When I was younger and heavier, my weight felt like a constant advertisement of how flawed I was. After all, everything I had heard and been told indicated that the problem was with me. I just didn’t have enough willpower. If I only had more self-control, I’d be thin. And, of course, being fat was, in and of itself, a flaw, one that I meant I would never be fabulous.
I recognize that none of us are perfect. That is, after all, part of what makes us human, and also what makes us lovable and interesting. (If you think about it, how much time would you really want to spend around someone who’s always perfect?)
But it’s one thing to make mistakes, or have a bit of a temper, or be socially awkward. It’s another to believe that you’re broken all the time simply by virtue of your size and what you ate.
This sort of thinking is probably why I reacted as I did when I read this message in a recent Dove chocolate wrapper: “It’s OK to be flawed and fabulous.”
Given where I found this, I immediately took it to mean that my eating was flawed – why else would I be going for a piece of chocolate? Then, based on my past experiences, my brain made the leap to assuming this also meant that my body was still flawed because of what I was eating.
To say I was annoyed would be an understatement. The message nagged at me over a couple of days, and after more thought than it probably deserved, I figured out why.
It made me feel like I had to apologize for myself and my eating and my body.
It was as if I had to say, “Well, yes, I know I’ve got a lot of things wrong with me, but just overlook that for now, because really I’m fabulous despite that.”
I suspect I was reading more into this than most people, and I realized that the reason this bothered me so much is because some part of me does still feel that way, that I have to justify myself and the way I look and eat.
I was also jumping to conclusions about what qualifies as a flaw. After all, who gets to decide that? Why do I have to believe what other people say is wrong with me – especially when many times they might be saying it because of their own insecurities?
So, I’m choosing to think about it a different way. In this new version, my flaws don’t have anything to do with weight or food, and under the right circumstances they can even be strengths. But either way, those flaws are part of who I am, and I choose to embrace and accept them, because they are, truly, part of what makes me fabulous.