We three are insanely lucky when it comes to love. We get to pursue our dreams and the music that we love, we are surrounded by friends and family who love us and we have each other. We are spoiled when it come to love. Most people can easily talk about the qualities they love in others, so why is it that so many of us struggle to love and accept ourselves in the same unconditional way? We want to explore this a question, as we’re eager to join the body positive movement and help ourselves and others bring a little more self-love to the party. Loving your body is a lifelong battle for most people, both men and women alike. We can only speak from the experience of being women, so that is how we will frame what contribute to this conversation. So read on knowing this is only half the story.
Lizzy on loving others:
"When I think about how I love my friends, my parter or my family I find myself with a stupid grin on my face. Maybe I'm on the bus, or buying a coffee and I just think about someone I love. I zone out and glaze over with a blurry eyed smile that probably makes me seem insane to anyone in the surrounding area. Seriously, this happens all the time. I'm so lucky it's ridiculous."
All three of us feel this way. We love love and we're not afraid to spread the word! We don't write all of this just to brag about our lives and all the love get to give and recieve. We write about this to illustrate how ridiculous it is that when we look in the mirror we sometimes don't see love. We don't always see respect, talent, beauty or passion like we see when we look at our friends and each other. In fact, sometimes we don't see anything. Sometimes we look away. And we know this is something most people can relate to.
Maggie on body image:
“My first body image struggle was about my skin. I didn’t want to leave the house without 'putting on my face'. I chose not to wear pants because the skin on my legs would get so dry it could crack. I would avoid showing my back and chest because they are covered in imperfections like pimples and moles. Not embracing my skin for what it is and instead covering it up, only made it worse. It’s a never ending cycle.
My health is the other reason I’ve gone through self loathing. People assume because I'm ‘skinny’ that I have a eating disorder or that I do drugs. I LOVE food and have never even tried a cigarette. I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease, which for someone who's main diet was always gluten, has been a real eye opener. The thing I loved most was actually causing me pain and making me very sick. The problem is, when something is hurting you on the inside, people can't tell on the outside why you’re always going to bed early or not wanting to leave the house. Before finding out I had celiac, I was exhausted and constantly had stomach attacks. This lead to loosing too much weight, mood swings and anxiety. Celiac doesn't allow you to absorb nutrients from food, so whatever food did stay in me wasn't being absorbed. It can also cause, wouldn't ya know it, skin problems.”
All three of us have struggled with body image and feeling beautiful in our own ways. Some days we can get close, but the love we're able to express is full of exceptions. "I love you except for that stupid thing you said at work yesterday.” "I love you except for the way you acted while fighting with your boyfriend.” "I love you except for your double chin.” Believe us, we could go on.
Alex on body image:
“Growing up I was never a petit or super thin kid. I was the tallest person in my class (including the boys) until grade 5 or 6. And I was a total tomboy. I think that was partly because I wanted to to be treated like an equal by the boys, but if I’m honest, a big part of it was feeling more comfortable hiding in baggy overalls and ripped jeans instead of trying to dress cute like the other girls. For as long as I can remember I have hated having a little extra in my mid-section, and that was only exacerbated when I had a baby and got the dreaded stretch marks all over my lower stomach. I’ve had to work really hard to accept my post-baby body, which I think a lot of moms feel. Why is it that moms have such a hard time thanking our bodies for doing literally the hardest thing it can do? I’m trying to learn to thank my body for the things it has accomplished, and slowly that’s helping me build a better body positive image of myself.”
Lizzy on body image:
“From a young age we are bombarded by feminine ideals instead of reality. When I learned about cellulite I was horrified. When I realized I have cellulite and there's nothing I can do about it, I was destroyed. I was 12 and I considered myself less valuable. When I grew to be 5'9" and realized I would never feel cute and petite like the women on TV, I felt like a monster. This kind of lifelong exposure to self deprecating thoughts and habits wears on a person. You can't just look into the mirror one day after realizing that the patriarchy has been controlling the media and our sense of self is based off of one small group of people defining what a woman should look like and say ‘Oh shit! I'm actually awesome. I've been wrong all these years. I love you!’ ”
Let’s make it better together:
So this is our challenge to you, as well as ourselves. Look in the mirror once a day and say "I love you" to yourself. Just try it. Break down those walls that have been built up in your head constantly saying “you would be better if…”
If that's too hard, start small. Recognize something about yourself everyday that you do love. "I love the way I am killing it at work!" or "I love the way my hair looks today.“ Then think about the way you love others. Think about how easy it is when you love someone to accept them as a full person. Imperfections and all. Love is not made up of exceptions, it is all inclusive. It applies to you too.
As for us, we plan to re-define what used to wear us down and repossess our self worth! Our anxiety over cellulite will become "I love my curves and booty!” Instead of thinking of ourselves as too skinny, not skinny enough, too tall, not good enough, even monsters, we are choosing the perspective that we are amazons who are just the right size, with just the right qualities to contribute to the world.
Just try it. Try to look in the mirror and say "I love you" with the same genuine expression that you extend to your loved ones. It’s very hard. But it’s something we could all benefit from. The old adage of “fake it ’til you make it” might actually apply to loving yourself too. Maybe at first you will have to force yourself to express self love. But maybe in time we will all feel it like a new little voice constantly in our heads that no longer chirps about being better/more/different and now coos little love poems to us about all the amazing things we already are.
All our love and acceptance,