Work has been busy so I haven’t been paying much attention to the interwebs, but a few days ago something came to my attention via Facebook and it’s literally got my virtual panties in a bunch.
The more I think about this, the more upset I get – not at the sad, frightened woman who posted it, but the people who made her this way.
Parents, teachers, friends, church elders, etc.. but mainly, I’m looking at you, media.
Women are bombarded with not-so subtle messages that we’re not worth the proverbial plugged nickel if we’re not perfect. Turning off the TV won’t help – it’s everywhere. Magazines, books, bus benches, billboards, hell, even the library, and look what it’s done to this poor woman.
Made her think she’s not beautiful just the way she is. Made her think she’s in danger of losing her husband if he looks at a photo of another woman – so he must ‘protect his eyes, protect his heart’ from Instagram.
This is beyond infuriating.
Women’s insecurities have been parlayed into a multi-billion dollar jackpot (Botox! Bleaching! Filler! Tummy tucks! Booty lifts! Plastic fun bags! Glop in a jar! Glop in a tube! Quack weight loss remedies! Enemas – oh, wait… wrong rant) that’s convincing women they’re ‘bound to the tankini with the granny skirt’ because they think they’re not perfect unless they pay dearly for crap in a jar or unnecessary surgery.
Don’t get me wrong – I don’t have anything against tankinis with skirts. Some of them are adorable.
But ‘adorable’ is the reason to wear one, not ‘I have to cover up because I don’t measure up to an image’.
It’s not a sledgehammer, it’s a thousand tiny cuts.
Sister, I don’t know you or your husband, and your marital issues are none of my business, but life is too short to worry about things you can’t control.
I’d like to introduce you to Go Kaleo. Also known as Amber Rogers, she’s a personal trainer who is all about being strong and awesome and not giving a flying you-know-what about the scale or what you think others think of you. Give her site a gander. Trust me.
Let’s talk about regrets for a moment.
You know what I regret? I regret the years I spent being so insecure – that was most of my 20s – when I was young and much hotter than I am now.
I regret turning down an invitation to go cruise on a very, very nice yacht with a very nice, very single guy because I didn’t want him to see how fat I was.
Note: I have never been fat. Ever. Not once in my entire life. But the insecurity caused me to look in the mirror and see only my shortcomings.
I regret allowing myself to be eaten from the inside with the cancerous fear that I wasn’t measuring up to the heavily retouched photos of what a woman should be. That any small imperfection would ruin my life and make me the laughingstock of people whose names and faces I no longer remember.
I regret giving in to the fear that people were judging me all the time. More than once, I ran out of a party to my car, where I would change clothes to appease the madding crowd. Never mind the ignoble strife.
That terrible insecurity did, in fact, for a time, ruin my life, but one day something inside me snapped (which is a story for another post), and suddenly, I no longer cared about other people’s opinions.
For a while my Facebook photo was me, running down the beach in a bikini and a pirate hat, arms aloft in Nixon’s double peace sign, reveling in all my middle-aged glory.
I might not be super hot, but I’m free from bondage.
And that’s worth so, so very much.
I invite you to join me.