Learning to Embrace Your Imperfections
Like Bridget Jones, I have wobbly bits, and I have spent the best part of my twenty something years on this earth trying to keep these offensive squishy areas out of sight. Even as a little girl at ballet class and swimming lessons I made a conscious effort to suck my tummy in and stick to dark corners where ever possible, so when I first met my boyfriend, R, I was determined to keep my wobbly bits firmly under wraps. Like Mark Darcy, R has always insisted that he has a very high regard for my wobbly bits, but for the first few years of our relationship I was convinced that he was either lying or totally mad.
When you switch on the television or flick through a magazine there isn’t usually a great deal of diversity in the types of beauty represented. Sadly, somewhere along the way, we as a society have gotten into the mindset that there is really only one look that can be considered attractive: thin, with tanned skin, big boobs, wide eyes, a small button nose and full lips. Cute little quirks that break this mould are seen as flaws and far too often “fixed” – dieted away, covered with makeup or changed with plastic surgery.
Although we often conform to the notion that we have to look a set (unrealistic) way to be attractive, I believe deep down, we all know this isn’t true. In our heart of hearts we understand that there are infinite forms of beauty. Think of your very best friend, your sister, or your mum. She probably isn’t physically perfect – she might have some wobbly bits, stretch marks or freckles, a bump on her nose, knobbly knees, crooked teeth or all of the above - but do you think she’s unattractive? Do you find her ugly? Do you think she needs to change? Of course you don’t. You think she’s beautiful. You find those imperfections endearing and gorgeous – they are part of what makes her, her.
Similarly, we love celebrities who haven’t succumbed to the surgeon’s scalpel, and who have instead embraced the features that set them apart from the cookie-cutter beauty favoured in Hollywood. Sarah Jessica Parker’s nose, the gap in Anna Paquin’s teeth, Lucy Liu’s Freckles – we love these qualities because they make their owners different. Instead of trying to correct their “flaws”, Parker, Paquin and Liu have embraced their quirks as trademarks and we salute them for that, but for some reason we can’t do the same for ourselves. We think, on her it’s unique, it’s cute, it’s special, but on me it’s wierd, it’s flawed, it’s ugly.
It’s time for this negative self talk to stop. It’s time we learned not only to accept our “flaws” but to celebrate them. Those wobbly bits are a symbol of all the wonderful meals you have shared with loved ones. That scar is a memento of your past. Those freckles are a token of happy hours spent in the sunshine. That squishy tummy is symbolic of the life you created when you carried a child. That nose is a legacy of your heritage. Those laugh lines represent a life-time of smiles. These are not flaws – they are the marks of a life well-lived. They make you unique, they tell your story and they are beautiful.
With time, I grew more comfortable in myself around my boyfriend and confident that, no matter what flaws were hidden under my clothes, he wouldn’t run screaming for the hills. My determination to hide the parts of myself that I was self conscious about gradually softened and I realised the only person in our relationship who actually had a problem with my wobbly bits, was me. Because it’s ok to have wobbly bits. Infact, it’s unusual for a woman not to. I will never be six foot tall, athletic and tanned, but this doesn’t make me unattractive, undesirable or unworthy – this just makes me, me. Slowly but surely I’m learning to love what my mama gave me and I’m making the most of my best assets. I’m accepting the way that I am, I’m rejoicing in the knowledge that there is more than one type of “beautiful” and I’m dancing about the lounge room in my undies – wobbly bits and all.
Kisses and Hugs,