It’s the smallest things that can make someone’s day. A good coffee. A tasty juice. A smile from a stranger. Or even better, the following words (accompanied by a smile!) from a stranger:
“I’m so sorry to interrupt and I hope I this isn’t impertinent of me but I just have to tell you that you’re one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen, you’re just absolutely stunning and I had to tell you. I hope you have a great day”.
This strangers words were beautiful. But more than the words he said, it was the intention – it wasn’t a sleazy come-on, he had no ulterior motive, he didn’t want my number or even my name – he just really wanted to say those nice words to me because he thought I should hear them.
I grinned like an idiot and said thank you as he walked away.
It got me thinking. I know I’m much more than my exterior. I know that. Maybe I was having a good hair day or my particular genetic composition appealed to this man’s particular aesthetic preferences. Either way, how I look doesn’t define me – I know that. And yet it made me embarrassingly happy to hear those words. Because how we judge people and even more so, ourselves, is so often based on looks. He didn’t know a single thing about me except the shape of the vessel that houses my quintessence.
I have always wanted to be more than my outside.
Any yet, three years ago the state of my ‘outside’ mattered a lot more than I care to admit. I was overweight, not by much, but by enough. It took two full years but I lost 20kgs. One more year on and I’m fitter and healthier than I’ve ever been, I’ve maintained my weight. I feel good. By all standards, I look better than I used to. Because I’m thinner now. There’s less of me, so that makes me easier to look at. It’s a perplexing thing, because it shouldn’t matter how I look, it should only matter how I feel… right?
I love being healthy. I’m a #fitspo wanker that drinks green juice and does yoga. It’s a fun hobby… that keeps me in a socially acceptable weight range. I make my own granola and try (though generally fail) to meditate and be mindful. These are all good things for my body and soul. But I think it’s important to recognize that I do these things as part of a wider need I feel to keep myself in a state suitable for social consumption.
The feminist in me wonders how good it really is that I’ve succumb to the pressure every woman feels to fit in – am I just a part of the problem, piling even more tension into an already heavy conversation about female objectification?
I think it’s important to raise these questions. To consider my own actions – am I helping or harming? Is my ‘fitness journey’ really just another sad commentary on the importance placed on looking a certain way? I write all this while I sit here drinking my organic green tea in my moisture-wicking (what even is that?) Lulu Lemons and am reminded that image is everything. Wearing the right clothes, eating the right things, even just for their instagramableness (screw you dictionary, it’s a word now) MATTERS.
A wank-y juice I instagrammed
I’d like to think that it’s more important to be healthy and happy. That, given the startling increase in obesity rates, I’m part of a solution in a consumptive and excessive society. That self-love and self-care are the ultimate goals of the health and well-being movement that’s swept across Australia in the last few years. Am I right or am I just kidding myself?
I’m not going to stop using raw cacao (cocoa is so 5 years ago) and I’m not going to start taking offence when a stranger compliments me. Yes, I am more than my outside. Yes, how I look matters. But you know what? It should be OK for those two things to exist in parallel.