I have worked in NYC for the past eight years. Most mornings, I choose to skip the short two stop subway ride to my office and take the 20 block walk instead. This tradition started when I was fresh out of college and had my first job. Walking seemed like the best option because A. I was petrified of the Subway and B. I heard a rumor that people who worked in New York stayed thin because they walked so much. So my feet became my main mode of transportation.
I remember my work wardrobe vividly for my first job. It consisted of the following:
- 2 pairs of pants from Express (one black and one brown), worn on rotation
- 2 pairs of heels from The Nine West Outlet (BOGO) (one black and one brown)
- A few solid color button downs from New York & Company
- 1 argyle sweater from Old Navy that I stole from my sister
To me, this wardrobe said fit in, but don’t stand out.
Still looking to make my small mark in this big city, I became very drawn to watching other women on my walk to work who looked confident and settled into their lives and their jobs. In taking note of the way they carried themselves, I also took note of the way they dressed. Outfits that caught my attention were stored in my mental wardrobe. Many were articles of clothing I would never think to put together. I would literally say in my head, I could pull that off. I’d find myself in stores mimicking new looks I’d seen on the streets. It was Pinterest before Pinterest. But I didn’t want their exact clothes; I only wanted their ideas to make them into my own. I took a little something from everyone to create my style.
Eight years later I wouldn’t say my wardrobe is “that cool” or “that trendy,” but it’s come a long way from black and brown solids. And frankly, I love it. I like to think I have developed my own quirky sense of style. And if nothing else, I think my mom, sister & husband would agree.
So that had me thinking, why don’t we do the same thing with our bodies? For the most part, we all “like the way we dress.” We like the clothes we buy or we wouldn’t buy them. We often even compliment our own clothes. “Omg, I just bought the most amazing jeans,” OR “I love this shirt so much that I am buying it in every color.” We would never buy a friends exact outfit would we? Never. So why do we want other people’s exact bodies?
How many times have you signed off Facebook and been completely depressed? You look at pictures others’ posted and see all their amazing qualities and it makes you hate everything about yourself.
When it comes to our physical appearance and weight, we are in a constant state of want. We set goals to look like another person. We long to have one friends skinnier legs, one friends flatter stomach, one friend’s lack of cellulite and so on. Or you wish you looked like a random girl from high school on Facebook who is pregnant and has managed to only gain weight in her stomach.
What’s worse is we actually think our life would be better if we looked exactly like those people. How many times have you thought, she’s skinny so she must not have a care in the world. I’m guilty.
It never crosses our minds that maybe someone wants to be us. Maybe someone is desperate for a part of us that we spend so much time putting down. When is the last time you looked in the mirror and complimented something on your body? How rare is it that you look in the mirror and admire yourself, the way you admire others? Let’s stop using the mirror as a magnifying glass for our flaws. Let’s stop wishing we had what someone else had. Instead, let’s take on a challenge to see the best reflection of ourselves.