Ever since I turned thirty I have had the irrational fear of waking up with a brand new tummy. I refer to this little fear as ‘my own personal Budda gut’. Long gone are the days when I could sip on a Slim Fast for two days and drop 10 pounds (jeez, I wish I was the weight I was when I thought I was fat!). Now that I am in my thirties, I have tried to adopt a healthier relationship with my body, and appreciate the curves that I have developed. I have also come to terms with the fact that maintaining my shape is a daily task, and loving my shape is a lifelong battle. This is all so much easier said than done. Why is it so easy to see the beauty in others, and neglect to see the radiance staring back at us in the mirror? Some days I am my own worst enemy, and no amount of makeup can make me feel better when my jeans are tight. Since I often write in my blog about the importance of inner beauty, I decided to try and practice what I preach.
On the days when I want to burn every pair of jeans I own, and forever hide in my sweatpants, I turn to one of my favorite books. I have counted on The Good Body by Eve Ensler to get me through these moments (and the countless other muffin top catastrophes). I have re-read this book several times, and even keep it near my desk for instants when I need the boost of affirmation. Eve Ensler created this book of monologues to demystify the way women of all cultures and backgrounds are compelled to nip, tuck, tighten, and lop off parts of their bodies in order to fit in. She is brutally honest, funny, and heartbreakingly real in her quest to understand the source of women's obsession with obtaining physical perfection. The book is based on Ensler's own struggles with her belly, but it's also a script that includes years of research and a series of intimate conversations with women from over the world. Every time I read this book I feel less inclined to grab at my wobbly bits in disgust. I read this book, look at my body and am thankful that it is strong.
“This play is an expression of my hope, my desire, that we will all refuse to be Barbie, that we will say no to the loss of the particular, whether it be to a voluptuous woman in a silk sari, or a woman with defining lines of character in her face, or a distinguishing nose, or olive toned skin, or wild curly hair. I am stepping off the capitalist treadmill. I am going to take a deep breath and find a way to survive not being flat or perfect. I am inviting you to join me, to stop trying to be anything, anyone other than who you are. I was moved by women in Africa, who lived close to the earth and didn’t understand what it meant to not love their body. I was lifted by older women in India, who celebrated their roundness. I was inspired by Marion Woodman, a great Jungian analyst, who gave me confidence to trust what I know. She has said that “instead of transcending ourselves, we must move into ourselves.”Tell the image makers and magazine sellers and the plastic surgeons that you are not afraid. That what you fear the most is the death of imagination and originality and metaphor and passion. Then be bold and LOVE YOUR BODY. STOP FIXING IT. It was never broken.”