Today is the last day of Academichic’s Dress Your Best. As I looked back at my posts this week, I realized I didn’t really manage to explain why I love these parts of myself. Each one inspires positive and negative feelings within me, and it is because of those intense feelings that I love those parts of me as much as I do.
For the last day of Dress Your Best, I want to revisit those body parts.
The shape and colour of you are amazing. I get more compliments on my eyes than any other part of my body or face. But you’ve failed me, eyes. When I was seven, my parents, being medically inclined picked up on all the warning signs of impending near-sightedness before I started suffering from any major symptoms. I was saddled up with a pair of octagonal pastel coloured floral printed glasses faster than you can say boo- well, I guess since you are eyes, faster than you a blink out the morse code for boo. Getting glasses was the first step in a long and healthy childhood of awkwardness. I was teased, mercilessly, by the people in my school. My glasses were unflattering. I had a chipmunk face. I like to play Barbie and I never pretended otherwise. I was lucky to have two amazing friends who are still in my life, and I can tell you that without them my childhood would have been completely horrible instead of just a little bit horrible.
But I did the best I could. I tried not to let it get to me- and it wasn’t all glasses. I was an awkward child. Extremely so. So awkward, I was begging to be teased and bullied without even knowing it. The weakest of the herd, and all that.
When my mother told me, in grade 7, that if I could keep my grades up we would discuss getting contact lenses, it was the first time that I ever worked to achieve something. And eyes, you gave that to me. I have never wanted something so badly, and I worked my tail off to get it.
And I succeeded. Eyes, you taught me determination. You taught me how to find the positivity in the bad. I might wake up from time to time wishing that I could see the sunrise clearly from my bed without needing to put my glasses on first, but those times of wishful thinking are few and far between. Thank you, for all your flaws.
I’ve never appreciated you very much, feet. I never really saw how important you are. I wanted you to look nice, so I would have you pedicured so that my toes would always look perfect and polished peeping out of my sandals, my peep-toe shoes. When I started running, I never realized how much you were going to change on me. I didn’t understand that in the aftermath of the NYC Marathon, both big toe nails would fall off. I never foresaw the stiff joint that continues to plague me, that I simply cannot fix- despite the athletic therapists, massage therapists, yoga, conditioning, strengthening, doctors. I thought the people who were obsessive over their calluses were ridiculous. I would scoff at them behind their back. Calluses as a mark of honour? Yeah, right.
And then it happened to me. I was sitting in the massaging chair at the local mani-pedi place, and the esthetician brought out the blade to eliminate the thick calluses that had developed on my heels from running upwards of 30 miles in a week. My protective instinct kicked in, and I saw you for the very first time.
You are thick, solid feet. You don’t have a high instep, although it looks like you do. You hate supported shoes, but that’s OK, because I hate them, too. We both agree you look phenomenal in high heels, but sometimes the pain in your right big toe is too much. And that’s OK. When it gets really painful, I know I need to back off. You, my feet, let me know when I am pushing myself too far before any other part of my body does. Yes, you carry me miles and miles. And I am thankful for you taking me as far as you have, and for the promise of many miles to come. I am thankful for you, feet. Flaws and all.
I remember so many regrettable incidences with you, hair. I’m the first one to admit that they were almost all my fault. The mullet incident of 2003 wasn’t my fault I have to point out, the hair stylist was a stupid douche wad. Other than that, however, I take full responsibility for every single stupid hair incident.
Remember the bowl cut in grade 6? Sorry about that. Oh, remember how I used to wear you in grade 7? The entire right side of my head, and about a 1/4 of the left side of my head, all pulled back into a ponytail, with the other 1/4 hanging down like a dead, kind of curly rat? Oh! The time I didn’t brush my hair all summer when I was 7. And the 3 month period where I decided to chemically straighten my hair, and then bleach it out … right before my best friend’s wedding. Not only did my hair look like straw, but it felt like straw, too… And Lindsay and Clint will forever have the photographic evidence to prove it!
We’ve had our good moment. Right now, we’re having a good moment, I think. And I love to pamper you. I love how the second there is even an ounce of humidity in the air, you become unruly. All winter long you obey my every styling wish, and the second summer hits, you have your annual rebellion. I used to fight it, but now I welcome the curls. You tell me when it is summer time, hair. Not the weather or the temperature. You do.
I’m so grateful that it feels as good as it does to brush you, to have someone else run their hands through you, to have you be pulled. I thank you for all the shine, and for still being beautiful after all the stress I’ve put you through. Thank you, hair- for being all you are.
I spent years of my life being defined by the size of my bosom. Do you know what it is like to have people identify you as: “You know… the girl with shoulder length brown hair and really big tits?” All through junior high, all through high school, all through university… until I’d finally had enough.
You have never been attractive, boobs. There was nothing about you that I liked. I longed for pretty bras and underwear that didn’t cost over 100 bucks a pop. I coveted tank tops with tiny straps, open back dresses, halters and string bikinis.
You were covered in stretch marks. You gave me cleavage in almost every shirt I wore. You were pendulous. If I didn’t wear a bra, you would hang down so low I would look ridiculous in every shirt I put on. I had to teach myself not to care when people would have a hard time maintaining eye contact with me because they kept staring at you.
And you hurt me. So much. The weight of you pained my back and my shoulders. You would hurt, too! You would ache, this deep reaching, dull pain. Your nipples were bigger than they had any right to be. I would see pictures in magazines, and the models would have these wonderfully pert little breasts, with these wonderfully small, compact nipples and I was so jealous of those women I started to hate you.
I’m so sorry.
I never realized what you gave me until after I chose to make the dramatic change of breast reduction. You, more than any other body part, taught me that I am more than my physical self. I had been defined by these two sacks of fat and ducts hanging off my chest wall by other people, and I flat-out refused to be. I refused to be the girl with shoulder length brown hair and giant tits. I wanted to be known for so much more. I wanted to be known for the sum of my whole being- my boobs, my hair, my eyes, my feet, my enthusiasm, my bad dancing, my taste in music, my huge wealth of utterly useless knowledge, my ability to tell funny stories. My breasts don’t listen to my friends when they need someone to talk to. My breasts have never been responsible for any grade I have ever gotten. I make the choices in my life, not my breasts… or, for that matter, any part of my being.
It was because of you that I learned to not care what other people thought. It was because of you that I realized that judging people because of how they look is foolish. I will never know what goes on inside someone else if I don’t get past their physical appearance and learn to see the person they are inside. Conventional beauty and ugliness have no bearing on who the person is, and I have to get to know them for who they are, instead of how they look. Otherwise I’m selling myself short and depriving myself of the wonderful people in the world.
I’m sorry that I had to change you so dramatically so that I could learn this about myself, but I am ever thankful that I did. The funniest thing is? Even though I refuse to be defined by you, you have helped to define me better than any other body part. I am a better person now because of you. Thank you, so much, for everything we’ve put each other through, the good, the bad, the ugly.
Earrings: Handmade by Kalina
Tank: Le Lis Blanc
Bracelet: Toronto designer