|Nance Thacker copyright 1984|
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GO TO THE BEACH.
I'm not kidding. Take a weekend and DO NOT:
- watch the TV
- look at magazines, newspapers or ads
- surf the net
- go to the movies
Just throw on your bathing suit, get out there into the real world, GO TO THE BEACH AND PEOPLE WATCH. You'll be amazed at the wide varieties of bodies: walking around, swimming, reading, jumping in the waves, playing volleyball and just hanging out — while letting it all hang out!
And as you watch them all, watch your mind, your judgements, your comparisons, your self-righteousness, your self-loathing; it'll all be there, baby. No need to go into seclusion for self-awareness, cus it's all right there in spades until finally you'll realize (despite what you may be thinking or feeling) hey, these people are having a good time.
Sure you'll see some bodies that are beautiful by today's limited standards; you'll also notice how fleeting it all is. Just observe the Rubenesque figure, the old gnarly body that won't give up, the pudginess of youth, slender tiny boned and delicate types, round and full ones, lumpy ones and smooth ones, dark and fair, etherial ones that seem like they could float away and earthy types, grounded and powerful.
Bikini wearing bodies of every description can be seen at every turn til finally that old disapproving tape oh, she shouldn't be wearing that changes (if you can be that honest with yourself) to I wish I felt that secure, confident and accepting of my body.
If you find yourself stuck in silent judgment notice if it matters to those around you on the beach. Not one bit. Then ask yourself, thinking these thoughts, how do I feel right now? How do I feel about my own body?
Observe bodies just being what they are: fat, bones, muscle, hair, dimples, wrinkles, smiles, giggles, laughter, lounging, running, swimming, kissing, cuddling, playing. See if you can't help but find the beauty in each one.
Then go home, strip down in front of a mirror and see the beauty that you are — because somewhere in that mass of bodies is you too.