For those of you who’ve known me as a grad student, you’re familiar with my near obsessive dedication to The Huf (OU’s sweet action gym, for my wayward non-Sooner readers). I’m pretty sure Kristina worried I would exercise myself to death last semester, as I’d spend hours each day pedaling and stretching and lifting and running (boo, hiss). But fear not, World-with the alleviation of all things school I quickly abandoned my workout regime. My break has consisted of sleeping, peeling oranges, and checking Facebook every 4-8 minutes. I am lazy, I am a bum. I am watching my sexy biker muscles atrophy before my very eyes, and I’m loving every second of it.
But I did take one Huf-ism home with me for Christmas, and today I would like to share it with you. As I am technologically challenged and did not until recently own an iPod (and now I still can’t operate said iPod, so…fail), I made a beeline to the magazine stash at the start of every workout. Typically I opted for the latest InTouch Trashazine so as to keep up on the marital status of Heidi and Spencer, but one fateful day the tabloid supply was woefully depleted. Shooting eye-daggers at the Debutant Sorority Princess next to me (who had been on the stair-stepper far past the 30 minute mark and was hording all the good pop-culture literature), I drearily resigned to reading Self Magazine: a publication filled with pro-women, pro-health, pro-positive articles that I find boring and ridiculous. I don’t care how to sustain my bone density; I want to know why Whitney really left The Hills. But this day I had no choice, and I headed to the stationary bike with my Self in hand.
Trying not to be a cynic and knowing I had 45 laborious minutes of cycling to kill, I started with the uber flowery Love Yourself section (for you men out there, all chick magazines have this section. I completely hate it). But this one was different. This one suggested an activity so syrupy and absurd that it peeked my interest, and I did something I’ve never done before: I tried it. That night I went home, and preparing for my post-sweaty-grossness shower, I stripped. Then, remembering back to the aforementioned article, I took a deep breath…and stepped in front of the mirror.
Self Magazine claimed every female should spend 5 nek-ed minutes in front of the mirror each day. Apparently women are overly-critical of themselves and need to accept and love their bodies (what. an. epiphany). So, I was to look at my birthday suit and declare one fabulous thing about my body before every shower. Out loud. The article even had some suggestions, like “I love the graceful curvature of my lower back” or “the definition of my clavicle makes me feel feminine.” So incredibly stupid…am I right? And yet I was intrigued.
That was a month ago. Although I sometimes ditch the self-esteem exercise when I’m running late (which is most always), I’ve surprised myself by keeping up with Naked Time since that day in the Huf. “Hark!” you say. “Self Magazine is a Godsend!” And indeed I have heeded their advice, making the article a not-total-failure. But my daily affirmations are just a tad more….weird, for lack of a better word, than I believe the author intended.
So far I’ve yet to run out of nice things to think about my buck-nakedness. However, that’s not to say I accept my body any more than the next self-deprecating female. Far from it. I still hate my scraggly chicken legs and I’m no fonder of my boyish frame than I was in November. But I have discovered some odd Frankie-isms that I proudly declare each morning during Naked Time:
“I love how, if I hold reeeeal still, I can see my heartbeat in my stomach.”
“The scar on my neck makes me feel edgy.” (If you don’t know what it’s from, don’t be scurred. Ask me.)
“I’m proud of how square and misshapen my feet are from their days in pointe shoes.”
“My weirdly defined external oblique (tummy) muscles make me look like Pink.” (umm… those are gone now.)
“I like my small and unbendy ears.” (Can you bend the top of your ears down? Yeah, I can’t.)
“My elbows are super sharp and would probably make awesome weapons.”
As you can see, I’ve wildly distorted the article’s advice and intentions. If that author only knew what I’d done with her work, she’d likely up and quit her job (as well she should, because COME ON. What a dumb idea.) But in my own way, I’ve benefitted from the magazine. I’ve grown. I’ve matured. And if not those things I’ve at least learned how to creatively insult my body. And that’s a valued skill for any insecure, under-confident, self-loathing woman like myself.
So thank you, Self Magazine. Thank you for the gift of Naked Time and innovative self-criticism. For without it, I never would’ve noticed the chicken pox scar on my leg that is kind-of-sort-of shaped like Snoopy.