Hey, everyone! My name is Sarah Kate, and I'm so excited to be a part of this blog. I am a senior at BYU majoring in Middle Eastern Studies/ Arabic and minoring in Women's Studies. To help give you guys some context for my post today, I included this picture of me with my adorable little sister. Enjoy!
Like many girls, I have a love hate relationship with what I see in the mirror. I love the color of my eyes. I hate my nose. I love my dark eyelashes. I hate how thin my lips are. I love my freckles. I hate the chubby cheeks that they sit on. I am awfully self-conscious of how young I look, and I blame my cheeks.
Last week, I was trying to finish my homework for class, but I couldn't focus. There was a mirror in front of me, and whenever I looked up, all I could see were my chipmunk cheeks. I began obsessing. I felt like I was stuck in a distorting effect on Photo Booth.
Fortunately, my rational side intervened. I forced myself to remember the discussion on body image from my Women's Health class earlier in the week. My teacher had explained that someone who has positive body image sees an accurate image in a mirror, while someone with negative body image sees a distorted image. But how would I know if what I saw was reality or perception? I looked in the mirror again. I wasn't imagining things; my cheeks were still gargantuan. Suddenly, I held up my hands to hide them, and I slowly took note of my eyes, nose, mouth, chin. When I removed my hands, my cheeks were normal again.
This experience reminded me of a quote from Audrey Tautou:
"If you obsess about some defect, you make it obvious to everyone, and suddenly everyone is staring at just that defect. It's always like that. The more you hide something, the more it shows. But when you accept your defect, suddenly no one on earth sees it anymore. In fact, it becomes an asset."
My face really hadn’t fluctuated dramatically in size within a few minutes, but once I began obsessing about my cheeks, they became all I could see. Once I forced myself to remember that I am not defined by a single feature, I was able to see myself accurately.
What I finally realized is that positive body image doesn’t necessarily mean that you love every part of your body. For me, having a positive body image means that I see myself as a whole and do not define myself by what I don’t appreciate. If I can look in a mirror and see myself as a human instead of a conglomeration of disjointed defects, I'm okay. It’s all right for me to wish my cheeks were smaller, as long as I can recognize that they are only one part of me. I can dislike my cheeks, and still love myself.