When I first pitched my blog idea to a friend, she wrote the following:
“I love that you hope to embrace life and all the positive moments that you experience living your life. This being said, remind yourself that nobody is perfect. It is also worth noting and accepting your own flaws or mistakes, because that is a fantastic way to approach perfection.”
First- what is perfection? What does it mean to be perfect?
After a quick Oxford dictionary check, and the answer to perfection doesn’t answer any questions, it only puts forth more questions. The most basic definition says: having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.
Which makes me ask: What are the required or desirable elements? Characteristics? What is as good as it is possible to be? Who makes those elements? Us? Someone else? Society? Our friends? Our lovers?
The subject of perfection is complicated, and I hope that during this challenge, I will have the chance to tackle it better and debate it from different sides and perspectives. In this post I want to simply approach it from one perspective:
If I was to try and build the perfect woman according to what I garner from society, I would build her from those qualities or elements that Tina Few mentions in her amazingly hilarious and accurate book Bossy Pants. The quote is over to the left, but in case it’s too small, here’s what she has to say:
“But I think the first real change in women’s body image came when JLo turned it butt-style. That was the first time that having a large-scale situation in the back was part of mainstream American beauty. Girls wanted butts now. Men were free to admit that they had always enjoyed them. And then, what felt like moments later, boom—Beyoncé brought the leg meat. A back porch and thick muscular legs were now widely admired. And from that day forward, women embraced their diversity and realized that all shapes and sizes are beautiful.
Ah ha ha. No. I’m totally messing with you. All Beyonce and JLo have done is add to the laundry list of attributes women must have to qualify as beautiful.
Now every girl is expected to have Caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama, and doll tits.
The person closest to actually achieving this look is Kim Kardashian, who, as we know, was made by Russian scientists to sabotage our athletes”
The pressure to have those “qualities, or elements” as Tina mentions, is what society is telling us is “perfection” in terms of the female body. (Please note I’m leaving behind the entire bag of other female pressures of perfection such as succeeding in work, and being a mother, etc..: topics I will discuss in later blog posts)
It’s those pressures that drive women to hate themselves and their bodies. BUT, as Tina states at the end, it’s impossible. The women we see in the magazines are airbrushed to make us believe they come close, women starve themselves, hurt themselves, and perform surgery just to get to some ideal that is impossible. Just to fulfill what others believe is perfect. What we are expected to be.
But, if perfection is as Oxford dictionary states, “having all those desired elements”, then why do I need to follow what society defines as those desired elements? Is it not just as plausible that every women writes their own list of desired elements? Elements or qualities that are freed from societies pressures? It’s therefore in this sense, that embracing all of ourselves, even those parts that aren’t embraced by society, that we can reach our own perfection. This means there is no one definition of perfection, there is no one perfection. We are each perfection, but only once we allow ourselves to accept this. It means there are no “body” flaws. We might need to work on our health, or our level of activity, but being “overweight” or “chubby” or having “small breasts” or “large hips” are not flaws. They are us. Accepting them means accepting our own perfection.
I’m well aware that it’s difficult for us. I’ve stated in this blog several times the difficulty women have in accepting themselves, and their own perfection. There’s an inherent flaw in society that stops us from this acceptance, and this self love, that is consistently perpetuated by the media, other women, men, and most tragically, ourselves.
For myself, I concede my own failure to divert from societies pressures. BUT I also see in myself an improvement. I’ve taken the first steps for the last 16 days to begin, step by step, to sketch out my own “elements” and “qualities” that are coming to define my own perfection. That being said, thus far in my blog, I’ve gone easy on myself, picking parts of my body, that I find are easy to love. That doesn’t mean, that I viewed them with perfection though. Now, I want to change my perception, and say, “I love them, they are perfect, they are me.” Understanding that perfection is subjective, means freeing oneself from the pressure. Yet, for next week, I challenge myself to look at one of those parts of my bodies that I’ve always felt uncomfortable with, and try to love it, and rise it to perfection. It means looking straight into the light (or the darkness) and accepting elements, I haven’t in the past.
For today: I love my spirit to continue on this challenge and tackle these subjects. I love my lower back. Why? It hurts from the 10K last night, and so I’m passing a little extra loving to it so it’ll feel better 😉