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37 Seconds

Last week a friend posted a link on their Facebook page that I’m sure most of you have seen by now. In case you haven’t watched it, in 37 seconds a woman goes from “average” to completely flawless, courtesy of the one and only Photoshop. It’s a pretty incredible video that should help the average woman feel less threatened by the perfect women they see in magazines, although it pretty much makes me want to figure out a way to Photoshop myself in real life.

As a girl who grew up gangly, super skinny, and completely flat chested, I get what it’s like to feel your body has really let you down, especially given the fact my mom had a huge chest and I got absolutely nothing. I graduated high school weighing in at 103 pounds and I came home from my freshman year of college weighing 105 pounds. Most of my friends hated me for only gaining 2 of the “Freshman 15” but I can clearly remember people actually having the audacity to ask me if I was anorexic because I was so skinny. Newsflash: Not every skinny person has an eating disorder, nor does every skinny person feel comfortable in their skinny skin. My mom always told me to appreciate it because one day my metabolism would slow down but that was hard advice to accept when all I wanted was some curves.

In high school a “friend” nicknamed me “Sternum” because he said it stuck out further than my boobs. First of all, this friend clearly had an enormous crush on me. Second of all, he was a complete dickhead for ever thinking this was appropriate. There’s pretty much nothing more humiliating than hearing someone yell, “STERNUM” as you walk down the hall, besides pooping your pants at school, which thankfully, I never did. At 36, I still hate that nickname, although, thanks to a great doctor, it doesn’t really work anymore so you can SUCK IT, SUCKA!

I’m still skinny but I’m by no means perfect. I’ve had three punks and my body will never be the same as it was pre-punks. There’s nothing better than getting out of the shower and one of my punks smacking me on the ass and telling me, “Your butt jiggles, mom.”  Thanks Sherlock because I had absolutely NO IDEA.

Most days I wish I could Photoshop my ass and legs into perfection – it’d sure beat the hell out of the constant reminder that I haven’t been to the gym since…oh, June? I’d love to put on my bikini and feel like a Victoria’s Secret model but instead I see a woman who could stand to do about 500 lunges and crunches everyday for the next three years. I see a stomach that, although isn’t big, still shows the evidence of carrying three babies. Is my body really that bad? Probably not, but I see the flaws every time I look at myself naked. Don’t we all?

It really doesn’t matter if your a size three or a size 12 – most women focus more on their flaws than on the parts of themselves that are just right. Skinny doesn’t equal perfection, nor does bigger equal imperfection. We constantly compare our physical selves to every other woman around us – she has bigger boobs, she has a great ass, she is so skinny, she’s so fit, she’s so toned, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD – WHERE ARE HER STRETCH MARKS???

My closest girlfriends and I are all different shapes, sizes and colors. I think we’re a beautiful group of woman although if you were to spend a night with us you’d hear a whole lot of this:

“Oh my GAWD my legs are so fat.”  “Ugh, look at my baby pooch. It won’t go away.”  “Oh, screw you – have you seen my stretch marks?”  “Have you seen my ass lately? GROSS.”  “At least your boobs aren’t sagging.”  “Look at this sun spot. It. Is. So. Nasty.”  “Screw your sun spot, look at my wrinkles, bitch.”  “Screw you all, at least your clothes still fit.”  “Oh my GAWD I feel like such a fat ass.”  “Hey, bitch eat a pie.”  “How old do you think you have to be before you stop getting zits?”  “Two words: back fat.”

By the sounds of our complaining you’d think we were a completely hideous group. However, I think we look pretty damn good, and we still dress really cute so there’s always that.

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I’m not saying Photoshop is to blame for our insecurities; we’ve conjured up these self images of ourselves on our own and actually believe the lies we tell ourselves on a daily basis. It makes me sad – I want my girlfriends to look in the mirror and see the beautiful women that I see when I look at them. I want to look in the mirror and see the woman that they see when they are looking at me.

At seven my daughter already criticizes the fact that she has blond, curly hair when everyone else has straight hair. I hate knowing that one day, probably sooner than later, my little girl will begin to look at herself in the mirror and see a body that she doesn’t believe is good enough.I hate knowing she will begin to compare her body to the women she sees on TV and in magazines and that there’s a very good chance she will begin to believe that they are “better” than her. I look at this little girl and can’t imagine anyone, including herself, will ever view her as less than perfect. I try hard to teach her that beauty comes in every shape, size and color and that looking different is a gift – I want her to learn this now, before society teaches her anything differently.

I’m trying to raise my boys so that they not only learn that you never hit a woman, but they learn that their critical words can forever impact a woman’s self image. I want them to learn to truly respect women and to actually do it. I want them to understand that women are not perfect and that admiring Photoshopped pictures of women will only leave them disappointed in the long run when they are unable to find an actual women who looks like that.

This is my point – regardless of what you see when you look at a woman, there’s a pretty good chance she is silently criticizing some part of her body she doesn’t like. We all have our hang-ups. We need to remember that beauty isn’t about what Photoshop can do, it’s about finding comfort in our own skin and liking the reflection we see looking back at us in the mirror, more than we despise it. It’s knowing, and believing, we don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful, even when our punks are right behind us, reminding us that our asses jiggle.

One Comment

  • Amy Lee on Jul 12, 2014 Reply

    Love! Very well said!

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