I was at the gym yesterday. I never knew why there were so many mirrors at the gym until I started working with a trainer. It’s so you can check your form, to know that you are doing the exercises both safely and effectively, but you probably already knew that. I thought it was so that vain, buff people could check themselves out. I’m sure they get used for that, too.
I was doing some pulldowns, and I checked the mirror for shoulder positioning. And that’s when I noticed – HEY – I’ve got shoulders. NICE shoulders. Defined shoulders. Nice back and chest. I’m still working on the little underarms flappy bits, but they too are improving, and when my arms are flexed, you hardly notice them.
It got me thinking about the body as art. The human body has always been celebrated and appreciated by artists. They’re so beautiful, bodies, all of them, and amazing in what they do every day. The media desperately wants us to believe that only certain body types are beautiful, but they’re all beautiful. They’re slopes and planes, curves and angles, form and function. They tell our stories, bear our scars, and they follow us right to the grave.
Remember Ann Landers, the advice columnist? Many years ago I read a column of hers that has stuck with me for my whole life. A family had a beloved aunt, who had been overweight since childhood. She was a vibrant, loving person and when she died, she was deeply mourned. That family found, however, when they went to look for photographs for her memorial, that they were few and far between. She had always been uncomfortable having her picture taken because of her weight, and the family had always respected that. Now they were left with no pictures to remember her by.
So let people take your picture. Unless you’re a celebrity, they’re not taking it because you’re beautiful. They’re taking it because you’re you, and they want to remember you, regardless of what body you inhabit.
Namaste. You’re beautiful.
* I originally posted this in my fitness blog, but I thought I’d like to share it here, too.