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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Flaws to Flaunts :: Learning to Love Myself

I was about 14 when I started cutting out pictures of models and taping them to my bedroom wall. I think most girls that age rip out the whole page because they liked the outfit or thought she had great make-up. I only ripped out the body parts — stick-like legs, the super flat tummies and the shoulders that had protruding collar bones. There was something in particular that I liked abut being able to see ribs beneath the skin of the chest. Yes, I wanted to have the gaunt features and my little magazine clippings were meant to remind me of how hard I should be exercising and practicing my ballet. 

Anna, was a girl in my ballet class. She was on the fast track to going pro-ballerina, that is if she didn't end up in the anorexia wing of the hospital first. She used to stand in front of the mirrored wall and hold one hand over her stomach and place the other hand behind her back — she was measuring the width of her waist. I looked like an elephant compared to her. When she lifted her arms gracefully in the air beside her, every muscle in the arm was defined, and the skin across her chest was pulled tighter, exposing those ribs in her chest. I thought it was perfect. 

Her best friend at ballet was Simone. Simone was healthier looking but admittedly still very lean by non-ballet standards. She was convinced that she needed to loss weight (no surprise considering her best friend was the epitome of ballet perfection — what a tough act to compare yourself to!) I realised that I would never look like Anna, she was more petite that my thick British bones could even dream of being. So instead, I set my goals on the more attainable figure of Simone. Se was taller than me though so my legs felt dumpy when I stood beside her at the bar. Never good enough.

Since my ballet days, I've grown out of my habit of counting calories and hating my reflection. I'm actually happy when I look in the mirror each morning, despite the few bits and pieces that could be improved — I think that's quite normal for women though. There's always something we want to change — taller, slimmer, smaller ears, longer hair, less hairy legs, thicker eyebrows. We never seem to find contentment. 

Wouldn't it be fascinating to see how we look through the eyes of other people? Especially through the eyes of the people that love us? Maybe those little "flaws" wouldn't be so bad. Maybe we wouldn't even notice them? Even if we did notice them, maybe we could turn that "flaw" into a "flaunt"? After all, celebrities do it all the time: fat rolls become curves; gappy teeth is suddenly haut couture; freckles becomes sunkissed and moles are actually beauty spots. 
Why not make today the day when your flaws become your flaunts?!