What would you let go of if you stopped listening to what the world wants you to be; to weigh; to present in perfectly airbrushed, social media pics?
For International Self Care Day, I dare you to let go of the narratives, the beauty myths, the fat-shaming, the societal rules that only serve to fuck you up.
There’s a surprising liberty in casting off those things that don’t make us happy. It makes the other things all that much more delicious, including food itself. It’s good medicine for our hearts and minds to get a break from the constant drumming of bad news and messages that make us feel bad. (Spoiler alert: Your bad feelings sell more products!)
Feeling good in your skin is a revolutionary act! It smashes the patriarchy! It’s an affront to systems of oppression and the ways they intersect with racism, LGBTQ-phobias, the gender binary, rigid gender roles, ableism, ageism, definitions of marriage and families, and so much more!
That is probably why I still enjoy sharing this:
How to get a bikini body: put a bikini on your body. Done. It’s that simple.
This reminds me of an article by Jenny Allen that I read in More Magazine. Unfortunately, I can’t find a link to the entire article. (Sigh) So I transcribed a portion here:
I’m going to sit here and daydream about the time I went to the beach in Italy. I assumed that the women over 40 would show up in more stylish versions of the boring skirted one-piece suit I was wearing. What I saw were dozens of women, in their fifties and sixties and older, almost all of them wearing … bikinis.
Bikinis! I couldn’t believe it. Their breasts drooped, their thighs jiggled, their flesh hung loose and crepey, and yet they sauntered along and lay about at perfect ease, as if they had the bodies of teenage girls.
What a radical idea! Except that it makes me sad to think this is a radical idea.
This is all sort of the problem, isn’t it? We limit ourselves based on these misogynistic beauty myths. And it is a mythology. Don’t forget that. Why do we let beauty myths steal our fun? Why does getting dressed have to reinforce all our negative BS ideas? It doesn’t!
No matter what you look like, there’s always the chance that some asshole somewhere will say something that makes you feel bad about yourself. But those words say a lot more about that asshole than they ever will about you.
Because I gotta tell you, I have found a kind of body acceptance as a 40-something mom that I never had before. Sure, I was thinner in high school. I had less wrinkles in my 20s. My stomach didn’t have scars and stretch-marks before I had my kid in my 30s. But whenever I see pictures of myself from high school and college, what I notice more than anything is the sadness in my eyes and the anger in my jaw. I was so weighed down, not by pounds you could see but by the invisible weight of so much heartache not yet healed.
I am here to tell you: Happiness is the best beauty product, the best fashion, the sexiest things you can ever have!
I give you The Sin City Siren 10 step guide to loving yourself!
- Wear what makes you happy and functions for your life. Suits, leggings, brightly colored sundresses. It’s all good.
- If you like to wear makeup, rock on. But nobody needs to wear makeup. It should be a fun choice, not a chore.
- Sleep is important. None of us get enough.
- Diets have an expiration date and focus on negativity. Eat the food that fuels your body, mind, and spirit. There’s no such thing as “good” food or “bad” food. Experiment with what works for you. Question what you’ve been told. And when you find a food lifestyle that works for you, make no apologies.
- Weight is a number. Numbers are a construct. The BMI is bogus. (It was invented by insurance companies and is intentionally impossible to attain/maintain.) Be the size and shape that feels comfortable to you. If you don’t feel comfortable, seek out ways to change in a healthy way until you do feel good.
- No matter what someone has told you or what the media tries to brainwash you into thinking: You are beautiful. If that feels impossible to believe, break it down into the smallest increment that you can believe. There must be one part of your body that you love. A toe. An eyebrow. Your vagina? Come on, there’s something to love on every body!
- Speaking of our good parts, it never hurts to show yourself some self-love. Nothing makes you look better than an orgasm. No partner required.
- Try to silence the judgmental qualities that we have all inherited from society. We don’t like being called fat or ugly or old. So, why do it to others? And just as important: Don’t call yourself those things either.
- Turning off the negative messages from media and society is hard, cut yourself a break when they creep in. We’re all human.
- Unplug. There’s nothing that says you have to consume all this media and messaging. We don’t have to buy the fashion magazines. We can turn the TV off. Delete Instagram if it helps. We can opt-out of things that are not necessary and don’t feel good.
Stay beautiful, Sirens!