In the very wise words of a wise 13 year old, is there anything good about being a woman? I’m assuming by now that the world will know about the show Big Mouth, if not, please check it out. It’s not necessary for this blog, but it ties it together quite nicely.
I want to talk about something today that I feel doesn’t really get addressed often. Or at all, actually. Something myself and many other woman I know personally, have had to figure out on their own, very frustratingly, might I add. It’s about the female body. *gasp* If you are at all offended by the subject of the female body, then see yourself out.
By now, you’ll all know where I stand on being a woman in the fitness industry, how I feel about it, my own struggles with body confidence throughout the year and how I really feel about working out. A lot of subject matter already covered, I know, but it’s something I talk openly about.*
*Please check out my blog post “I don’t want to go to the gym”for reference.
But something I’m noticing lately due to how happy I am to talk about such issues, is how completely shaken up woman are about the changes in their bodies as they get older. The thing is, we’re taught in school at a young age that our bodies change when we go through puberty. Puberty, as I remember, was a confusing and truly horrible time of change and confusion regarding things about my body and mind. It was terrible, I’m sure it’s terrible for everyone, but when you’re a woman you get the pleasure of bleeding once every month. As if that isn’t bad enough, you have atleast two weeks on one end of that where you feel like trash. It’s quite terrible. With that knowledge, we also know quite commonly about menopause when we get older. The hot flashes, weight gain, or maybe weight loss, changes in sexual drive, changes in preferences, changes in appearance. It’s basically just a life of change.
A life of change.
It doesn’t stop with those two, ladies. Unfortunately, so. What happens in the middle, I hear you ask? Allow me to explain as best as I can. When I was 22 years old I entered into a wonderful relationship to a man who is now my husband. After the first year I started noticing some unusual things happening to my body. My weight hadn’t particularly fluctuated outside of the normal relationship weight I experienced at the beginning, but I was noticing my composition completely changing when I was looking in the mirror. I remember feeling ashamed of how I looked as I noticed stretch marks that hadn’t been there before, and my boobs all but doubled in size. Was I pregnant? I remember asking myself when my cravings for foods began changing from my norm, to something else entirely. I wasn’t pregnant, as it turned out, so what was happening to me?
I decided the best thing for me to do was to ask a medical professional, and so I did. My moods were changing too, I told my nurse as she examined me. She measured my dimensions, took my weight, my blood- but to no avail. Nothing seems to be wrong, she told me. She wasn’t worried about my health after all I discussed with her. Are you on birth control? I was. Maybe come off for a while and see how it goes, so I did.
When I went back to see her again I was as frustrated as ever. Nothing seemed to be changing, but she had a whole new revelation for me to consider. She explained to me how a woman’s body tends to change during this period of our lives, it’s different for every woman, but it happens.
Over time I began to understand what she meant. I had noticed these changes around the time I start seeing my (now) husband as someone I wanted to have children with. Over time, my mind started communicating with my body to tell it that “I was ready” even though at the time, I wasn’t. It was just something I considered. The thing is, as sophisticated as the communication between our body and mind is, it also lacks a very important element of communication, it doesn’t consider outside factors, personal preferences or what we actually desire in life. Biologically speaking, regardless of you wanting children or not, your body doesn’t really know that, so it just assumes you do, and changes for you. Thanks, body.
Look, you can fight against social norms and standards and you can fight for your right to make a decision for yourself, as a woman, man or a member of this world, but you can’t fight against biology- it’s the only thing we have that really fucks up a good idea. But that’s just it…our bodies change. And they keep changing. Over and over. Like a cycle of annoyance and frustration. But it doesn’t have to be that way; it could be a cycle of acceptance and love if we just let it. I’m just as frustrated at my body as the next gal, but who of us aren’t? I think it’s about damn time we give ourselves a break. Stop talking about diets, stop talking about the gym, stop talking and clothing labels. Just stop. No one cares apart from you. We live in a world obsessed with size and numbers, yet we aren’t obsessed about learning about why all of that might be.
We should be encouraging our children to understand this. If I had this knowledge at a younger age, I might have been able to better prepare myself for what’s to come. But instead, here we are, I only learned at the ripe age of 25, and to me I feel like that’s unacceptable. It’s just as important to learn about our bodies and the way they change as it is to learn about safe sex, in my opinion. Especially with such a rise in body dysmorphic disorders and eating disorders and just general mental illnesses. We should be learning how to love our ever changing body.
I’d be absolutely kidding myself if I ever thought I was going to look the same as I did when I was 19- because the truth is I never will. And neither will you. But for goodness sake, that doesn’t make you any less beautiful.
It doesn’t. I promise you.
So ladies, embrace your body for all that is, all that it was and all that it will be. It’s the only one you have! And reach out to our fellow sisters to teach them to do the same! By all means, live an active and healthy life, but don’t grow to resent your body as a result. Shit changes, it’s not a reflection on you as a human being and if you think it is, sit yourself down and have a long thing.
Stop this comparing and contrasting to old pictures that popped up on Facebook, and stop letting people pass comment on your looks like it’s the only thing that matters. Maybe even stop passing comments on how other people look, too. You’re all badass. You’re all beautiful and you deserve to shower yourself with compliments and love.