Urban Bird: Learning to love your enemy
One of the scourges of modern society, well of the last 150 years is the fact that women have been made to consider their body to be their enemy. Where as once we squeezed and pinched ourselves into corsets, now we put ourselves through punishing gym routines. But, as most girls will agree, the fluorescent lights and humiliation of the communal changing room still leave us feeling miserable. I run a constant battle with my body which will put up with a restricted calorie total for a couple of weeks until it forces me into feeding it the sugar it craves so desperately.
It is the same with all the women I know. It is not necessarily
that they want to be thinner, it is just that they are straining to
reach a personal physical ideal that genetics simply won't let them
meet. Thinner thighs are possible, longer legs are not. I do have one
friend, though, who has made her body her friend and she is slowly
teaching me to love myself. It is just that in order to achieve this
state of synergy with her physical health she has had to undertake some fairly extreme aversion therapy.
'It is simple Damson. I simply spend ten minutes, twice a day, looking at myself naked in a mirror and learning to love myself. Try it! It works, honest.'
I was very sceptical, as were most of the other friends she imparted this pearl of wisdom to. They dismissed it on the spot. I, on the other hand, decided to give it a go.
I wanted to believe but, the first few times I tried this most
extreme of therapies, I was convinced it would never work. I would
look at myself and try desperately to make myself like my bumps and
curves, but years of being bombarded with airbrushed images of women
made me fail to see the beauty in a normal human body. Yet, there was
the evidence that it did. My friend, who Rubens would lust over with
abandon, positively loves the opportunity to disrobe and will do so at
the drop of a hat. I am still pursuing this and I have seen a few
improvements. I no longer cringe when I see myself getting out of the
bath, in the large mirror in the bathroom. As I stand in front of the
mirror and practice making nice comments about all the major parts of
my body, I sense a slow change in my attitudes. While I am still not
fond of communal changing rooms, perhaps one day the horror of the
experience will decrease!
Now, I am not going to start ranting about Western Media and their
creation of an impossible ideal for those of us older then 17, but at
some point we are all going to have to learn to love ourselves... for
the sake of our self-esteem and our physical and mental health. If
standing naked in front of a mirror and spouting self-affirmation is one way of learning to love oneself, then I for one will give it a try. I commend it to the house.