Yes. There is this twisted grotesque ideal deep in my subconscious of looking like an 8th grade boy – no curves. Lean muscle.
But I have to give props ot Amerie and this video in particular for being a powerful image of what beautiful IS.
I was living in Santa Monica and teaching for LAUSD and running marathons when this song came out. I instantly became obsessed with this video. Yeah, the tune is fun. The beat is good. She’s cute.
But. Her thighs.
For real. Check it out. They are amazing.
And I started to realize that being strong was also beautiful. At the time, running the amount I did, I wasn’t slimming down. If anything it was the opposite. That’s another post altogether – the myth that being a serious over the top runner means you’re super healthy and fit…
I loved this video. I loved this women. I loved that mini skirt and that she wore those short shorts with that gold top. And the heels.
And not because she was overly sexy.
Because at the time, skinny skinny was the thing. This is the time period of Paris Hilton and that Ritchie girl. My body didn’t feel like it could ever obtain those standards for beauty. And being in LA / Santa Monica, it’s not like you’re completely sheltered from “the in look.” It’s everywhere. It’s like oozing up from the sewers… This idea of perfection and what it should look like seemed like it was in the water. Maybe it was just me? Maybe I am very susceptible to suggestions? And I know I desperately want to feel like I fit in and am accepted.
So, that brings me to a particular thought… Wanting to be part of the group yet separate. Anyone else have this? I was a smoker. But I smoked the kind of cigarettes that were unique – Parliament Lights or Du Maurier (see, you’ve never even heard of that one, right? well, a few people who read this might…) and I drank beer that was unique – La Fin du Monde anyone? And to this day, I like to have the unusual – but something that is just outside the usual. I want to stand out… Oh boy… Another blog post brewing!
Back to Amerie.
She is strong. Those legs are powerful. Beautiful.
I decided – I could be strong AND beautiful.
It’s all about sexy lately, right? Is that because the feminine is ‘sexy’ and the masculine inherently isn’t? Or is that because the femine energy is growing stronger and needs a way to be expressed and therefore we are dressing sexier – dancing sexier – talking, singing, writing sexier – cooking sexier? Our culture is oozing sex. The music and ads and tv shows and movies and videos. But this sexiness is taking different forms. Beyoncé is super sexy, right? Her body looks nothing like Paris Hilton or Kate Moss (although I do feel there’s been something of a slim down – go blonde – be more white thing that has happened – and then when Formation dropped people realized she wasn’t white… um, duh? was she playing us? Maybe. Smart.) and those women, the models, the fashion magazines set the standard for sexy. However, there seems to be a growing belief that sexy can look different from the model on the cover of Vogue.
For me, Amerie was the first sexy I saw that I felt was ‘like me.’ I could get strong thighs (they were strong already but I knew I could get more definition). I could walk with that swagger with my strong thighs.
So the desire to disappear into thinness still exists in there. Deep inside. Sometimes it shows up. I’ve had to realize that instead of thinking “this is me,” I need to say – oh, hello my need to disappear. Why did you show up today? What are you here to teach me? What feelings am I having that brought you out of my basement?
It’s the one thing that’s got me trippin.
I don’t know much about Amerie. Maybe this was a thin version of her? Maybe they “fixed” her thighs to look like that? But then there was a that girl dancing who was a silhouette. She was stacked. I didn’t see that as ‘fat.’ I saw that as WOMAN. It was a different image for me. It struck me totally differently. It resonated differently with every fiber of my being.
And this was a game changer for me.
It was the start of a healthier view of beautiful. That strong was beautiful. That skinny – stick skinny with no curves, gaunt face, bones sticking out – wasn’t actually beautiful.
This fight is tough. The “I want to disappear skinny” still shows up. But I can’t afford to take so many naps anymore. I can’t afford to be weak and exist in a fog. I don’t want my hair to fall out in huge clumps. I don’t want to let food or the lack of food dictate every waking moment of my life.
Tomorrow I’m going to Body Pump and CS Worx. I’ve been going to BP for several months now. My mom used to go at Norton Pines and LOVED it. She would call me and be all “ditcka ditcka ditcka ditcka” about it. I can see why she loved it. The marching band nerd in me thinks it’s the best. And my body has changed – I’m stronger now than ever before. Sure, I can’t go out and run 20 miles anymore. But, is that strong? Or is that something else? Running served a purpose in a certain season of my life… Not right now.
I’m going to attack that class tomorrow. I am going to gas myself – push the limits. Because being strong, being defined, is WOMAN. And it is beautiful. And powerful. And full of the Divine.