It says blues, but has nothing to do with B.B. King and Etta James.
Where do I begin? Shall I take you back in time? I was about 15, at school and standing in front of a blackboard, holding a tiny piece of chalk in my hand, when a guy’s voice said “Can the blue whale that’s standing in front of the blackboard move aside?” Ah, I forgot to tell you that I was wearing a blue floaty dress that day. As a teen I was always a little (or a bit more) body-conscious since I was reading lots fashion and gossip magazines and the comparison between the way women in them looked and how I looked was unavoidable. In addition I was always taller and a little chubbier than most of my friends, which added to it.
However, when I look back, I know that I definitely didn’t deserve that comment. Not because I under no circumstances resembled a blue whale, but because nobody deserves to be addressed in this hurtful way. Unfortunately, at that point of my life I was too sensitive and too self-conscious to ignore it, so I let my self-confidence hit rock bottom and kept carrying that negative self-image around for many many years.
Even now that I’m much fitter than my 15-year-old self, sometimes I can’t help and go under that body blues phase. I check myself at the mirror too often, think about food constantly, make mental comparisons between me and other women, blame my thighs for not being stick thin and feel very very blue. And all these thoughts engross my mind totally, draining all my energy and hindering me from engaging myself with more important things, like school, friends and how we can combine different types of florals without looking ridiculous.
Last time the body blues hit in was about one week ago. It always happens after I come back home in Athens. There’s always lots of Mama’s food around –always delicious and in generous portions, meeting friends over cups of hot flavored coffee or that addictive substance called Starbucks Chai Latte, seasonal delicacies, fancy cocktails and cafes like Cap Cap, whose Mud Cake is so mouthwatering that you have to close your eyes to savor it properly. I enjoy trying new things, so I rarely pass by the opportunity to taste something different –or to hunt for the best pizza in Athens. Well into my body blues phase, I was sitting at a café with my mum. When I realized that I was subconsciously trying to think of a way to sit so as not to accentuate my tummy, I knew I had to do something to put an end to it. So I opened up and spilled out everything that had been piling up in my head. I talked about how I felt guilty after treating myself to something sweet and how I never judged others about their bodies yet I was so mean to me. About how stupid I felt when my body-conscious thoughts take over my brain, leaving me no time and space to think about other things. About how at a perfectly healthy BMI I felt fat. It was not my body that was causing the problem, but my mindset.
She looked at me thoughtfully and started talking. She said lots of things, but I’d like to share one piece of advice that I keep in mind when the body blues kick in: “When negative thoughts overwhelm your mind, try to think of happy things in the near or distant future. Sometimes I’m in my car, driving to work, feeling completely stressed about what I’m going to do about the x, y issue. Then I take a deep breath and think of things that make me happy, like my Russian lesson or meeting my daughter after work for coffee. We need balance; not only in the way we eat, but also in the way we think.”
Feeling a lot better –if not relieved, after a couple days I decided to test my new mindset and entered a clothing shop. I tried on many different garments; some looked well on, some didn’t. I had a red peplum skirt on (a confession: I used to hate that shape till… recently!); it accentuated my legs while concealing my love handles. And then I had my own eureka moment: Instead of agonizing about how to fit into clothes, I had to look for clothes that fitted me well. Ok, I might never look that good into a body con dress, but what about all these A-line dresses that make me look pretty without actually trying –or holding my breath for the rest the night?
And since all good things come in three, I had my last body-related revelation last weekend, while talking with a friend over chicken-filled panini –they were divine! I mentioned the aforementioned piece of advice my mum gave me, when she made her point in a quite interesting way. Her exact words went like this: “I’ve never heard of a couple that was cuddling in bed when the guy caressed the girl’s middle and said “Honey, I think you could afford to lose a couple pounds”, just because she was a little chubby. Nor have I ever heard of a couple where the guy looked at his girlfriend’s flawless, fatless body in lingerie and said “Darling, your BMI is ideal.” If our bodies are accepted as they are, or even admired by others, why is it so hard for us to respectthem, too?
These were my recent revelations and I felt like sharing them with you. I’d love to read your opinions, so feel free to comment (you can leave a comment even if you don’t have a Google account!)
|It’s all a matter of perspective.|