Love The Skin You’re In

I write first thing in the morning.  The upside is that it’s easier to get into that creative flow state because my brain is rested and ready to go. The downside is I often find myself distracted through the day by the issues the characters are facing.

I’m finishing up the Scythian Legacy, the second book in the Scythian series which is based on a culture that values equality, knowledge, and truth.

I’m sure you can see the problem here. We are living in a world filled with manipulation, fake news, misogyny, and inequality. My mind wanders, and I begin to think about how the Scythians would handle these situations.

It’s distracting at best.

Take, for example, the complex issue of women and their struggle with body image.

The Scythian culture is steeped in respect for the human body. They view our culture’s obsession with outward appearances as juvenile and ridiculous. Their clothes are made so they can move freely, be comfortable, and express their individuality.  They don’t wear makeup, only die their hair if a mission calls for it, and they’d never allow the opinions of others to dictate what they wear or how they feel. Aging isn’t shamed but rather celebrated, so wrinkles and gray hair are a sign of distinction, not something to hide.

Unfortunately, starting at a young age, our cultures teach children to be hyper-critical of their bodies. We spend our lives cataloging each flaw, hiding blemishes and freckles under layers of makeup, wearing uncomfortable clothes that lift and support, stuffing our feet into painful shoes that give us bone issues later in life. We feel less desirable as we age as if our entire worth is based on whether we are deemed attractive or not.

Maybe I’m sensitive to the subject because my formative years were during the height of objectification. Every girl I knew made themselves vomit if they overate. It was common practice to starve to fit in that dress, or to abuse laxatives if you were having a “fat day.” The beach was only for thin girls; the rest of us were too ashamed of our thighs. No one jogged or ran because our boobs and butts jiggled and we didn’t want anyone to see. Any exercise was done in basements or women’s fitness centers, away from eyes that might judge. And good Lord, don’t get me started on searching for the perfect bra, one that minimizes as well as lifts and supports while hiding that back fat that seems to spring eternal.

It’s no wonder beauty products are a multi-billion dollar industry.

But what if our culture embraced Scythian ideology?

What if we chose to teach our children that strength of the heart, mind, and body are more important than beauty? And, as adults, what if we started appreciating our legs that carry us wherever we go instead of hating them for being too big, too lumpy, too short? What if we love our eyes for the sight they let us experience instead of wishing they were bigger or weren’t this color, or that shape? What if we were grateful for the skin protecting us instead of grumbling that we are too light, too dark, too freckled, or too blemished? What if every time we took in a lovely scent we appreciated the ability to smell instead of wishing our noses weren’t so wide, so short, too long or thin for our faces?

And for those of us blessed with children, instead of being embarrassed by those tiger-stripes circling our lower abdomen, what if we were proud of them? Scythian females view stretch marks as an honor of distinction, for they serve as a reminder they were able to bring the next generation to fruition.

I’ve started listening to the thoughts rumbling in my mind about my body, and I was horrified at the negative self-speak I discovered. Years of self-criticism can’t be fixed overnight, but I’m working on it by flipping the mental script that runs through my head. Now, when I see a picture of myself, instead of cringing at my smile, I appreciate my crooked teeth because they help me eat so I can stay healthy. Instead of feeling bad about the crow’s feet and the lines around my mouth, I’m thankful. They are proof that I’ve had a lifetime of laughter and love.

The Scythians are right. Life’s too short, my friends. Love the body your in. Respect it. Give it what it needs to remain healthy and vibrant.

And screw our society. No one dictates your worth or your beauty.

So go, female warriors. Be fierce. Be compassionate. Be you.

 

Images found on Unsplash

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