anything is disrupted during this evolution of the caterpillar preparing to become a butterfly, it dies. For us, something similar tends to happen and we end up staying a caterpillar internally. While externally we are just faux-butterflies. We don’t live in a constant state of reverie and some of us simply are not happy with how we look on the outside. With that being said, I would like us to challenge ourselves. Think about our actual internal feelings in regards to our outer image. Try to understand why we feel the way we do about ourselves.
For example: fat is not an actual feeling, neither is ugly. Instead think, am I feeling nervous, insecure, scared, exasperated, envious, disgusted, shameful or neglected? If you identify with one of those feelings, amongst many more. Then I challenge you to then ask yourself, “Why do I feel these things about myself?”. Ah, there’s our internal mirror at work already. Those words are coupled with real situations and events in our past and present life. That have made us feel the way that we do about ourselves. For me my self-image was unfortunately inspired by a fat-shaming mother.
There comes a point where we have to then ask ourselves two very important questions. And that is, “Do I love myself?” and no, not if you love that vintage blouse you are wearing today. But do you actually love yourself? Do you shower yourself with the same love you give your lover? Your child or even your dog? If your answer is no, then it may be best to take some time to talk to yourself. Get to know why you aren’t as kind to yourself as you are to others. We tend to hide our authentic selves as we get older and it becomes harder to find ourselves again. On our quest for self-love, we eventually discover a more positive and conscious image of ourselves. The body is just there as an accessory to hold it all in.