By Galina Nemirovsky/Divine Caroline
Last month I turned thirty-four and vowed to be a little kinder to my body. I want to give it more respect, to stop judging it so harshly, to discontinue defining it by society’s standards. I resolve to love my body for what it is, rather than continue to hate it for what it will never be.
I’ve got a mane of thick curly hair, symmetric features, a nose that fits my face. I’m certain that when most people look at me, they notice few of the petty imperfections that plague my body image. My body is healthy; it is strong, undamaged. But it is a body that I see laden with flaws; like fine hairs on a photo negative — only visible to the scrutiny of my overzealous eye.
Like many women who go from a teenage size twelve to a grown-up size two, I will always view myself as inherently fat. I’m forty pounds lighter and well within a healthy weight, yet I live on a self-prescribed, perpetual diet. I hover at a weight that keeps me just content enough to remain unmotivated to exercise. When the pants start to feel too tight right out of the closet, rather than out of the dryer, I motivate.
Snapshots of my teenager years reveal a girl overweight and under status quo. More at ease within the context of the powdered sugar of my dad’s donut shop than in my mother’s make up bag, I have cemented those images onto the refrigerator door of my mind in an effort to protect me from falling back into that place. These images pop up whenever I need them, like a cow-shaped cookie jar that moos when you open it, they are a mental reminder to forgo the full fat ice cream or to drop the extra handful of peanut M&Ms.
I look in the mirror and I see everything I’d like to change about my body; like an editor scribbles with red pen over a document, I see everything I’d like to cut, delete, and move around. I’m not alone.
Nowadays you can ask a woman what she’d like to change about her body and she will give you a list. Botox this, collagen here, lipo there, tighten this, lift that.
Photographs for me pose a special threat and require detailed attention to many elements at once.