Monday, August 17, 2009

Body Image Blues

A word of advice, Dear Reader. If you have body image issues, as I do, DON'T GO ON VACATION to a place that has as its main attraction a huge indoor swimming pool and accompanying "attractions". Great Wolf Lodge is a lot of fun for children but, in addition to the normal -- ahem-- headaches associated with being in a 4 acre room full of screaming, running, excited children and multiple water features, I spent our mercifully short 24 hours there in excruitating comparisions between myself and others. As much as I hate to admit it, I looked at other women with an assessing, comparing, critical eye. Although I mostly found myself on the deficient side of these comparisons, it kills me that I did it, and it kills me to know that other women are doing it to me: "Whew! At least I don't look like that!"

Comparing ourselves to others is, I think, a natural thing for human beings to do. "How am I doing in comparison to my peer over there?" "Is he smarter than I am? "Is he more handsome than me?" "Does she make more money than I do?" "Is she better looking than me?" That it is natural doesn't mean it's a good thing. I've never been competitive with other people -- I was comfortable with the idea of competing with myself, striving to do and be better with each iteration of a task. I find myself appalled, then, that I am doing all this comparing, which is just another form of competitiveness.

And, of course, it makes me feel so much worse. Sigh.


  1. I think this is something so many of us do. And, honestly, for those of us with body image issues, we rarely rate ourselves on the better side of the equation. Think of it this way: You are working on yourself. Compare that to all the people who don't. You win that comparison.

  2. Here here Stimey.

    The minute I start to berate myself at the beach or pool or communal dressing room, I chant to myself "I am a French woman on a topless beach."

    I've only been to French beaches a couple times, while wearing a one-piece no less, but I love how everyone walks around so comfortably and un-selfconsciously, regardless of weight, age, whatever. They're just enjoying the water and sun.

    And think how much your family loved playing with you in the water!