Parts of a whole

There are parts of me I like and parts of me I loathe. But they all come together to make up me. I am parts of a whole whether I like them or not.

Recently it feels like there has been a shift towards heavily emphasising a person’s appearance. A show like The Biggest Loser appears to have made it acceptable to openly critique people’s appearance. I remember reading a comment somewhere in an article about the show that said it was rating so well because people wanted to watch the fatties suffer. It seems to be acceptable these days to put down and – well, to sound a like a little kid – be really really mean to people who don’t fit society’s concept of an attractive physical appearance.

I am not and never will be thin. According to all the scales, charts and body indexes, I’m at least five kilos heavier than I should be. I can get to 70km and that’s where the weight loss stops. For all my efforts, I still have a flabby belly. I seem capable of losing weight everywhere but my stomach. The problem is that girls aren’t supposed to have flabby bellies. I make a point of not looking in the mirror when I get dressed, which is a task because my wardrobe doors – they’re mirrors. I hate what I see. All I see is the flaws and fat.

I know I should accept myself as I am and learn to embrace it. But I can’t. I can’t do the fat acceptance thing. Maybe at subconscious level I think that if I’m skinnier, things will magically fix themselves and I’ll be successful, popular and everything in my life will just fall into place. I’ll get everything I’ve ever wanted. I feel stupid for even writing that down but I think it’s true. There’s so much emphasis placed on how we look that when we don’t come up to scratch, it’s natural to feel like a failure and an outcast.

My worth as a person shouldn’t be dictated by my appearance but I’m know that it is. The hardest thing I do every day is pulling on my cycling gear because there’s nowhere to hide in that. Every single flaw is on display. My legs are okay but I’m forever grimacing when I see my torso. I’m incredibly self-conscious but my love of being on my bike just manages to overcome it. The other thing is that I have to focus on what I’m doing when I am riding, I can’t be tugging at my clothes trying to rearrange them which is something I do all the time when I’m in my ‘street’ clothes.

I spend so much time wishing there was a magic wand to fix up my flaws. But if I woke up one day to discover my breasts had magically reduced overnight and my flabby belly flattened out, how long do you think I’d last before directing my criticisms to another part of my body? It’s in our natures as women to always find something about ourselves that we hate. If someone was to offer me breast reduction surgery done by a reputable surgeon I would do it in a heartbeat. The only reason I haven’t had it done is because it’s ridiculously expensive and I don’t have the money.

I wish there was an easy answer to my angst but there never will be. I will always be my own worse critic when it comes to my appearance. I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to fully accept myself as I am. I think there will always be a part of me that wants to hide away because I can’t stand how people look at me. I know the first thing they see about me is my breasts and I’ll forever be self-conscious about that. I wish society wasn’t so shallow as to pigeon-hole people by how they look but that’s never ever going to change and there will always be some arsehole who feels free to comment on my appearance.

I know I should try to step away from seeing myself as parts and work on seeing myself as a whole. The part I don’t like, the parts I do like – they are still all me.

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