A woman’s form has inspired paintings, poems, films and countless photographs as much as it has incited controversy, objectification, hatred, and even violence. There are countless debates, arguments and ongoing “discussions” on this subject alone. Suffice to say, it elicits a great deal of rational/irrational and emotional response from all sides.
Here, I shall not pretend that I can offer a solution to the above ceaseless “struggles” in defining the feminine form. Nor, will I insist that I know more than you. All I can offer (as with all my blog posts) is a personal sharing, supported by my own experiences and a fair share of counseling with women from all walks of life. And I do not wish to discuss “feminine form” as if it is an issue to be haggled by so-called experts, or treat it as a clinical scientific study. Clearly, the media does not help with its dire need to photo-shop, nip, tuck and “package” women into the figment of some pubescent fantasy.
To me, the feminine form is really a woman’s personal journey into self-discovery and self-love. Therefore, it will definitely be imbued with both emotional and rational nuances. As each woman grows, learns and changes, her perception of her form will also transform. This will undoubtedly reflect on her relationship with her body throughout the various stages of her life. And if anyone has gone through what I went through as outlined in my posts, “My Submission, My Confession” and “To be Truly Loved” – you might appreciate why most women have not emerged from their journey of self-discovery unscathed. And self-love may still be a concept women all over the world are wrestling to own for themselves.
From a young age, we are told we are not pretty enough, thin enough or even good enough for ourselves. And even if we were attractive enough, we are constantly pressured to retain that youthfulness so that we do not “lose out” to other more attractive females. So, not only do we have to deal with our “inner battles”, we now have to fight the “war of beauties” on the outside as well. Is it any wonder that all girls don’t become envious and jealous of one another?
From “sisters” to “bitches”, we slam one another more than any male would on a daily basis. We compare and compete not just with our friends but also with the rest of the female population who happen to be within our line of sight. This is why many businesses thrive on milking every penny from the female population – whether it is in fashion, beauty products, anti-aging treatments, weight loss programs, handbags, shoes, and the list goes on. It is so easy to sell women all the above because we drink it in as if they are elixirs to our eternal beauty. Some work very hard to lose that weight, some pay serious money to get a new face, nose, eyes and etc. These women’s pursuit of beauty and youth is like quicksand – the more they get, they deeper they drown themselves. And the sad truth is – no matter how much a woman can change herself on the outside to achieve that beauty, inside she is secretly condemning herself. Even the most beautiful models are insecure and they denounce themselves just as much as the average woman on the street.
Unfortunately, that firm belief that “you are beautiful” is something no woman can buy off the shelf and install into her being. No doctors or beauty products and treatments can make her believe that she is beautiful beyond a shadow of doubt. No number of boyfriends or admirers can come close to filing that void in her. This belief is something she has to earn through her own learning, experience, realisation and eventual acceptance. This is why I say that the feminine form is a very personal journey for every woman. Only she would know of the pains, heartaches and suffering that she has had to endure to arrive at where she is today. No woman came through without being somewhat “damaged”.
Personally, I have grappled with my weight and form all my life. At my heaviest, I weighed around 60kg and that is not while I was pregnant. Yup, it was all me and those damn tubs of ice cream I gobbled up to make me feel better about myself. Not forgetting the truckloads of chocolate and containers of Cherry Coke or Dr. Pepper. Strangely enough, I did not have a shortage of admirers even then. My size and shape did not deter the boys from going after me. But that did not stop me from wondering what they saw in me. Needless to say, I went through my own slew of issues with body image. There isn’t a diet in the world that I have not tried. And yes, I even took anti-constipation pills so that I could just “instigate” a diarrhea after gorging myself with tons of food. I had to resort to that after “poking the finger in my mouth” did not trigger as much “regurgitation”. None of them was pretty and all of them were messy. I wanted to eat as much as I could but I did not want the calories that came with it. Almost like guys who want as much sex as they could get, but not the responsibility that came with it.
At my lightest, I weighed around 50kg. Then, my world changed as more people started to look at me. Fashion became a huge part of my life as the image I wanted to project to the world became all-encompassing. I revelled in the attention I was getting from both men and women. I could fit into all the nice clothes and had no fear of sporting a bikini out in public. My closet was constantly growing with new additions from the season’s latest. Of course, I was unhealthy and was always falling ill, not counting the times I consciously made myself sick. But I did not care. All that mattered was how some heads would turn whenever I walked into a room. For once, I felt what it was like to be desired and adored. So, I understand the “addiction” of being wanted and desired only too well.
After giving birth to my daughter, I fell into a spiraling depression which culminated into several suicide attempts. It was the collision of many suppressed issues that ranged from the disgust with my post-baby body, to the collapse of my marriage and the death of my beloved paternal grandmother. Naturally, it took me a long while before I understood the difference between being desired and being loved. Above all, loving myself in the right way.
To date, my weight hovers between 53kg to 55kg – depending on how “crazy” I let myself go. And no, I am not tall. All in, I barely make it to 5 feet 3 in height. So, yes, I do love high heels and I do wish I was taller. But none of these plague me as they used to. I have learnt to embrace my voluptuous frame and enjoy it. Also, I’ve made peace with the fact that I am never going to be model-thin, or movie-star-gorgeous. I like the way I am, and it works for me.
Honestly, I am more concerned with taking better care of myself. I exercise to keep myself healthy and fit, but not fanatically. I eat whatever I want, BUT in moderation. Because I no longer need food to comfort myself. In fact, I savour what I eat and try to enjoy every single bite. I no longer hunt for clothes and shoes like it is a necessity. I actually work to trim down the size of my closet. “De-clutter” is my favourite word, next to my fave mantra of “keeping it simple and real”. These days, it is not about the quantity but the quality.
And truth be told, I have never felt better about myself than I do now. In fact, it is as close to a walking and breathing Goddess as it gets…for me.
I believe, inside every woman, there is a Goddess waiting to be unveiled.
Unfortunately, the Goddess has been buried under the debris of insecurity, trauma and confusion for far too long. And with each passing time, the woman forgets that she is a Goddess to begin with. Before too long, she completely abandons her queenly birthright and perceives herself to be a lowly outcast in her own kingdom. The injustice done to her may take a long time to heal but it does not change the fact that her inner Goddess is very much alive and waiting to emerge.
Unveiling the Goddess Within
Her body is not an anatomy to be objectified, appraised like an art piece for auction or an apology. Her form belongs to her and should be curated only by her.
Her scars are her medals because she has gone through trying times slaying her inner critic as well as those around her. She has learnt how to climb out of every pit of depression as well as “hateful holes” that people have dug out in her path. Each wound transforms into a bejeweled star whenever she learns to appreciate her body along with her entire being.
She has stopped calling herself names, as well as believing in the derogatory labels which others have shot at her. Their toxic tags no longer define her. She has learnt to accept who she is, knowing her faults and weaknesses, as well as, her triumphs and strengths. So, she surrounds herself with people who actually care to help her improve herself rather than just put her down.
Her vocabulary no longer supports absolute terms because people can change, as she herself has evolved. As much as she understands living and enjoying in the moment, she invests in a brighter future for herself. She takes full responsibility of her actions as well as mistakes, because her happiness lies in her own hands and not someone else’s. As she celebrates her own milestone of achievements, she rejoices for those who have come a long way. She recognises that everyone is a masterpiece in progress.
Over the years, she has had undergone the changes with her body – from her “youthful” figure to her “matured” form. Her breasts have not felt or looked the same. Nor will her belly regain that previous shape. However, she has only to look at the lines and stretch marks on her body to remind herself how much love she has brought into the world just through her body alone. She is a walking wondrous miracle of life, though she may need someone to tell her from time to time. Thus, she begins to love herself as much as she loves those around her.
To me, these are some of the things that make each woman a living and breathing Goddess.
Each woman is uniquely beautiful. Her tribulations, as much as, her inner and outer evolution have helped mould her individual beauty. This is why I will always say that a woman grows more exquisite with age. Without a doubt, she is divine beauty personified.
There is simply no substitute for this form of beauty that shines from within. It is in her knowing smile, that wise sparkle in her eyes, her calm compassionate heart, her gentle tender touch, and her stunning understanding mind. She is a joyful sight to behold because she knows how to make others feel just as beautiful as she feels. This is the kind of Goddess who literally makes the world a truly special place just by being in it.
It is time that we all open our eyes and recognise that beautiful women come in all shapes, sizes, colours, ages and creed. They can be your sister, mother, grandmother, teacher, co-worker, friends and even the one sitting right across from you at this very moment. The only reason you did not know just how amazing she is, is because you did not take the time to really get to know her.
More than anything else, it is time for women to see themselves as real life-affirming representations of beauty. Yes, beauty does come in all forms. And the time has come for us to believe and own it. Every woman is a Goddess and deserves to be treated as such.
So, my fellow Goddesses, the next time you think of beautiful things and people, please remember to include yourself as well.
As always, start your own brand of fearless living and love the life your live.