Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Body Love..as I see it.

There is a lot of talk around the internets of the concepts and problems of the whole Love Your Body thing.

My view isn't really one I see a lot so here we go.

First thing is conceptually the Love Your Body Campaigns tend to be a little vague to me.

Here's the thing. When we love something, not our bodies for the moment but say you love another person.

Do we only love that person if they are perfect or always doing what we want?


Love as a thing as a changing breathing difficult thing is never perfect and smooth and wonderful. Not our relationships with our friends, not with our families, not with anything or anyone not ever.

What I don't understand is how so many people conflate this perfect love scenario when we talk about our bodies. Or that to love this thing, our bodies means that we won't ever have an issue with them.

I think that's fairly absurd and potentially a knee jerk DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO type reaction rather than a thoughtful one.

Now before anyone gets butthurt take a second to think about it.

I see it time and time again and I think that's a bit of a short sighted problem with the idea of Loving Your Body.

With my view of imperfect regular love in the context of loving our bodies it seems to me that a lot of these campaigns are not inclusive and deeply deeply rooted in the opposite of self love.

Much of the time we are presented with the supposedly wonderful idea to Love Ourselves but,  the examples put forth are the air brushed perfected images that uphold the Western Beauty Ideal. This Perfect Love Version of self love and acceptance is deeply hugely problematic because it's presented as a thing only attainable by the White (or White enough looking) able bodied few.

So yes, in that context it's flawed and often ugly.

This is also the view that tells us if we "Love" ourselves enough we will "Love" ourselves into dieting and thinness etc. Also gross and problematic.

Now in my view of a um, let's call it Realistic Love of Our Bodies this doesn't happen.

In my view of encouraging yes everyone to Love Their Bodies I'm not talking about only loving your body when it looks good and functions at an optimal level.

I am for Loving your body enough to understand that sometimes it's going to fail. Sometimes your body is going to be fucked.

Just like in any relationship, you're going to fight. Sometimes it's going to be ugly and really fucking hard. Sometimes, loving your body means accepting that no, you won't walk normally or that no, you won't be thinner or no, your skin won't ever be perfect.

Don't all of us at some point in our lives and loves, don't we need to hang on through the bullshit?

Maybe I'm totally off here but real love, honest love to me means that it's not always sunshine and being able to run marathons.

In my view the most Radical Self Love and Loving Your Body means that well, some days you have to look at yourself and understand that regardless of how mad at your body you are for whatever reason, you are not getting a new one.

Let's sit with that for a second.

No matter what issues you may have, illness, appearance whatever it is. This is the only one you get.

Now when I say love your body, understand that yes it may be flawed I'm not only talking about superficial flaws. I'm also talking about those of us who have various types and degrees of dysphoria. I'm talking about those of us who need to change or alter our genders in body, presentation and how we live.

Yes. You too can love your body. I feel like the key here is to accept and acknowledge that no matter how wrong your body is, it is still your body. In order to get to that place where you feel like your outsides can match your insides or how you were born or how you want the world to see you, you have to keep that body going long enough to get there.

I'm also talking to those of us who have eating disorders, who have the type of dysphoria where we can't see ourselves in mirrors. I'm talking to those of us who may have just found out that they might lose a body part, who are just finding out about an illness that could impact mobility and everything.

Here's the thing.

My Self Love is not fluffy and pretty and full of flowers and candy.

It's ugly. It's a fight. Sometimes I'm fighting the outside influences and sometimes the shit in my own head. It's hard. Some days it's the hardest thing in the world. Sometimes it's dysfunctional and if it was a domestic situation someone would go to jail.

When I tell you to love yourself I'm not telling you to skip through the pumpkin patch I'm saying fight for yourself because you deserve it.

I'm saying that it's okay to have bad days. To have days when you'd rather punch yourself in the mouth than love anything about yourself. It's okay for it to be Tough Love.

It's okay to love yourself when you're not perfect and the love isn't perfect because nothing is ever perfect.

It's okay to look at someone else and say, I kind of hate myself today. It's human to have those moments.

The important thing is that you make it through them. Make it through so you can get to that place that feels right. If that means you make it by faking it for a while that's fine. If you have to say I am going to make it so I can be the Boy/boi/grrl/girl/woman/boygirl/Queen/whatever I dream of being that is okay too.

It's okay not to worship or love your body all the time. It's okay to feel wobbly about loving anything including yourself sometimes.

It's okay.

All these things said, I say Love yourself.

Love yourself in whatever way you can because only you can decide what kind of love it needs to be. Maybe for right now it's an uneasy love. Maybe it's a love born out of realizing you survived a lot of bullshit. Maybe it's a love that looks forward to becoming or growing into who you want to show the world. Maybe it's a love that rides uneasily on your skin. Maybe it's a love that is huge and bright and sunny. Maybe it's a love that you're hanging on to with a fierce outfit and some outlandish lipstick.

My personal Love Myself is gangster. It's punk Rock. Sometimes it means I look at myself and say fuck you get it done. Sometimes it means that I have to have days when I hate everything and keep stepping because it is imperative to me that I make it through the bullshit.

My Self Love is rough. It's mean sometimes and it's how I need it to be.

What's yours?

Are you hanging in there?

Here's your homework. I want you my homies to look at yourself and say (bonus points for outloud) "Okay self, you are really fucked up right now because of (insert thing here) we're going to keep going. Fuck it."

Then report back. If you can't say that and mean it, think about it and report back.

So I love you my homies and haters. I love how fucked up you are, how your bodies may not be doing what you need or want them to do, I love you when you're depressed, I love you when you're happy.

I love you.

And your butts too.

Homo Out.


Orodemniades said...

Well shite, Shannon. You've written many fabulous posts, but I think this one is my favorite (though the recent 'ugly' posts have been fabulous, too).

Thanks. I really needed to read this.

Orodemniades said...

Also, saying it out loud made me cry,

maggiemunkee said...

your homework to us? that's how i got through the last couple years of my undergrad. i just found out that my final gpa is 3.49, which isn't as awesome as old me would have wanted, but me of right now is definitely okay with that, and very okay with being done. huzzah!

warrinpeace said...

I saw the article on the root...saw...not read and was a lil intrigued then i read the name of your blog and thought..cool a regular (not fat) that enjoys nudity too ..im game! Then i read a few if your musings. Now im interested ;) keep speaking up :)

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