Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Why I don't need to look like Maria Kang

I posted this on Facebook a couple weeks ago but then I thought I'd repost it in my blog.  Especially after seeing so many of the comments on Maria Kang's Facebook page.  In case you were lucky enough to miss that momentary blip in shallow news, she made it into national news after she posted a photo of herself in a bikini with her three children with the caption "What's Your Excuse?"  That was just another post by a shallow, narcissistic woman by itself, but what was horrifying were all the comments (literally 10's of thousands) by men saying stuff like "I'd hit that - twice!" and "Fatties are just jealous!" and lots of women telling her how empowered she is that she's able to be hot despite having three kids.

Wait? WTF?  A woman is empowered because she makes how she looks her main focus? I admit, I do primp and I do worry about bad hair days like everyone who's human, but there is a lot more in my life to focus on than looking like some sort of bullshit American consumerism ideal of airbrushed.  And to hold someone up as hero because they spend as much energy as they can achieving that ideal and then putting down other women because they don't bother doing wasting their lives on it is offensive.  And then to say that Maria "takes such good care of herself" - another WTF?  She was a bulimic beauty pageant contestant and now instead of being bulimic she compulsively exercises (and most likely diets) and is still obsessed with "looking better than you"  - how is that "taking care of yourself"?

Anyway, this is what I posted in response to that on Facebook:

This is in response to Maria Kang's "What's Your Excuse" debacle on Facebook. I'm a 46 year old mother of one tween girl. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and have had it since I was 12 years old. I'm 10 pounds overweight according to the BMI (but too healthy to need to lose any weight according to my family physician). I am 40 pounds over what the fashion industry says I should be. I eat healthy, have a very active lifestyle and my husband thinks I'm super hot. So, why would I waste my energy trying to lose weight to look like Maria Kang? My excuse for not looking like her? I have no excuse cause I'm totally not interested.

Here's my question - what's your excuse for not following what's truly in your heart? I am extremely lucky that my husband can financially afford to support our family so that earlier this year I could have a "mid-life crisis" and quit for good my career in the accounting field and devote my time to following my dream of working with horses. Not everyone is that lucky but we can all find out what our true heart's dream is. I can guarantee your heart's true dream is not to be the hottest girl who looks like what plastic surgeons, diet companies and gyms tell you you need to look like so you'll buy their product. That might be your insecurity's true dream, but not your heart.

I challenge all women to start today - if you don't already know - allowing yourself to imagine what is your biggest dream for yourself in your heart (not in your insecurity!). Maybe today you don't have the resources to drop everything and jump into it, but once you realize what that is, give yourself a few minutes a day to cultivate that dream, even if that just means daydreaming or writing down what the impossible would look like. And please, don't have that dream be about how you look. Have it be about creativity and passion, whether that is working with animals, art, science, math, history, being the best Mom to your kids, or even something that
sounds crazy to your friends like being a mortician or owning your own janitorial service. What does your heart want you to be doing instead of wasting your time worrying about how you look and whether your clothes are fashionable enough?

I had an eating disorder (anorexia) when I was in my teens and twenties. Many people have said over the years "I wish I could be anorexic". No, no you don't. Anorexia is not about being "beautiful" it is about sitting in a dark room chain smoking cigarettes and cutting yourself because you are so hateful of your body and so ashamed that you broke down and ate half a piece of bread. Anorexia is about crying yourself to sleep because you can't get out of this hideous body that gained two pounds (despite being 20 pounds underweight). It's about self-hatred and has nothing to do with "taking care of yourself". Advertisers have bastardized that phrase to mean putting all your energy into how you look and try to sell "self care" as making yourself look better. That's not what it is at all and if you've bought into that mindset it's time to separate yourself from it.

There is nothing healthy about thinking you are ugly. No matter what weight you are or what your features look like, thinking you are ugly does nothing, and having someone tell you you're not good enough as you are does nothing and does not promote self-care. If you truly want to "take care of yourself" be kind to yourself. Eat healthy foods without a lot of additive and preservatives (ie: no Cheetos or Coke), find something active you enjoy doing. I used to like to lift weights but let's be honest - most people don't. So don't do it if you don't like it. Find something you enjoy doing that is active. Now I get my exercise mucking stalls, wrangling horses and doing chores I enjoy. Find a sport or chore you enjoy and get active doing that. And find your heart's passion. 

So I'll end with this question - what's your excuse for ignoring your heart and focusing on being something that large corporations tell you you have to be in order to sell you stuff? Think about it.

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