Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My So Called Life

Ok, so I just finished watching the season premier of Grey's on ABC.com and then I stumbled upon My So Called Life in their list of full episode shows. YES that is right; you can stream My So Called Life on ABC.com! It's freaking awesome.

Anyway, so there are like four episodes up, and I picked the first one which happens to be episode 5 from season 1 called "the zit." Basically, Angela gets a zit, a poll comes out about the hottest girls in school (she's not on it) and her mom is starting to get fine lines on her face.
The whole episode focuses on the issues women specifically, but also people in general, have with self-esteem. In the closing line, Angela says:

"Sometimes it seems like we're all in some kind of prison and the crime is how much we hate ourselves. It's good to get really dressed up once in a while and admit the truth: that when you really look closely, people are so strange and so complicated that they're actually... beautiful. Possibly even me."

And of course it made me cry, mostly because I'm due for my period any second, but also because it is so sad and so true. Does anyone really believe that they are beautiful? Really? Even the most beautiful people in the world!? I consider myself to have pretty high self-esteem. Most people that know me know that I think I'm pretty awesome, but I struggle almost daily with my body image.

One minute, I look in the mirror and think I have nice legs, then 1/2 hour later, I see them again and I hate my calves... they've always been so big! Then I like my butt, and then I think it's too flat. I never like stomach, it's so short and wide, and I always wish my arms were thinner. And I think my neck looks fat and shapeless in most pictures. And this is coming from me, a happy, high self-esteem person! I think of myself as an attractive person. I've never really had trouble getting a date and aside from by really bad glasses in elementary school, have never had people make fun of me specifically for my looks or for my weight.

And still, I have all of these issues with my body. I'm 24, about to run a marathon, I'm probably the healthiest I've ever been (at least cardiovascularly) and I'm only about 60 to 80% happy with my body, depending on the hour. Why!? What is the problem in society? Why do we judge ourselves harder than anyone else? Why is it so hard for people to really accept and love their bodies the way they are?

We women need to stop judging each other and ourselves so harshly. Always comparing ourselves to other women. "I wish I had her stomach," "I wish I had her boobs," "If I had her body..." and on and on and on. I'm working on it, but it sure isn't easy. In the episode, Angela's mom looks at an old picture and thinks 'yeah I was pretty when I was younger... I just wish I could have appreciated it at the time.' I have a feeling most women feel that way at least a little bit.

In my 50's I bet I'll look back an think I was pretty hot in my 20's (of course I only save the pictures that make me look good!). But I do wish that I could spend less time wishing my body was different and thinking to myself, "I'm ok now, but I'll look so much better when I loose 15 pounds" and more time just admiring what I have today.

But it ain't easy.