{the real me}

Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note!

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!

Do you ever think that you have several different bodies? The one you’re in right now, and then your real body, the one that’s leaner, more muscular, has better skin?

Last week freelance writer and blogger Kate, who blogs at “Eat the Damn Cake,” wrote a brilliant post about these several bodies. Your real body, she writes:

… might be from the past or the future. It’s mysterious, but thoroughly detailed. The real body gets obscured by the obnoxious, floppy, hungry, unflattering  current one. The real body is like a place you really, really want to go. Where life makes more sense. Where it’s sunnier and you can wear a bathing suit without even thinking about it.

And so naturally, we think that losing weight, losing that added baggage, which was never ours to begin with, will bring us closer to the real us. The us that’s free of fat, cellulite, stretch marks. That getting rid of these things would make us right somehow.

Kate writes:

It’s easy sometimes to imagine flicking the imperfections off, like flies, like splotches of dried mud. That’s not supposed to be there! Get rid of it! I can recite a list of my body’s mistakes as long as my unfortunate body itself. I think I think that if I could just correct them, then I would be exactly right. Then I would be better and more like the real me.

The real me always had a flatter stomach and smaller hips. And somehow that flatter stomach and those smaller hips would translate into more confidence, more adventure, less anxiety, a happier life.

But the reality is that the pursuit of that flatter stomach and those smaller hips made me miserable, anxious, obsessive and unhealthy. It felt like holding onto something that wasn’t there in the first place. The fake me.

Kate encourages readers to stop waiting and realize that this is the real you. This is your real body right now. She writes: “This body I have right now, it’s my body. It’s not just a temp, keeping things going until my better body gets back from that vacation in the Bahamas (she’s always wearing this ridiculous little white bikini…).”

There’s no reason to put your life on pause, to ignore your needs or to punish yourself until you’ve shed X amount of pounds or fixed your physicality in other ways.

As Kate beautifully writes (my favorite part):

Enough waiting. For thinspiration to strike or the weight to go to the boobs or the surgery to correct the nose or the desire for dessert to flake away and vanish. So that you can finally wear those jeans you’re meant to wear or that low cut dress you’ve been saving or that shirt or those sunglasses that only look good on a thinner bridge. Enough looking in the mirror and seeing the ghost of that other, more perfect body, taunting you. Enough ascribing success and happiness and good taste in wall art and the ability to make hilarious jokes to the type of look you think you should but don’t have.

There is only one real body. It’s this one. With the fuzzy eyebrows and splotchy skin. With the still-arrogant nose and the adorable lips. With whatever it is that makes your body itself.

Screw waiting. I’m gonna run around all over the place, wearing whatever I want, being the real me.

Because the interesting thing is that once you stop searching, nit-picking, calorie-counting, restricting, you find that the real you has always been there. It’s simply been hidden by self-critical thoughts, body-bashing, our warped, thin-obsessed culture.

What’s really there is a body that deserves care, that deserves to be moved and nourished and protected. The one that does a lot for you. The one that deserves unconditional appreciation and love.

You know, the real you.