September 08, 2015
Naked If I Want To
Why Is It So Hard For Us Ladies To Love The Skin We're In?
The other day, on my birthday, a friend of mine took me to this crazy positive mantra aerobics class at her gym. I went with a snarky heart. I hate gyms. They give me PTSD. They remind me of a horrible eating disorder I had in college. Every now and then I get an acid flashback to my gym bunny days: late nights in the late nineties gerbiling away my dinner calories on the elliptical in my dorm basement watching Dawson's Creek, mentally measuring the midnight snack calories of ritalin, gummi bears, frozen yogurt and natty lite beer I would soon devour. Once I discovered yoga there was no turning back. I can practice in my pajamas, there are no mirrors on the walls and sometimes I fall asleep on my mat and no one cares.
Long story short, I ended up liking the aerobics class. Picture booty bass blasting and a bunch of women jumping around gyrating like strippers, kicking the air and screaming things like “I am generous! The universe loves me!” It was totally fun and I am going back tomorrow. But that’s not the point. What I wanted to mention is the little dharma talk the teacher gave before class began. She said went to some event with Eve Ensler the week before — and spouted off some horrible statistics about women and violence. She said she had three young daughters and these statistics affected her profoundly. Then she spoke of self-love. She told us to bring love into the world, everywhere we go. Naturally I was into it. I mean, who isn’t? Love is great. Love is all you need, blah blah. She went on to say that it’s truly impossible to fully be a channel of love and to love others — to deeply, fully honestly love others — if we do not love ourselves. Then she said that loving ourselves starts with loving our bodies.
She didn’t say that we had to be kinda, sorta, be a little bit okay with our own bodies.
She said we had to love them.
I can't tell you how many nights I’ve spent staring at my naked reflection in the full-length mirror with pure black poison in my heart. Wishing I was Kate Moss. Or Milla Jovovich. Or some other impossibly pretty magazine model with a high perfect nose and ass. The hatred has subsided some since I’ve had my daughter — one of the nice things about being a mom is that there is not that much time to obsess over appearance. But I still think I have thin lips and lopsided eyes and a double chin. Don't get me started on my kankles and saggy boobs. My list goes on. I’m sure yours does, too. This past summer, I watched my niece Roxy, aged 7, at the beach in her red bathing suit, having a blast with the boys, kicking soccer balls, eating hot dogs, ice cream, turning cartwheels, laughing loudly. Her lack of inhibition was intoxicating. But how many more years ‘til she starts comparing her belly with the girls in bikinis she sees on TV? Two? Three? I went on my first diet in third grade. Isn't it so weird and cruel sometimes, being born into a human body? That we are all sort of destined to hate the skin we are in?
I know it’s pretty hypocritical, the fact that I work in fashion, and here I am, blathering on about media depiction of women and the damage it causes. A big part of my job as is concepting a very particular beauty ideal, creating it, executing it, bringing it alive through words and pictures and clothes. Just poke around on our website or social media channels and you’ll know what I mean. Beautiful women everywhere. Some days I find it inspiring, others depressing. Our insecurities make the world of fashion go ‘round. If only there was a magic pill we could all take that made our self-doubt disappear. Imagine how many industries would go out of business. No need to buy the cream. No need to buy the clothes. We’d eat food, not dogma. All you need is love. Easier said than done.
….And can I just say, as an aside and totally unrelated but maybe it is, that I am so F*&*ING sick of this cold weather? It’s been relentless, month after month, the whipping winds, the frigid snow, I’ve been wearing the same long underwear and ski jacket since December, haven’t bothered to shave my legs or apply perfume, what’s the point, it’s all going to be covered up all day anyway. I’m sick of the scarves and sweaters and layers of coats and calendula face cream; I want loose gauze dresses and strappy leather sandals, lemon lotion on my legs and rose oil in my belly button, I want iced coffee with milk + honey and to run down the street with my hair in the air and the warmth everywhere; I want to feel the sun on my skin. Any day now the crocuses are going to come up. I know they will. Just when you are certain it will never be springtime again, the spring comes. The spring comes. –Molly Guy