My Body Is Like a Prius
No, I haven’t figured out the secret to making my body more “fuel” efficient with the same amount of fuel. I am speaking more of aesthetics.
I am a car person and I notice cars — all cars. I can tell you the make and models of most popular cars on the road (except for the ones that are just arbitrary letters and numbers — those throw me off). I don’t know (or care) much about the engines, except to note how fuel efficient (or not) a particular car is. But I do notice the lines, the details, the trends in design.
When the Prius came out, it was an entirely new look (and still is). I thought it was one of the ugliest cars I had ever seen. It reminded me of the concept vehicles you see at auto shows, but that never actually make it to market. I appreciated its standing as the most fuel efficient car on the road, but I just couldn’t get over the looks. I would never be able to drive one of those things. Especially after they redesigned it to its current and even more modern look.
Fast forward to present day, and if I could pick any car to drive, it would be the Prius. Yes, I have become more aware of my impact on the environment and would like to minimize that impact as much as possible. But I can honestly say I love the look of the Prius. I guess you could say it has grown on me. The first time I saw it, it was such a departure from the norm, it was hard for me to appreciate it. But now, at least where I live, the Prius IS the norm. They are everywhere. Consequently, perhaps through the simple processes of desensitization and acclimation, my standard of what a beautiful car is has changed.
So how does this relate to my body? Well, there was a time when I would stand in front of the mirror naked, feeling completely repulsed by what I saw. There was a vast disconnect between the images that led to what I believed were ideal — images that are hard to avoid — and what I saw in my reflection. I justified this mindset by arguing that I wasn’t striving for Hollywood thin. I just wanted to look fit and healthy — like the women on cover after cover of Fitness, Shape, and Self magazines, all of which I subscribed to. Everywhere I looked, I saw images of what I should look like, or at least what I am supposed to WANT to look like, and every time I looked in the mirror, it was like looking at the Prius for the first time. It wasn’t what I was used to seeing in terms of everything I saw around me, and I didn’t like it.
Finally realizing how unhealthy this mindset was, I went about the process of desensitizing myself, much in the way I became naturally desensitized by my increased exposure to the Prius. The more I saw the Prius, the more I liked it. So, I thought, why not force myself to stand in front of the mirror, without sucking in my stomach, without looking for the most flattering pose. Just stand in front of the mirror and see me. Just me. Without comparing that image to anything else. And suddenly I realized that not only was nothing wrong with what I saw in the mirror. To the contrary, what I saw was a remarkable, beautiful thing. I removed my preconceived ideas from what I saw, and when I observed each part of my body — my protruding belly, my “saddle-bag” thighs, my puffy knees — I realized they are just that. They are not better or worse than another woman’s body. They are just different. Just like the Prius was different. My body’s beauty comes from its uniqueness. And everywhere I look now, I see that beauty in other women. When I go to the gym, I certainly see women with perfect bodies (though I’d be willing to bet they don’t see them that way), but I also see women of all shapes and sizes who don’t fit the standard idea of beauty, but are beautiful nonetheless. So let’s all become a Prius, and change what it means to be beautiful.