This post was contributed by Kristen Hedges, who is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and a Yoga & Meditation instructor.
This morning, I watched as a fight broke out in a previously quiet nook of the internet. The comments revolved around a photo of a woman stretching into upward-facing dog. She was "too skinny," and "clearly photoshopped." One comment even went so far as to say that she "wasn't a real woman."
But in reality, she was just thin. She had a small waist, and small breasts, and hipbones that protruded slightly in her back bend. And while I refreshed the page, a silent observer on the other side of the world, I couldn't help but feel as though the comments were directly affecting me.
I was born knobby-kneed and skinny, skin stretched too thin over quickly growing legs. Throughout my childhood, I stayed that way no matter what I ate. As an adult, I'm 5 feet 9 inches tall, and I tip the scales at 125 pounds. I eat like a champion, fats and all. I don't diet, I don't obsess over the gym, and I certainly don't watch my weight. And yet, if I were to post a photo of my body on the internet, I would have to buckle down and brace myself for the wild wind of hateful comments coming from all directions.
I'm so happy to see how the times are shifting our definition of beauty. Not so long ago, one size was meant to represent the entirety of the human race. You were either thin, or nothing. But now, plus-sized models and ladies with bellies and breasts are glowing from the front of magazines, catalogs, and articles. When I saw this post, my heart sang! In spite of the progress, we still slap labels on the bodies of all women, claiming that some are real, and some are not. There's a constant battle of memes, photos, and articles about what the human body "should" look like.
"Real women have curves." This gem has been floating around the internet a lot lately, gracing my news feed and filling me up with dreams of a body I can never attain. This makes me angry. In fact, any kind of "real women are/have" posts send my stomach into knots. Because on this beautiful, expansive planet, there are women of all shapes and sizes. Curvy hips and small breasts. Big breasts and small hips. A flat backside. A big belly. Wide arms. An invisible waist. Legs like toothpicks and xylophone ribs that you can see when they stretch.
What are they, if not real?
So, let's settle this argument once and for all. We are all real women. We, the rail thin, are just as lovely as the curvy goddesses, the big-boned beauties, and the strong and sexy athletes. We're all beautifully unique. And more than anything, our beauty sinks far deeper than the body that you see in that first glance. Our hearts are real. Our love is real. Our passion, our joy, our pain is more real than a pair of pointy elbows and a closet full of size smalls.
Fickle judgement is worthless. So peel that label from your back, mend the damaged skin, sew up your broken heart and allow it to open up again without the pressure of wiggling into a body that isn't yours. The one you have is lovely.
And you are absolutely, 100% real.
Would you like to see more posts from Kristen Hedges? Tell us in the comments and lets see if we can make her a Hiit Blogger!