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How we feel about our bodies will always be a roller coaster ride, and it's perfectly normal

By Melanie Uson Published Jan 10, 2023 2:11 pm

It’s about damn time we unlearn the constricting labels of society and love what’s natural. 

On Jan. 8, content creator Inka Magnaye shared a social media post about her inspiring encounter with another girl on a beach. In her post, the popular voice actress offered to guard the girl's belongings just so she can take a dip in the water.

“We’d been at the beach the whole morning but she hadn’t once jumped in despite having a cute onesie on underneath her shorts," Inka shared. 

The girl shyly responded to her offer saying, "No, it's okay. I’m a little embarrassed."

"How come?" Inka asked. To which the girl responded, "I have stretch marks."

“So do I,” Inka said, seeing the girl glance at the stretch marks on her hips. Still, the girl hesitated, responding, “Yeah, but I have cellulite.”

“So do I,” Inka said once more. “Go jump in, have fun. I promise no one will notice.” Inka encouraged.

The social media star went on, telling her followers that like other women, she has body imperfections too. "You just don’t notice because we’re usually too preoccupied with our own 'flaws' to notice them in others," she continued  

Growing up in a society where everyone has a say on everything, people—primarily women—instilled in themselves the ‘responsibility’ to achieve the media’s standard of beauty. For instance, having fair skin and a pimple-free face is always considered beautiful. If you don't have them, well, society says, you might as well consider yourself unlucky.

When I was in elementary, my primary concern in terms of looking good is merely my clothes and accessories as being dressed nicely is where I get my confidence.

I remember being stressed about whether I should wear a watch or thick bangles, long earrings or big ear studs, a headband with big ribbon or mermaid braids, sandals or boots, etc. I never took notice of how my body appeared, and I never really felt insecure about it until junior high school.

Imagine the embarrassment (and confusion) when my classmates pointed out how big my calves and arms are, the stretch marks on my legs, and how hairy I am. Apparently, visible hair on the legs and arms isn’t normal in a woman’s body.

It was then I started to feel ashamed and even hate myself for being ‘different.' I started shaving and hiding under long skirts or pants. I even lost the energy and interest to curate my outfits to ‘feel good’ like I used to do before. 

It comes as no wonder that people are driven to splurge on whitening soaps and rejuvenating skincare sets, and resort to unhealthy eating habits to lose or gain weight to achieve their much-coveted body shape and skin goals that is fair and clear of acne, discolorations, stretch marks, and anything that is seen as ‘flaws.’ 

Using certain products isn’t wrong, really, as it is one of the ways of taking care of oneself. But we cannot deny the fact that it is also driven by wanting to achieve others’ perception of beauty, and this often does more harm than good. 

We've been so keen on changing what is natural that we punish ourselves with self-loathe when we cannot attain our own standards.

As Inka said, considering cellulite, stretch marks, skin pigmentation, dry skin, scars, and bloated tummy, among others as ‘flaws’ restricts us from doing the things we love and/or we want to try to do.

And believe it or not, having to restrict oneself to ride the bandwagon towards achieving the ‘standards of beauty’ is much worse than having the so-called ‘flaws.’ 

Of course, unlearning these beliefs is not, as they say, ‘rocket science' primarily since it has been a norm in society for the longest time.  

Although I learned how to laugh off unsolicited comments about my body, I can't deny that it still stings. Seeing other people who have it and actually made peace with it helps me break away from the urge to always conform to the public's eye.

So we have stretch marks, scars, and big thighs, how does it concern them, though? As long as we ourselves made peace with it, it's not our problem that others don't.

...we’re usually too preoccupied with our own “flaws” to notice them in others

 
It is perfectly valid that you still feel insecure with the unwanted parts of your body, but it is also important to acknowledge that it is not just a you thing, and what you have is far from being flawed. 

“Yes, she jumped in," Inka concluded her post.

So, don’t ever throw away that short skirt, body-hugging dress, or tank tops you’ve always wanted to wear.

At the same time, patiently wait for yourself to have the courage to "jump" into whatever excites you without having to worry about what others (or yourself) may say against it.