Celina writes the blog Steps and Snips in which she documents with amazing honesty her love of travel and crafting. I find myself clicking back to Steps and Snips often (like multiple times a day!), hoping for an updated post. Celina puts into words the truths that most of us experience, whether talking about the tragedy in Japan or poll dancing.
The post below includes Celina’s words and self-portraits. Thank you for having the courage and vulnerability to share your story, Celina. Your words of love and self-acceptance ring true in my heart and I know they will touch the heart of others as well.
Guest Post by Celina Wyss
Do you love your body?
When presented with this question most women will probably give quite a weighted answer. Most will tell you what they don’t love instead. I face all the same struggles with self acceptance. As a child, I was immersed early on with images of beautiful movie stars, models and princesses in fairy tales. I thought I had a pretty good idea on what women should look like. I thought if I looked like they did then I would be fabulously successful and happy. When I was in 8th grade I struggled daily with sexual harassment and physical prodding from boys in my small rural school. Being blessed (or cursed) with a large chest at an early age can bring on some very unwanted attention to a girl who is struggling to find her sense of self. I started to feel like I needed to hear the sexual comments to reaffirm that I was pretty enough. That if I was receiving that kind of attention it meant I was doing something right. Only it didn’t really feel right in the end.
Fast forward to me now at age 30. I am working towards having a healthier attitude about my body and learning to love and accept it for what it can do. It is an exercise in learning how to love all the little pieces of me that make me unique. Like the way I have beauty marks almost forming a perfect necklace across my chest. Or the way I have a big splat of a birthmark on my lower back right in the spot that most women get a tattoo. More recently it was learning how to come to terms with the 5 scars on my stomach from the Nissen Fundiplication surgery I had this summer. Or the acceptance that the stretch marks on my hips will never really fade away and instead act as a badge of honor for being blessed with the ability to carry a child inside of me.
Recently I came across this video of Eve Ensler talking about loving your tree. I found it to be a beautiful message. I got to thinking about ways my body would be considered beautiful in other cultures. More importantly it helped me understand that there is no correct term for outer beauty. Only what others think it should be.
Today I continue on my path of self-love and acceptance. Will I still dye my hair? Probably. Will I still fantasize about liposuction? Maybe. But I can work towards doing those things with a more mindful choice about why I am making the decision instead of a lusting to fit into the ideal body image we all have created in our own heads.