The Right to Bare Arms

Last night, I sat watching a new show on TLC called Skin Tight. It’s a reality show that tells the stories of people who have lost a lot of weight, and are stuck with extra skin because of the weight loss. The man and woman they featured were both so ashamed of their bodies that it affected their relationships with their spouses, kids, and even strangers. It broke my heart.  These people thought they were constantly being judged by the outside world, so they didn’t live life to the fullest. Instead, they hid themselves, living in depression. They had worked so hard to lose a hundred (or even hundreds) of pounds, only to be disappointed-even ashamed-of their new bodies.

 

As someone who gained a lot of weight rapidly through Prednisone during my battle with CIDP, I am well aware that I may eventually be in their shoes. I have stretch marks EVERYWHERE. Over the years, I’ve learned to accept them as my “battle scars.” And as someone who is in the process of losing weight (hopefully about 115 pounds total by the time I’m at goal), I don’t know what my skin is going to do.

 

I have struggled for years with my upper arms.  At one point, I made peace with them, and decided that I didn’t care what other people thought. I even wear tank tops to the gym on a regular basis. Nobody has ever commented about my arms. If they ever did, I’d be more than happy to share my journey with CIDP and weight loss.

 

We live in a society where even models are uncomfortable in their own skin. Our culture is obsessed with outer beauty, while internally our souls are dying. We search for the next quick fix to look younger, slimmer or prettier, while we’re still unfulfilled and unhappy people. Does a woman with a less-than-perfect body have less of a right to feel good about herself than a supermodel, or even the size-two teenager on the treadmill next to her? Who makes the rules, and why do we follow them so blindly?

 

I, for one, believe we have the right to bare arms. So what if my arms are flabby? Look past the negative! Maybe the girl with the saggy skin has bright eyes, a nice smile, and more importantly, a beautiful soul. Girls, we can’t let our culture dictate what our worth is, and what beauty is. I know you know in your hearts where true beauty can be found.