25 things

Two things compel me to write this post:
The first is VH1’s Tough Love 2: Episode 3, in which the dating-impaired women are told that being sexy–defined as confident, self-assured, approachable, and comfortable in her body–is one of the most important tools in a single woman’s arsenal. Jenna, the cast member I most identify with, a formerly-fat girl with serious body-image and self-esteem issues laments: “I’ve been fat all my life. I don’t feel sexy. I don’t know how to be sexy. I have no idea what to do with myself–I’m just not sexy.” (Lord, do I know where shes coming from.) When she tries to be sexy she comes off as slutty and fake. The key to being sexy, we are told, is being sexy. It cannot be faked. Sexy is BEING confident and assured and approachable. That comes from within. Which comes from liking yourself.

So at the end of the episode, I am left wondering how we like ourselves and feel–and thus BE–sexy?

The other thing that prompts this post is this one from Weightless by way of Dr. Stacy who suggests this exercize:

“Recognize that your body is just one aspect of your appearance, your appearance just one aspect of who you are. Focus on everything else you are, everything else you have to offer. Make a list of 25 things you like about yourself.”

Most of the time, when people do these kind of exercises they focus on their “insides”–their personalities or achievements–which is a good start but really doesn’t begin to address body loathing. Who we are is all of our being, and that includes our bodies. Our bodies are not just vessels in which our selves are contained, our bodies ARE ourselves. We would not have life without our bodies. We would not have minds without a body, nor experiences, relationships, senses or thoughts without bodies. Any exercise in self-appreciation must include our bodies. But in this society we have inherited that schism in which we see our selves as comprised of disparate, weakly linked parts: the mind, the body, the soul. Our society teaches us to view our bodies as husks imprisoning us with weaknesses and hindering us with sin.

Anyway, I digress. The point I mean to make is that instead of listing 25 things I like about my “inside” self, I will include as much “outside” body-conscious things as I can think of.

I have a feeling this isn’t going to be easy. Like Jenna from Tough Love, there really isn’t a lot about my body that I like–and quite a bit more that I have been conditioned to dislike. Off the top of my head I can think of several things I hate about my body–most of which have to do with it’s shape and fatness–and not so easily do the things I like come to me. But here are some things I do like about the way I look.

1. The color of my hair.

2. My nose. Its a family nose, not cute or graceful or anything typically considered beautiful as far as noses go, but its a distinctive, and its my nose, and it fits my face. And marks me as my father’s child.

3. My waist.

4. My breasts. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don’t. But they are the #1 thing that makes me obviously female. Because they are together one ginormous, monolithic rack of doom.

5. My back. Yeah I got some back fat, but the line of my spine down to the small of my back is sleek and sexy. My only regret is I can’t properlly show it off because of my harness-requiring rack of doom.

6. I like the full roundness of my bottom.

7. I have a relatively flat and soft belly.

8. My shoulders and my neck.

9. My smile, I don’t have “perfect” teeth, but I do fancy that I have a beautiful smile. And when I smile, as goofy as I sometimes feel, it changes my face to one that is not-bad-looking to one that is pretty.

10. I look good in well-fitted clothes

That is all I can think of, for my body. I tried hard to think of something I liked about my legs and my skin, as these are the parts of my body I dislike most, but nothing came to mind.

Now, moving on to the other parts of myself, which is easier, since I’ve alway liked my inner self:

11. My intelligence. Sometimes I feel brainless and slow, but I never forget that I am fairly intelligent woman

12. My bookishness. I love to read, and so much of what I know about myself, others, the world in general, and in the way I think and understand things, I learned from books. I know I am a better person for that.

13. I am creative.

14. I rarely make the same mistake twice.

15. I am a conscientious person and I strive to be as compassionate and as ethical as I can be in my dealings with other people.

16. I am very even-tempered and slow to take offense.

17. I have a very curious mind (except in matters of math and sports).

18. I have a strong sense of my own mind. I am not easily swayed to change it, once I have decided on something. Which is why I am glad I am also…

19….flexible and readily consider all points of view as valid (not to be confused with correct.) I consider my options before making decisions.

20. I am not afraid of being wrong. If I make a mistake or an error in judgment, I will admit it, and make amends if need be.

21. I am very patient. Growing up deaf, I’ve learned to just watch and wait, for eventually all things become clear, and solutions to problems become manifest.

22. I am very observant and am constantly looking. When you can’t hear, you got to use your eyes to make up for it.

23. I am very introspective, and I think I understand my own sub- and un-consciousness more than most people understand themselves. It was that introspection that allowed me to cure my social phobia/anxiety on my own.

24.I like people and think the vast majority of folks are good people; no one is perfectly good all of the time, but most people are decent people most of the time. And I trust that people generally do not have cruel intentions.

25. I am very loyal, affectionate, and generous with those people I come to love.

I’m not sure that making this list has actually made me feel more confident and sexier. I certainly don’t think I can walk into a bar or club or a library and pick up a dude. All I can say is that I think I like myself a little better. I suppose thats enough for now.