My mother granted me permission to share the following.
The other day Mommy and I were emailing about that article everyone was posting on Facebook about women with big butts having a better life or something like that. I personally did not read the post beyond the headline, because I don’t think I have a particularly big butt and I have a great life anyway, so whatevs.
But my mom seemed to think that she and I are among the lucky ones destined for happiness because of our large cabooses. All of a sudden it struck me that I have been getting that message from her since I was young: You are a lovely, intelligent girl, my beloved daughter, but you’ve got some serious junk in the trunk.
People, I present my butt. Put on your protective goggles because apparently, it is huge:
Not only is that my butt, but I happen to be wearing the most unflattering (but functional!) running shorts ever created (Race Ready), packed with sandwiches and snacks for a 42km jaunt! Even though I’m “packin'” in this photo, as it were, this to me, is a perfectly acceptable female backside.
I can’t post a photo of my mom’s butt because I don’t have one and she would truly kill me if I did, but I promise you, the woman is a tiny little thing with a hiney the size of an acorn.
When I asked her where she got the idea that she (and I) deserve membership in the Big Butt Clan, she recalled a childhood taunt flung at her in gym class by some random girl 70 years ago. For all of these years, my matriarch has been carrying those words around in her head and allowing them to impact her view of herself. If she had charged rent on that brain space, she’d be a rich woman.
Listen, I know my rear doesn’t look like the ones owned by models and celebs, or even many of the bikini clad nymphs on Tel Aviv beaches. I do in fact realize that it is wide and cellulite-y and may or may not be furry and or pimply. But I like my butt because it has accomplished everything a butt could hope to accomplish in life:
- It is comfortable to sit on.
- It contains the strongest muscle in my body, the Gluteus Maximus, which is an awesome super hero sounding name for a muscle. “Optimus Prime, have you found the All Spark?” “Not yet Gluteus Maximus, but we have intercepted a message between Megatron and the Decepticons.”
- I have always managed to have boyfriends and you know guys look at our butts, so it can’t be hideous now, can it?
- In fact, I attracted a fabulous mate with this butt and produced two awesome off-spring, so… yeah.
- I ran 42 kms in one day and thousands of others over the years on legs attached to this butt.
- I can squat down, get up, move over there, roll over and do all sorts of handy motions because of my butt.
This is not to say that I do not work on making my rear view nice and strong. I do. But not because I hate it the way it is. Because I don’t.
Is there a part of your body that you hate? A part of your physique that you think is King Kong sized and utterly unacceptable? Where did you get that idea from? Did someone say something nasty to you years ago and you have been believing it ever since?
Well, let me ask you something game changing: Is it helpful to you to hold those thoughts about your body? Do those thoughts make you want to take care of yourself as the cherished vessel you are, or do they make you want to shrink back, hide, be mad at yourself, and eat some more cake?
What would your life be like if you believed your body is perfectly fine and acceptable? How would it feel if you weren’t stuck on comparing yourself to others and always coming up short? What if you believed that you have a right to take up the space that you do?
You can choose the thoughts you want to think. You know that, right? It’s even OK if you don’t entirely believe yourself at first. You can just be “willing to believe” that your body is nice.
I love you Mommy and I know you never intentionally tried to shame me. I can’t help it if you or others hold the opinion that my ass is large. For years I believed you and I did feel ashamed of my shape. I also allowed a classmate’s dig about my big nose in middle school to cause me years of nose shame, and a stranger’s opinion of my body- an effin’ stranger! – on the street in Manhattan one day, make me pray for the sidewalk to swallow me up.
But when I decided to be willing to accept myself, big nose, large body, round posterior and all, I found myself flying free of all the comparing, competing, shaming and struggling. I could take care of myself with pride because I deserve to be well taken care of. I no longer wanted to stuff myself down with junk food, and only exercise where people couldn’t see me and heaven forbid, be offended.
It was only when I declared myself Perfectly Fine, that I was able to get Even Better.
I think women are afraid that if they accept themselves as they are, they won’t have the motivation to change for the better. I propose the opposite is in fact true. Permanent positive change rarely comes from a place of negativity. We only make and stick with those changes from the place where we love ourselves and deem ourselves worthy of the best.