My Body, And What I Wear Or Don't Wear, Is None Of Your Business

Society really knows how to lay on the shame.

How often do you get dressed for the day, or do your hair and makeup (eyebrows, anyone?) based on standards, stereotypes, dress codes and fashion that have been set by society?

How often do you worry about what’s appropriate and fashionably sensible?

Have you ever noticed how much of what you do is based on a standard that society has collectively set? 

The clothes you wear, the car you buy, the house you live in, the people you engage with or don’t, your sexual orientation, sex in general, etc. 

Society really knows how to lay on the shame.

I am not sure when people as a whole got together and decided to be the judgment panel for all other humans, but I am tired of it. 

If you want to be a judge, go to law school and keep your opinions in the courtroom. There’s no more room left for them anywhere else in this universe.

I remember growing up being judged and listening to people being judged by the jury panel of fashion and stereotypes, talking about who’s doing what and who’s wearing what and then labeling people based on their choices.  

I am not sure when people as a whole got together and decided to be the judgment panel for all other humans, but I am tired of it.

I was too reserved to say it then, but I’ll say it now: F off with that crap.

We are human beings. We are not objects to be labeled.  

When I was 15, my very first boyfriend was volatile, abusive and controlling. He had every say on what I wore and what I did. I loved him, so I obliged. No low-cut tank tops, no short shorts or skirts, always wear his sweater when not with him and around other people, etc. I remember the liberating day after our final breakup when I confidently wore a tank top that was previously sitting in my closet unworn because he hated it. 

Of course, a controlling partner is a little different than society’s judgement, but by how much?

When we conform to someone else’s ideals of us, we are being oppressed. 

When we allow someone else’s small-minded standards set our own bar, we are being pushed down and held back. We stay small. 

When we allow the criticisms and judgments of others to enter our psyche and change the way we think, live, act and dress, we are succumbing to shame and a form of mental abuse. 

A while ago, in the depth of my fitness journey, I posted a photo on my Instagram that highlighted my ab progress. In this particular side view picture I was wearing pants and a bra. No, not a sports bra, but a regular, breast-covering contraption with a little lace, because lace is pretty. 

Other people’s bodies are NOT yours to judge, shame, condemn, criticize or make fun of.

I received a few comments about this photo:

“Why are you posting pictures in a bra?”

“You’re too beautiful to be baring so much.”

“A lace bra is much more intimate than a sports bra.” (Don’t they serve the same purpose?)

Initially, I wanted to hide, remove my post, give into the judgment and perception of others and play small. 

But I didn’t. Instead, I changed the caption on my photo to something much more lengthy about body shaming.

I explained my body image issues for the better half of my life, how mirrors were my enemy, how people constantly made fun of my lack of boobs and questioned why I even needed to wear a bra, and how I was too embarrassed to ever let anyone even know I wore a bra and I am FINALLY a woman comfortable in her own body. A body I work damn hard for day after day in the gym and in the kitchen, and if I want to post a picture of abs I have never seen before because I felt inspired and wanted to inspire others then I should do so, without judgment or shame. 

I cannot recount the times I have received comments on my body based on being skinny, having cellulite, having acne, my eyebrows being too thin, my boobs being too small, my pants being too tight. When did it become anyone else’s business to comment on? 

Some may call it sensitive and that’s okay with me but commenting on the shape, size or condition of my body and what I like to wear or not wear on it is none of your damn business, so keep it to yourself. 

Other people’s bodies are NOT yours to judge, shame, condemn, criticize or make fun of.

I cannot recount the times I have received comments on my body based on being skinny, having cellulite, having acne, my eyebrows being too thin, my boobs being too small, my pants being too tight.

We all have different perceptions and that I can come to terms with. But I also believe we can collectively agree that we all came into this world with our little naked bodies and that was damn cute. But somewhere along the way we have been told to cover up and hide. I am all for covering up my most sensitive parts in public, no doubt, but the over-emphasis on what is right and wrong when it comes to how we choose to cover up needs a realignment.  

We have to walk through this life every single day among people who are all different shapes and sizes, and it’s hard enough trying to find your way in a world that is constantly telling you to be something that you’re not. The last thing we need as humans is to question our choices on an extremely superficial level. 

There is such an emphasis on body shaming these days, it is as if no one wants to take a look in their own mirror, so in order to deflect the attention from themselves they project all of their shortcomings on someone else to make others feel bad so they can feel better. 

But I’m not putting it on. I refuse to wear someone else’s shame in an effort to cover up what they refuse to look at in themselves. 

If I want to wear my shorts too short or my top too low, that has nothing to do with who I am as a person and everything to do with how comfortable I am in my own body.

So let me ask you, please: the next time you feel the pull to criticize or judge another human’s body ― their clothing, their hair, their style, their shape, their size ― stop and reflect. 

Ask yourself what it is in you that gives you the right to judge (the answer is nothing, if you get stuck on that one). Ask yourself what’s missing in you that warrants the need to fill the void with a superficial comment or judgment on someone else who is just trying to live their life ― quite possibly a rather difficult one. 

If I want to wear my shorts too short or my top too low, that has nothing to do with who I am as a person and everything to do with how comfortable I am in my own body (or the fact that it is 40 degrees outside and I am just trying to get by).

A lace bra or a sports bra. It doesn’t really matter, does it? 

What matters most is that we are comfortable, that we love ourselves enough to treat our bodies with respect and dignity not based on anyone else’s perception or ideals but by our very own standards based on what feels good and what doesn’t. 

So if you’re a body shamer or on the jury panel of judgment, I ask you now to reflect on what needs to shift in you, to be more comfortable in your own skin so you can release yourself from the prison of needing to judge others who never asked for your opinion in the first place. And we can all live happily ever after in whatever the hell we feel like. 

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