By Amy Power
March 11, 2018
Body image means something different to everybody, there’s no one universal definition. Similarly, what is a healthy shape or size for one person, may not be healthy for another. With this in mind, we’d like to introduce Shawna. A working mother of two, Shawna Lauziere has always been petite. Currently a size six or eight, you and I may look at her and think she is beautiful (she is!), healthy (she is!), and warm hearted (she is!). Yet she still harbors feelings of unrest. When Shawna and I spoke, she recalled that prior to becoming pregnant with her first daughter, she was 5’ tall, 112 lbs, and she still felt like she was fat. She recalls, “I was 27 and I was going to the gym all the time and doing Jenny Craig…I always wanted to be smaller. Then I had my babies, one after the other, and I felt like I was huge.”
Throughout our conversation, I noticed one recurring theme: Even while saying she felt ok about her size, Shawna kept emphasizing, “of course I always want to be smaller… everyone wants to be smaller!”
My question is: why? It hasn’t always been this way. Not so long ago, in our own state of Maine, attributes such as strength, a full figure, and common sense were valued in women. So when did this shift occur? How did this shift occur? Shawna is not alone in her desire to be smaller, so many women echo those sentiments on a daily basis. It’s as if we are programmed to chip away at ourselves until all that remains is a skeletal frame. We tell ourselves clothes drape better, we’ll feel more confident, we’ll be more attractive. But what is the cost? When is enough enough? At what point are we worthy? How much of ourselves do we have to give in an effort to achieve… what… perfection? Perfection on whose terms?
I want to live my life on my terms. I am constantly telling my daughter, “you are the boss of your own body”. Well, I need to be the example; I’m the boss of my own body too. I choose what I put into it to nourish myself, I choose how to exercise it to keep it strong, and I choose to feel beautiful. I choose to embrace myself, at every stage and in every iteration. I choose me. Are you ready to choose you, too?