“I wish I had your body,” someone said to me in a locker room. A confronting statement when you’re standing there nearly naked and a stranger comments on your physique. Inwardly, I took it as a compliment but outwardly I’m pretty sure I said, “shut up.” I thought it was ridiculous that somebody would look at somebody who wasn’t shaped like them and confess that they’d rather look like that. My thoughts on body image back then were, rock what you got. Mainly because I liked what I had but also, what other choice did I have? Thin and petite was my literal framework, I wanted to be 5’8” but that didn’t happen and there was no returning this body for a different one. I did and do continue to embrace my physique despite the ubiquitous insult masquerading as a compliment, “you’re so skinny.” Yes, obviously. Must we always point out the obvious? Social norms prevented me from responding with a statement just as obvious, that those pointing out how skinny I was were the opposite. Thin or thick doesn’t really matter. What matters most is the view of the self and of course, health. An excerpt from a past fitness post, now under the category of What’s Up Body? “Health is far more important than aesthetics. There was a time when smoking was the classiest act that could be done. Just because it looks good or tastes good doesn’t automatically mean it is good. Whatever your beautiful is, whatever kind of handsome you are, for the love of yourself, make sure it’s healthy.”-Mindless Peace, Shook
I am skinny, always have been, always enjoyed it. It’s fun because I can fit into small spaces which makes me great at playing hide-and-seek. I attribute my fast metabolism to genes but also having Cerebral Palsy means I expend 3-4 times more energy the average person, which is probably why I can get away with eating a lot of garbage food and not gain any weight. Before accumulating any more eye rolls from those reading these skinny girl confessions, it’s important to know that even though I was embracing the body I had, I wasn’t satisfied with it. Whether it was because women are encouraged to be thin and genetics had gifted me that so I wanted a challenge or it was because, in my opinion, few things look sexier than a muscled up woman, I wanted more. This could also be the reason the main character in the first book I wrote looks the way she does. I didn’t just write about muscles, I built my own. Art does imitate life.
What kind of body do you want? Pick. Height, width, curves, sticks, lean, athletic, muscular, smooth. Decide. Right now. Why is that the body you want? Is it because you really want it or somewhere in life the message of ‘this is how ladies should look’ presented itself? A fitness inspiration of mine, who is ’too jacked’ for some, responded to physical criticisms by saying, “what the hell are we (women) supposed to look like?” Fair question. Whatever we become is guaranteed to be too much for someone. It’s up to us to decide that we are enough.
There are women who get work done for themselves and themselves alone and then there are women who get work done so they won’t end up alone. Consider this aspect carefully. Whatever the reasons for making alterations to the anatomy, start with love. Sounds tacky but it’s true. Funny how hearing clichés makes us not want to listen but those sayings have stuck around for such a long time because they hold weight and the same goes for loving the self. We all have to do it. Even those who are great at self-love need continued practice. It’s an essential part of the Trinity that makes up humans; mind, body, and soul. Step one: love the body you have. Step two: sink into the process.
Always improving doesn’t mean failure to accept. Health over appearance, one hundred. Skinny fat and fat, fat are real. Once upon a time, I had a friend who I thought to be the most physically stunning female I had ever seen in real life. She was what I would refer to now as a personified version of the opening line to ‘Billie Jean.’ Warm eyes, smooth curves, etc. She didn’t believe in the beauty she had. How crazy is that? As if the mirror she looked into every morning was opaque. Once, she even said she wanted to look like me. At the time, her words were lunacy to my ears. I wanted to ask honey, do your eyes work? Ironically this beauty I used to know denounced my version of the ideal body, the mountain of muscle I aspire to replicate worn by Crossfit athlete Brooke Ence who does not sacrifice savagery for femininity, she rocks them both.
Beauty is subjective. Some like muscles and manicures and some don’t.-Genevieve Rose
Brooke Ence herself does some cosmetic maintenance. She’s a strong lioness but not everybody loves it and they’re eager to tell her. How does she handle the opposition? She stays busy rocking what she’s got. She has built a career, an image and a brand on her disciplined fitness and nutrition training and still, people hate on her for that. How sad that some people cannot see the beauty within a beast. How sad that some can’t see how good they have it in the looks department and that others spend insane amounts of money trying to fabricate what they have naturally. How sad that the curvy want to be skinny and the skinny what to be curvy. The shape is not what matters, ladies, the heart is what matters. Literally and metaphorically. Is your heart healthy? You can be skinny and terribly unhealthy on the inside. Same goes for those who are as thick as a milkshake. Check your heart literally and make sure you feel well emotionally. Love your body, love yourself. Any changes made will not happen overnight so prepare for an uphill climb. Slimming down or buffing up doesn’t happen fast, build-a-bod is not available on Amazon Prime. Adding muscle is a steep hike and not a step can afford to be missed. It’s a lengthy, tiresome, satisfying journey. Trust the process. Remember that you already are somebody else’s ultimate beauty. Falling in love with strangers happens everyday. You see someone in a café or on a train and there’s something inexplicable about them. We’ve all fallen and we have all made people fall temporarily and totally in love with us. Beauty exists in many forms. Whether others make that known or not, do yourself a favor and become your own ultimate beauty. “What kind of body do you want?” Someone asked during a routine day of Crossfit. Three of us were warming up with bench presses and we each had different answers to that question. The correct answer for us all is, “The one I