Guest Post: Beauty & Self-Worth

I’m learning how to love myself, belly rolls and all. My body is a wonderful tool, not something to be scrutinized or ashamed of.

As a human with access to multiple social media platforms and magazines, you’d have to live under a rock to not know our culture places an enormous focus on physical beauty and appearance. We admire certain models, celebrities, fitness coaches, and peers for their hair, body, makeup, clothing. Why not? It feels great to applaud people for their fabulousness and dedication to be ridiculously good looking.

But, like, hell-o? We already knew this from age six when we caved wore scrunchies and Oshkosh B-Gosh overalls to fit in? Duh.

So while I will always be your cheerleader for posting a great bikini pic (you better werk), I will also be your biggest fan no matter what you look like if I truly find you beautiful on the inside. Cellulite and all.

We all struggle with our self confidence when it comes to comparing ourselves with others.  There is always someone with better hair, eyebrows, abs, and legs than us. It’s hard not to fall into a black hole on the Instagram “Explore” page.

Sometimes we’re able to brush off our feelings of self-doubt and love ourselves for what we are. Other times, it’s hard not to feel inadequate while scrolling through airbrushed photos of others frolicking on the beach or posing with coconuts.

It’s okay. I’m not here to bash anyone for what they decide to post or who they admire for their looks. Instead, I hope to give you a little perspective from someone who has over forty years (but doesn’t look a day over thirty) of experience dealing with pressure from culture to look a certain way.

My mom’s journey has not been easy, but she continues to redefine beauty every day. She enjoys eating whole foods and has learned to ease up on her formerly rigorous training regime.

Enter Karen Hovie.

My mom is truly one of the most beautiful souls in the world. I say this not only as her daughter, but as a young woman who looks up to a powerful woman who is fighting to change our perception of “beautiful” and what it means.

I asked her to write a guest post and she agreed to share her perspective. Sometimes we need a reminder that we’re all gorgeous kweens! Being stunningly gorgeous isn’t simply knowing how to do your makeup or what to wear or how to eat or exercise…it’s being comfortable in your own skin and knowing YOU ARE ENOUGH as you are.

So as bikini season approaches (it has arrived, honey), here is a kind reminder that your self-worth should not be determined by how closely you resemble a celebrity or model.

Respect your body, eat whole foods so you have energy to spread good vibes, and learn to appreciate yourself for what you are: a fabulous betch that is unapologetically herself.

Enjoy!

***

Last summer, after reading Jennifer Aniston’s rather scathing essay to the media addressing body shaming, I was inspired to write the following:

I give Jennifer Aniston credit for going public with her frustrations with the media in its portrayal of the female experience. However, I wonder if the message would have been more powerful had she been compelled to address a picture of her that was inarguably beautiful, but inarguably edited, instead of one that cast her in a ‘less than perfect’ light.

Now that would have sent a powerful message.

And that was as far as I got.

Shortly after Aniston’s essay hit the press, I was watching ‘LIVE with Kelly’ (a guilty summertime pleasure). ‘Dancing with the Stars’ judge Carrie Ann Inaba was co-hosting. As she interacted with the audience, I was drawn to her charismatic personality. She radiated joy and self confidence. I was also aware that she looked healthy. Vibrant even. She did not have the rock hard athletic body of Kelly Ripa; she looked real.

And then, she grabbed her stomach roll for all the world to see. I could not have loved her more!

Now, fast forward to last month, when my daughter Kristin asked me to write a guest post for her blog on…body image. (You knew that was coming, right?) I felt it was a sign, because while I never finished writing the post, I didn’t delete it either. This was the push I needed.

Before I go any further, there are a few things you should know about me. First and foremost, I am passionate about health and wellness. I eat a mostly whole food, plant-based diet. I exercise consistently and in moderation most of the time. I typically get 7-8 hours a sleep. On most days I devote time to prayer and meditation. Yet in spite of this all, having a positive body image is something I continually struggle with work on.

(Words bolded, as I don’t want you to get the impression that I am perfect, as I most certainly am not. Nor do I strive for it.)

Truthfully, while the topic of body image is near and dear to my heart, figuring out what to write has been challenging. Very challenging.

What could I write that you didn’t already know? What could I write that would make a difference in your life?

You understand the importance of positive body image.

You know the consequences of possessing a poor body image.

You’re probably aware most women have a negative body image.

And I know you are well aware of social media’s negative impact on body image.

We all know all of this, yet little changes.

Social media continues to be inundated with before and after pictures, sweaty post-workout pictures, edited pictures, bodies positioned in perfect-angle pictures…pictures suggesting there is an ideal.

Reality says (as do numerous surveys), few of us look like the so called ideal.

More importantly, we weren’t meant to.

Yet we keep trying to morph our bodies into something unnatural. We keep trying to be something we weren’t meant to be. We are brainwashed into believing we should be slender with a flat stomach and thigh gap, wear a size 2, have muscle tone, tanned skin, white teeth, and thick hair. And if we don’t meet these qualifications? Well…

And that’s when I think back to Carrie Ann Inaba. She looked healthy. She was comfortable in her own skin. And I think because of this, I admired her. A lot. She was somebody I would love to get to know.

The world needs more Carrie Ann Inabas.

And then I began to wonder, are there more Carrie Ann Inabas out there?

Turns out, there are. In my search for positive role models, I discovered a movement in the world of social media. There are women posting ‘before and after’ pictures taken within minutes of each other in an effort to make a point; looks can be altered in mere seconds. What you see, isn’t necessarily real. Perception is not necessarily reality.

I applaud these real women. We need to see belly rolls. We need to see cellulite. We need to see back fat. We need to see wrinkles and stretch marks and freckles and zits. We need to see authentic women. We need to see how an ideal body can disappear in the blink of an eye, because, until authenticity becomes the norm, positive body image will continue to be a struggle for many of us.

We will continue to strive to attain bodies we can’t healthily maintain, because in our quest to achieve the ideal, we’ve stopped taking care of ourselves. We’ve stopped listening to what our bodies are telling us. We’ve stopped being intuitive.

So what if we started listening? Really listening.

What if the focus shifted from outward appearance to overall health? What if we honored our bodies by eating real food, exercising daily and in moderation, and making time for rest and spiritual rejuvenation?

Could you accept your outward appearance knowing you were taking care of yourself?

And not that it should be a driving force, but just how do you want to be remembered?

By the hours you spent at the gym? The miles you’ve logged? The size of your clothes? The number of the scale? Your hair? Complexion? Muscle tone? Thigh gap?

I hope not. I hope this is not what defines you.

You are so much more than your outward appearance.

What matters, what truly matters, is who you are. What’s going to make a difference, is what you do.

So what if, we simply lived and focused our efforts on doing all we could to make the world a better place?

 

For more, head over to my mom’s blog 2write4health.com. She shares some great recipes, witty puns, and offers health and fitness advice.

Favorite child status?

Advertisements

K HOVS UNCUT: Why I’m Going to Stop Editing the ^&%$ Out of Instagram Pics and Why I Won’t Let the Neenah Dump Man Get Me Down

So if you begrudgingly follow me on Snapchat and saw my (literally) 150 second long story today, you know I wasn’t exactly feelin’ myself today.

BUT LET ME EXPLAIN.

Given I’m still on the hunt for a job, I am currently working manual labor jobs that need to be done at the apartments my family owns. We’re talking like sub $400/month, “let’s just repaint the ceiling and walls to get rid of the yellow stains from the cigarette smoke”, “is that a dead body..?” type of deal. I’m like, way too fab for this. I destroyed two of my acrylic nails from chucking around musty carpet. Eh mah gawd, ew?!

Life is obviously pretty hard. But anyway, bottom line is that I’ve been nixing makeup and my hair every day because whyyyyy would I want to look like a stripper in the apartments I’m cleaning? I stand on the corner outside the complex with some highlighter, contoured cheekbones, and my brows done- I look like a hard 3 out of 10 on the hotness scale. And let’s just say that around there, 2’s would get picked up no question. Clearly I am in immediate danger everywhere I go.

Long story short, your homie has been looking ratchet AF lately. I avoid Snapchats of my face, I’ve gone MIA on selfies on Insta (perhaps a blessing in disguise <3), and certainly don’t plan on going anywhere but Walmart or the city dump on without trying to look god awfully superficial. So that’s where I went today and what leads me to my 10pm-on-a-Thursday-let’s-do-a-blog-post! I visited the good ole Neenah dump. I was feeling “defiantly ugly” (compared to the not even realistic pics of me on social media) as I said in my own words on Twitter this morning and was mentally daring someone to make a comment on my appearance or shield their child’s eyes from looking upon my lack of hygiene/self care.

Clearly, guys, I’m being a little dramatic here. Definitely even more than “little”. I consider myself #blessed to have what I do have and am fully capable of doing my makeup to emphasize what I like and de-emphasize what I don’t to flaunt the fact that I am indeed a %^& damn woman. But keeping this in mind, when I was at the dump today, that kinda flew all out the window. Self confidence is a fickle thing, my friends.

This morning I woke up with a huge-ass zit and tried to fix it by using a heat compress (normally this works great) but instead proceeded to scald the shit out of my face and create an even more obnoxious mark than before. Before I left the house, I half haphazardly smeared some concealer over it knowing the only thing it was really helping was getting my ass out the door in a timely manner (ask any of my friends about the time I had a barely noticeable sty in my eye sophomore year of college- I refused to leave my dorm and go out on a Friday night because of it).

After I reached the dump, I offered up my driver’s license to this old man who basically sits there all day checking ID’s and telling people where to dump their stuff. I absentmindedly gave it to him as he squinted at it.

“This isn’t you”, he said looking back at me, “…you have…more hair here.”

The fuck I have more hair in that driver’s license.

He was clearly confused at why this $ young thug $ with a butt-ton of acne (just started the Clarisonic and am going through the purge phase) and greasy hair was trying to dump her shit at the Neenah dump with her stolen older sister’s ID. I honestly didn’t know what to tell him, so I just told him, “oh. El-oh-el, yeah….” or something lame like that. Truth be told, I was completely offended by his response to my ID, so I chucked a cinderblock in Bin #2 when I fully knew it belonged in “Concrete”. Oo, burn. That’ll show him.

This led me to go home and mope around for a little while, make some brownies, and watch some makeup tutorials on Youtube. I felt as though I was definitely treated differently by some people depending on if I was wearing makeup or not. I considered myself to look like nothing special without anything on, ugly compared to Candice Swanepoel, beauty gurus on Youtube, and other celebrities and the like. That’s when I put on the breaks and got to where I am tonight- sitting on my bed at home trying to type on my laptop with these freaking talon-like nails on (but they look absolutely fab, dahhling).

Well first off, I told myself, it is more than likely all in my head that I’m treated differently whether I’m wearing makeup or not.

Secondly,

who

gives

a

shit.

Whogivesashitwhatothersthink?!

I had been wrapped up in my head about comparing myself to others, thinking extremely superficially (I mean, not even wanting to leave the house because of a crater on my face?!), and worrying about a guy not liking me because I don’t look like those super hot Instagram models with the ripped AF abs and hair down to their ass (definitely extensions, anyway) all of the time.

I have a wonderful family, running water, a ❤ toilet <3, more clothes than a lot of kids could ever ask for, and a shit ton of other things. Yes, I got down to that point. Kind of pathetic, but given today’s social media situation and the fact that barely anyone uploads pics without editing them first (yes, I edit my pics too, I look at my own Instagram and think wow, I wish I really was her- this “Kristin Hovie” idea- I feel like my videos are a much better reflection of myself). Bottom line is that getting too absorbed in that world will never make me or you happy. There’s always going to be someone skinnier, more ripped, tanner, yadda-yadda than you. So why buy into it?

It’s hard not to. The fact that I am writing this post is a clear sign that I’m almost 23 and completely lost my way even after uploading “body image” posts on this very blog. I want to believe that I’m this perfect-but-not-too-perfect girl that appears on Instagram and Facebook, but truth is I am completely not. The only difference between myself on social media six years ago as opposed to now is that I don’t make lame Facebook statuses about getting grounded and I know how to edit and retouch my pictures, and not to hold the camera below my face so I get the double chin going on. Oh, also, puberty I suppose. Shit hit me like a brick wall.

1927824_1097018268424_9236_n

Pre-editing skills and mid-puberty. That’s actually my natural hair color too. What a natural picture. I wonder if this made it on the Christmas card that year…

Yeah, that's right. Hold up the boogie board. Whenever you feel insecure in a pic just grab the nearest boogie board and hold it up in front of your insecurity.

Yeah, that’s right. Hold up the boogie board. Whenever you feel insecure in a pic just grab the nearest boogie board and hold it up in front of your insecurity.

If you’re going to get anything out of this god-awfully long post besides me just bitching about how I don’t look like Kim K. or Gisele Bundchen, I hope that this is a reminder that what you see on social media isn’t often the full story. No one’s skin is as clear and smooth as the pictures and yes, celebs often use apps to thin out their legs (I even paid 99 cents for the app Kylie Jenner uses- 99 FRICKIN’ CENTS WHO AM I). My challenge to myself in the next months is to stop editing pictures unless its redeye or cropping my friends out of pics because I want a pic of how great my ass looked in those jeans that one time (tee-hee!). In turn, I hope to be less of a part of the problem that is becoming the norm. Girls (guys too) shouldn’t have to look at all these pictures and think they are inadequate based based purely on physical features. No one should. Life’s too short to worry about that shit. I’d like to think the world would be a whole less superficial if we concentrated on making ourselves more beautiful on the inside than on the outside- which is as stereotypical as I can get ever, but it definitely reaffirms it for myself typing it here. As a person who dabbles much of her spare time in cosmetics, beauty, fashion, and other such things, it’s never too much hearing this again and again, and I don’t think it’s bad for others like myself to be reminded this as well.

The basic bitch in me says, “YOU ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL”. Believe it even when you don’t because there’s a whole lot more to life then fretting about how crooked your cat-eye is or if your concealer went on patchy. Life is more than skin-deep, grasshoppahs. Some day you won’t be able to count soley on your looks making you happy- that much is true (that’s up for debate but let me have my moment,  I want to drop the mic here).

And lastly, don’t let the man at the Neenah dump tear you down! SOLIDARITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Xoxo,

Ace~

After Dropping the Mic On My Last Post, Here’s A Follow Up on BODY IMAGE: More Angst, Another Kristin Hovie College Journey

I’m really not sure how to approach this post but I’ve sat down about to write it nearly four times. I figured I’d just YOLO this time- which kinda scares me because my last post was me like *dropping the mic* on your butt and now I have no idea where this is going to go.

But anyway~

BODY IMAGE.

So about my personal journey <3, y’all know if you follow me on Twitter that I am so passionately in love with Taco Bell that I created a whole different Twitter account that keeps you peasants in the know as to if I got TBell yet. Most of the tweets say “no” but there are at least three times recorded where I say “hell yeah” or just proceed to take a crappy-quality flash of pic of a plastic bag filled with quesadillas, potato soft tacos, and nothing short of fifteen mild sauces.

As you also may know, pretty much every time I’ve tweeted from that account I’m also a wine bottle into a ❤ girl’s night <3.

It’s no wonder my dumb butt gained about ten pounds my last semester at school. The combination of eating either so incredibly healthy then going insane and binge eating fast food and drinking no less than 4 bottles of wine per week did nothing good for me. To make matters worse, I decided to boycott exercising about a month after getting to school.

I had gotten back into my old pattern of feeling like crap if I didn’t nearly pass out from working out. I tried yoga but felt like it was just replacing lifting and not giving me enough cardio. I wanted to like it, but felt guilty unless I was doing a 3 mile warm up followed by sprints and a half an hour of abs. Truth be told, I would have been better off just doing yoga four times a week than exercising intensely for a week straight then doing nothing for the next month.

As I’m sure many of you girls do as well, I constantly find myself looking back on my high school pictures and wishing I could be that skinny again. Comparing my eighteen-year-old self to my current body is nothing short of embarrassing. College athletics changed me from thin to holy effin’ balls I’m only benching 80 pounds but how come my arms seem thick as hell? As I’m looking at these comparison pics below, however, I realize I look completely unhealthy as a high school senior. If you read my last post, you know I had a somewhat rough senior year in high school when my best friend left for college. I was limiting myself to under 1,000 calories per day and constantly feeling lightheaded was the norm. At the time I don’t think I was doing it for the “looks” as much as I doing it as a cry for attention at my friend. It didn’t work and she ultimately didn’t care.

Here's a really shiity PicStitch of me (on the left) as a junior in college and (on the right) my senior year of high school. Lifting and working out a lot had me gaining muscle which kind of scared me.

Here’s a really crappy Pic Collage of me (on the left) as a junior in college and (on the right) my senior year of high school. Lifting and working out a lot had me gaining muscle which kind of scared me.

But anyway, point in check, I was unhealthy at the time but couldn’t help but wish I had that body again. Seeing models and celebrities like Candice Swanepoel, Gisele Bundchen, Karlie Kloss, Taylor Swift, and Martha Hunt convinced me that unless my thighs were as thick as my calves, I was completely undesirable.

It’s terrible to watch myself (and other girls that I know) realize that they are being manipulated by magazines/television/movies but yet still want to look that way regardless. To this day, I refuse to even think about dating someone unless I lose twenty pounds, get rock hard abs, and have legs like Gisele (this is clearly a maladaptive thought but still persists in my mind regardless). I’m well aware that guys don’t all want a girl who looks like Kendall Jenner, but still struggle with believing it 100%. I am a direct result of the media and I’m sure I’m not alone on this.

So now that I’ve whined your ear off about my life, I’d like to try and solve this problem. I mean, if you made it this far in this post I might as well make it worth your while, right?

Right. So here’s a limerick about McNuggets.

Completely just kidding but anyway-

I’ve been doing some thinking about how to be happy in regard to myself physically.

The thought of making exercise my entire life and consuming a huge portion of my day makes me nauseous. I’ve already spent four years of my life dedicated to busting my ass for sprints, chasing and diving after a loose volleyball, and making all kinds of mad gains brah in the weight room. I don’t need to spend the rest of my life working out for that long per day. I’d rather do hoodrat stuff with my friends. So instead, I like to think that the energy I used to put into working out as an athlete can be used to instead be more conscious of what I eat. Not obsessive, but more conscious.

To add, working out intensely for only thirty minutes per day is completely acceptable as is walking at a moderate pace for an hour. I don’t need to be doing sprints for heaven’s sake. I would probably bust out a knee.

And last but most importantly, as soon as I say I should do something or I must do something I will realize I’m thinking in absolutes– a problematic thinking pattern. I just went all CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) on you, but hear me out. Saying things like, “I should go do twenty sprints” or “I must go out and run or I’m a complete fat ass” lead to guilt for what you didn’t do. Adding flexibility to my daily routine and being forgiving of myself has added a new element of happiness to my life. Who cares if I didn’t run frickin’ five miles today- it doesn’t make me any more or any less of a person.

PERSONAL OPINION ALERT************

Happiness for me doesn’t directly stem from simply working out. My happiness more often comes from me accepting my best effort (which is sometimes just getting my ass to the gym) and making healthier choices but not obsessing over it. I’m a lot happier doing a moderate workout than burning 1,000 calories and feeling like a bag of dicks because I’m so tired. This may not work for you, but it’s what has been kinda working for me lately. Maybe it would work for you. Who knows. But here, I’ll put things in perspective quick:

Your body is a wonderful chunk of flesh that is capable of doing a lot of cool crap if you let it. But that is essentially what it is- a chunk of flesh. Even though I gained a solid ten pounds (and definitely not in muscle) this past semester, none of my friends stopped talking to me. They still appeared to like me. Most people, I’ve learned, are comfortable around me when I’m comfortable around me. So even though I do not look like Alessandra Ambrosio in a bikini, if I act accepting of whatever is deemed not as desirable by the media, my friends have accepted me as well (if they aren’t complete shitheads, which if this is the case, your friends suck and you should work to change that because everyone deserves great friends).

All in all, even though the media makes a huuuuuge ass deal over how important having a great body is, I like to think that I’m more than that chunk of flesh. If you work your butt off for a great body, good for you. Be proud of yourself. If you don’t give a damn about working out, all the power to you. It doesn’t make you any less of a person. It may cause you to get heart disease later in life, but hey, who are we to judge?

So I hope this kind of gives you a perspective on things or gives you a chance to delve into the deep complexities of my brain on a daily basis (lolz just kidding, I mainly think about tacos and trying to remember where I put my darned car keys- little bugger seems to always run away from me!!).

But this is what I thought, when I thought it. Ten years from now I may disagree, but this is what gets me through life right now. I’m a work in progress and can offer you no for sure “answers”, but hopefully I’ve made you think a little about yourself and how you handle the issue of body image!

And here’s that limerick on McNuggets:

There once was a chicken who said,

“Well eff me I’m going to bed”

Three minutes passed and a snore

Then a chop and no more

“A McNugget!” a gleeful Hov said

~inspired by McDonald’s and Edward Lear’s Book Of Nonsense

xx Krusty Krust