A change in direction for Mia’s blog- BODY ACCEPTANCE

body-positivity-art-by-spooky-femme

To this point, I’ve used my blog, “Mia Kerick: Love is What I See”, to discuss my books, to host “sleepover parties” where I visit with other authors and discuss their books, and to let you know what I’ve been up to. And I will continue to do those important things with my blog, but I’ve been somehow called to explore a different kind of topic. A topic that is in no way new to me–in fact, I’ve been plagued by its existence since junior high school. Maybe you’ve been plagued by it, too.

Body Acceptance

a good body

It was in junior high that I noticed I wasn’t perfect. My skin wasn’t “peaches and cream” by a long shot, my hair was a bit straggly and winged up in the wrong places. BUT the BIG PROBLEM with ME was that I wasn’t a skinny and boyishly built as was cool in my neck of the woods. I was actually quite average in terms of height and weight.

Hamilton, where I grew up, was a preppy town, and in regard to that, simple classic clothes were the ideal–pastel-colored Izod polos, your brother’s worn Levi’s boot leg jeans, khaki-colored Chino’s, wrinkled white button-collar oxford cloth shirts. Thin was in. Narrow hips like a boy’s, flat chests, skinny thighs. And voluptuous curves were OUT. In fact, all curves were undesired. We, as preteen girls, lived in fear of the time we’d have to wear a bra. Nope, boobs were NOT COOL.

Popular culture further enhanced our craving to be thin. Naturally, Seventeen Magazine spotlighted absolutely NO FAT GIRLS and MTV featured waifs. The lifeguards at the local beach rated us. We held our breath, and ate nothing but lettuce and water, until we received our ratings.

The message “skinnier is better” assaulted at me on the home front too. A sincere belief that good mothering meant keeping one’s children thin was responsible for years and years, and I’ll say it one more time, YEARS, of discouraging me from eating until I was satisfied. I had no idea when I’d had enough. I also had no idea that my body was already perfect and beautiful, just as it was. I just dieted my way from the time I was ten, until the day before yesterday. Trying to solve my body problem was all I knew.

dont believe everything u think

That’s right. The day before yesterday. I don’t know how it happened, and I hope my commitment to end my quest to diet my way to the “perfect” body remains strong. (It has only been 48 hours.) My mind blurs a bit when I try to remember where I got this miraculous inspiration. All I know is that when I left to drive my daughter to college on Tuesday, I was on yet another diet. On Wednesday morning, I ate fruit and a bit of cottage cheese for breakfast before I helped her move into her dormitory. But then, on the way to the parent/student meeting in the performing arts building, I took a bad fall–I fell flat on my face. I was hurting and mentally shaken. (Not only is my wrist sprained, but my breasts are bruised, if that tells you anything about the harshness of the fall.) And my resolve to eat salad for lunch and soup for dinner wavered. It slipped, and then it just plain old left my heart and my mind and maybe every part of me.

i intend to accept my body

In the hotel that night I came across a board on Pinterest about plus size bodies being beautiful. And when I looked at the women-not skinny and angular, but full and lush-flaunting their beauty, their confidence, their BODIES, it hit me that I could BE ONE OF THOSE WOMEN if I allowed myself.

beautiful red head plus size beauty plus woman big_black_beautiful_woman katherineroll Plus-Size-Model-Tara-Lynn-for-HM-3

And so I am starting on a journey to the acceptance of my body. I invite you to come along with me. I don’t think it will be an easy trip, as the picture below suggests, because I am so very far from my goal. I am forty years’ of every kind of diet you can conceive of, endless critical examinations of my unclad body in various dressing room mirrors, and dreaming of when I’m finally skinny, away from my goal. But I really want to find the freedom that will come with the love of self.

winding-path

“Really want?” I am a writer, and I know those words are too feeble for the passion I will bring to this endeavor.

I hunger for the conviction to accept myself as I am, as in, right now.  Today. Just as I am in the pictures below.

photo 1-30 photo 3-12

Join me on my rocky path. Say hello. Tell me how you feel.

selflove_declaration body-love-c.-

Mia ❤ ❤

LOVE IS WHAT I SEE…including love of MYSELF and MY BODY!!!

 

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16 Comments on “A change in direction for Mia’s blog- BODY ACCEPTANCE

  1. Awesome post, Mia! I’ve been on a similar journey for…ever? I allowed myself to become convinced (by teachers, friends, and family) that I was horribly over weight in high school (Ha! I weighted 115 lbs and stood five foot even). Finally, when I was at my heaviest, I started to embrace me for me. But I still had a hard time. I could look at *other* heavy set women and go “wow, she is GORGEOUS!” but I could not look in the mirror and think the same thing about myself.

    I am currently dieting/exercising (except for the last month, stupid fractured toe!) but that’s about my overall health not about what society thinks I *should* look like. And yet I still have a friend who heard my weight goal (135lbs… or maybe 150, I’ll figure it out when I get there) and looked at me wide-eyed and said “That’s still way too heavy! At your height, you should be aiming for more like 120 lbs at the *most*.”

    Really? And you call yourself my friend? (I got my numbers from the WHO website. 135 is smack in the middle of normal/healthy for my age and body structure. But no, even that’s “too fat” for the skinny girl with no boobs or hips who has tiny bones and is honestly just concerned about me, never mind that my last physical came back with perfect numbers and a doc who said “well, you could loose some weight, but I assume you know that already, so just concentrate on eating healthy and we’ll talk “diet” if your cholesterol gets too high or if you develop any problems.” I like my doc!)

    In the meantime, I know I need to learn to truly love myself for who I see in the mirror because no matter what I decide is my ideal weight, I won’t be any happier with myself because of some number on a scale if I don’t love myself for the me inside my skin.

  2. Hb- thank you for sharing that. It is amazing to find out that so many people suffer with the same issues that I do. Have you ever considered giving up dieting all together? I know it can only be done when you are ready. And only YOU know when or if you are/will be ready. I am stopping the dieting. I really do not think that diets work. I don’t think lifestyle changes work. I think we, for the most part, are what we are. Maybe if you have a minute, take a look at the book Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere by Kate Harding and Marianne Kirby. Maybe you are already perfect.

  3. Hi Mia. I love this! I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum. Growing up I was always too skinny. I’m five foot six. I was 112 pounds when I got married at 19. I also have big feet (natural swimmer). The only time I noticed my skinniness was when I wore boots. To fit my feet the boots had to be too big to fit my legs snuggly. You could hear me flapping down the school halls! This was the late sixties early seventies, I’m Black and I would’ve preferred some curves, Twiggy notwithstanding. My first child was ten pounds. I went up to 135 pounds post pregnancy. My Mother called me fat while still in the hospital (she had issues). My husband said he saw how thin my mom was after six kids and forgot to look on my father’s side. He came from the land of the short round people 🙂 Hubby loves me for myself no matter the size and that helps a lot. I stopped making food my be all ( not enough to eat growing up) . I started losing weight recently by not eating when I’m not hungry. I wasn’t dieting, just took control of my self esteem. I do have a hard time buying clothes though. I guess for my size I’m supposed to be short and dumpy. It’s hard finding pants for tall dumpy people. Why are there no plus size models with small arms and legs and big middles? I can’t be the only one! Sorry for the ramble. By the way, I think you are beautiful as is! Gorgeous eyes, you write good too 🙂

  4. Deedles-

    Like you, I SO WISH there would be some plus size models with small arms and legs and big in the middle! Maybe we should start a petition… Want to? (LOL)

    I also want to tell you that my husband loves me no matter what my size, he thinks I’m hot and beautiful and lets me know it all the time- and that really helps me, too. I can’t imagine not being accepted by my partner. I want to do what you are doing- not make food so incredibly important. For me, up until I made this decision to accept myself, food was overly important in that I had to restrict it. I couldn’t eat what I wanted and still be “good”. All food was labeled in my mind as “good” food and “bad” food. But now I’m really going to try to listen to my body- eat when I am hungry- what I am hungry for- and stop when I am full. And I realize there are places where people cannot get enough to eat, which makes me feel guilty for even calling this a problem. But THIS is the society I live in- a society that associates fat with all kinds of other negative adjectives- and I am trying to find a way to like myself. Head to toe. Top to yes, BOTTOM. Every last inch of it.

    Thank you for responding. It gives me hope and confidence and total warm fuzzy feeling to know that I am not alone in this struggle.

  5. Hi Mia,
    Thank you for your post – I grew up super skinny but gained weight with each child and never really got it off. It’s so easy to get discouraged when dieting and is why I give up all the time. I like your message of loving yourself for the way you are. 🙂

  6. I am going to try really hard to love myself AS IS. How are you doing with that since you gave up on dieting? (Diets do not work- maybe in the short term but not in the long term and weight cycling is not good for you.) Isn’t it a shame that so many of us go through life not appreciating out bodies because they do not look like the bodies we see on TV and movies and in magazines. I love this message and I hope that I can stick to it. I am going to inundate myself and my friends with images of beautiful people– I must be sure to include men because they struggle with this issue as well–of all shapes and sizes.

    I made one step further in my effort to live in a way that makes me feel good and happy. The book I’m reading encourages us to find a means of moving our bodies that we like. Not that we do to lose weight or to live healthily, because what that means is just to lose weight. I really have long dreaded exercise because I was only doing to burn calories. I have always had an interest in ballet barre exercises but never did them because I thought it wasn’t a sufficient calorie burn. So today, I ordered a few ballet barre DVDs and I plan to start as soon as they come. (I don’t think I’ll be a world famous ballerina, but maybe I’ll get stronger and enjoy it.)

    Please check in on my FB page and here on my blog, as I intend to devote a good portion of time to body acceptance. Thank you for offering your comments. I really liked reading what you had to say.

  7. I’m so glad you are addressing this. Like many women, I’ve been in a cycle of dieting, exercising, and gaining back. After my first pregnancy, I was able to lose most of my weight but by third, it became more and more difficult. I was only skinny right after grad school.. I was at the gym 5 days a week and I was single so I only ate when I got hungry. Weight was always a concern as my mother constantly reminded me I could lose a few lbs. It didn’t help that my sister has always been in shape even now.

    The last few years, I got to sedentary that even sitting on the floor hurt my hip bones. But what really hit me was that the realization that I weigh more now than I did when I was about to deliver my first child. And that I am so out of shape that I can’t enjoy hiking a mountain with my kids. I’ve long given up the idea of being a size 4 again. But I want to be healthy enough that I can enjoy physical activities with my kids. We are eating healthy and I’m exercising, and try to have a more balanced life. And I hope that we see more women of all shapes in the media, not as a stereotype but as positive, confident, and happy. Thanks Mia!!

  8. Kari- I know I keep referring to the book Lessons from the Fat-o-sphere, but some of what you are saying reminds me of some of what they say. When we exercise for the express reason of losing weight or burning calories or even getting “in shape” our motivation often falters and falls away, as it is not something we truly want to do. If we find a way to move our bodies that is genuinely fun to us, and we want to do it, and it makes us feel good- then and only then will we stick with exercising. The same goes for eating- the book encourages “intuitive eating” which is kind of the same as demand feeding of infants. If your body is asking you for it, eat it. There is no “good” or “bad” food. It is just food.

    I want to put images out there (FB, blog, new books I write) of beauty- but not the expected types of beauty that we see everyday. A new view of beautiful- one that keeps in mind that all shapes (colors, sizes, ages, etc.) are beautiful. You are an artist- you can help me with promoting images of beauty that are less than traditional (if you want). The only way minds and hearts can start to change and then open fully to new ways of seeing things is through exposure. It is partly the reason I write LGBT YA fiction. Not just so gay YAs can read it- but so straight YAs can be exposed to kids who are different from them. Let’s show the world a broader view of GORGEOUS. An all-inclusive one.

  9. Love the post Mia. I have been overweight all my life. This made it hard in school because I was also very shy and reserved. i remember words like Tidal wave and Water wave directed at me. It hurt my feelings but really didn’t affect me much until high school. I really liked one of my class mates. One day I overheard him tell some one that I was a nice person but he would never date me because I was fat. That really hurt. I resolved to lose weight. I went on a diet and exercised over the summer. I lost 25 lbs and was so proud of myself. Back at school in September I felt good and couldn’t wait to see my crush. It was like I was invisible, he didn’t even notice I had lost weight. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that what people think of me is their problem. As long as I am healthy and my husband loves me everyone else can go pounce sand. It has taken me many years to get here and some times I still have problems looking at my pictures and liking myself but it has gotten better. I can’t wait to read your posts and follow on this journey with you. ❤ ❤

  10. Mia, this is amazing.

    As a guy, I’ve dealt with the same issues all my life. I’ve been to every diet thing imaginable, and I’ve gone to meetings on getting the gastric or lap band. And everytime I sit there listening, I think of food, of the food I can’t or wont be able to eat. I’ve got a boyfriend who loves me the way I am. I wonder sometimes why I can’t love me the way I am. So, I know we don’t know each other very well, but I support you in everything you do and say about and for yourself.

    Congratulations on taking this step, great blog post. And I do hope you are feeling better from your fall. Today, I fell off my chair at work. Fell right on my ass in front of a co-worker who laughed and tried to help me up. I just sat there laughing at myself. But your fall sounds 100 times more painful.

  11. Cody- thank you for reading and commenting!! I look forward to this journey, but I know (and you know better than any of us) that all journeys are challenging and I’ll probably mess up. Thank you for your support of me.

  12. Denise- I find it fascinating how many people have shared their personal stories of pain over this issue. And it really makes me mad, which I think is a positive sign. I remember thinking, one day all stereotypes and prejudices would finally gone- except against fat people because it is somehow OUR FAULT that we are fat. (I’m trying not to mind the word fat- so pardon me if it bothers you- it is not my intention.) It is as if we somehow made ourselves this way, by choice, or just by pure laziness or constant indulging, and that is just not true. Our bodies are as God made them, just like gay people are born that way, and people are born a certain race. I truly believe this in my inner heart and I am doing my level best to make this change in my thinking permanent.

    I agree- what people think about me is THEIR PROBLEM. I have always been a pleaser-type, but I can not please people in this area. And I shouldn’t have to. I am lucky, like you, in that my husband finds me beautiful and sexy as I am. I do not need to please anyone-not even him- but I’m glad he feels that way. I hope you come with me on this journey. I like to know I am not alone and it is good for you to know you are among friends.

  13. Hi Matthias- Thank you so much for commenting here. Maybe you can try to join me in this quest to see a new kind of beautiful- a wider definition of beautiful and handsome. I know that it is hard for men, too, as society is a harsh judge and we all feel like we are on trial. I would love to have you come along on this journey to loving ourselves, but I also realize that it is something that you can only do when you are ready. Falling so hard wore me down- made me susceptible to suggestion, I think. And the suggestion I received that night in the hotel room was that all shapes are beautiful- in the form of a pinterest board of beautiful full figure ladies. Maybe your fall off of your chair will lead you to realize that you are perfect just as you are. Please keep commenting as I value everything you say.

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