I Am Not Your Body Goals
I remember being sixteen years old, working my first "real" job at Sears. I was ringing up a woman and her daughter and out of nowhere, the mother says to her daughter, "see, she has a nice shape and body size" pointing at me. I smiled and said "thank you." In that moment, I took what she said as a compliment. I finished helping them with their purchase and they went along their way. It wasn't until later that evening when I stopped and took some time to process what happened, that I actually realized what was going on during that interaction.
I recall the daughter looking at me in sort of an envious way and if I am not mistaken, she had a larger body than mine. When her mother issued me that "compliment," she did not smile in agreement. She simply nodded her head and maintained a very blank and almost sad sare. Looking back, I realize that woman was not actually paying me a compliment (at least not one that I am proud of today), but most likely shaming her daughter about her own body. At best, she was glorifying my body in a way that suggested that someone else's body might be inferior. And that is not okay. I am not your body goals...and you are not mine.
To go a step further, no one should be anyone's body goals. You are your own goals, always and forever. I believe this firmly, but I wish it was a more popular opinion. In this country, diet culture rules. The basis of nearly all diets and fitness programs is the idea that there is something wrong with the way you look and because of this, you always need to be striving for a smaller size/weight/waist/etc.
And to be quite honest...I am so over that thought process. There are so many other more important things in this life to consider...like the actual health of your body or your life's passions and goals or your family...or a TON of other things. I refuse to spend any more time fantasizing over other people's bodies, or even over the body that used to be mine in high school. Our bodies are supposed to change, therefore, attaching my happiness or confidence to something that is ever-changing is silly, at best and sad, at worst.
On my new mental vision board, under the category of health/wellness, I am focusing on things like strength, flexibility, energy and endurance, prayer/meditation, joy, absence of disease, normal blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol and most importantly, time for self-care and reflection. Being a specific size or weight will no longer be the focus of my fitness (it hasn't been for a while, actually) and I will continue to do my very best to make sure that my children see beauty and value in their bodies no matter the size.
I don't know who that young lady was or how she was feeling that day. I especially don't know how she is doing now or what (if any) body image issues she may have developed and overcome. But if I were able to communicate with her now, I'd like to tell her that she is beautiful and her body is/was perfect at every single stage of her life and development. I'd want her to know that her mother's words, while likely spoken with good intentions, were not okay and that she should never look to another woman for her sense of self-worth or body confidence. Simply put, I'd say, I am not your body goals.