A couple weeks ago on his late night show, Jimmy Fallon asked people to post things to Twitter with the hashtag #whyimsingle. When the show was over, Joel and I went to Twitter and looked at what funny things people had posted.
I'll admit, I haven't always had the highest self-esteem, and there are still days when I struggle. But some of what I read on Twitter made me so sad.
"Still don't understand #whyimsingle... I was cute that one time."
"because I don't meet people's looks standards"
"I'm ugly, boys don't like me, and that's it"
"because I look like this"
"There is nothing to love about me"
"wanna know why i'm single? one word... face."
"there's a reason why i'm single and it's called my face."
"well just look at me"
"because I'm convinced I deserve this: (picture of cute boys)"
"I know nobody likes me."
"Because who would love a girl with huge thighs, cuts up and down her arms and legs, and an ugly face?"
Recently I heard someone, in front of girls her own age and much younger (read: still dressing like princesses), talking about how she was so ugly she needed plastic surgery. I later told Joel I never want our daughters to hear people they look up to talking like that, regardless of whether they're part of the conversation or paying attention.
In my experience, there are two major groups of people who call themselves ugly: those who really have issues and need help, and those who don't - people who think it's funny or acceptable or want someone to tell them they're wrong. (I'm not discounting their insecurities - probably all of us have days or moments where we don't feel 100% about ourselves.) I had some rough years self-esteem wise growing up, and when I hear people discuss their insecurities with so much exaggeration, my experiences feel... is cheapened the right word? When you talk vehemently about hating your body when you don't, I literally feel sick. You make me feel like you cannot possibly understand real struggles people have regarding their bodies if you can make such jokes about them.
Think of someone you love and admire. A hero. Imagine (s)he gave you a car. How many of you would drive it around, with him/her in the passenger seat, complaining about how ugly it was? And yet, how many of us do exactly that about our bodies?
Please, ladies and gentlemen. Stop talking this way. Stop teaching children it's okay to hate their bodies. Stop shoving God's greatest creation in His face and telling Him it's not good enough. When you talk about it over and over and over and over with so many people, it just gets worse. You think about it longer and more often; it becomes more real. And you make it harder for me, too.
I'm pretty happy with my body. It's a different weight than I wish it were, but I have learned to appreciate that that's me. That's my body. It is a gift and it is wonderful, and even though I have occasional rough patches, keeping that attitude has really been working out for me. I purposely haven't weighed myself in three years because it only results in negativity. When I go to the doctor, I stand on the scale backwards and ask the nurse not to tell me. But when I hear my thin friend call herself fat, I feel like a whale. And I'm not a whale! If she can call herself fat when she's obviously not, what in the world does she think about me when I weigh more? So I suck in. Or I hold a blanket or pillow over my belly. Or I leave the room, stand up to straighten the skin folds, or bury my face in a book so I can tune out the world. And that's not fair.
Are you responsible for my self-esteem? Of course not. And the fact that your insecurities remind me of my own are merely a sign that I have more improvements to make. But please. Can we please support each other? Can we please stop pretending like it's okay to trash talk our bodies? Can we please accept ourselves as we are and help others do the same? I'm not asking you to throw out your makeup or stop trying to lose weight, but please start letting yourself see that you are, in fact, good enough. My future children will learn too soon that it's an option to dislike their bodies, but you can bet they will not learn it from my example. And I'm asking you to please be a good example, too.
As for those of you who think you're single because of how you look, learn what you can do to dress in more flattering clothes or learn to use makeup properly, and then get used to yourself. Learn to like you. Your confidence will make you more attractive than your attractiveness will.
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
"The three dresses of the sun, moon, and stars she put into a nutshell, put on her mantle of all kinds of fur, and blackened her face and hands with soot. Then she commended herself to God, and went away, and walked the whole night until she reached a great forest."
"Allerleirauh," Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales
"Allerleirauh," Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales