arms & the woman

It’s been a while since I wrote something here, but I’m back with an interesting observation! I’d shared a little about my body image issues and skewed perceptions in the past two journal posts, and figured I should continue with it, as there’s so much more to say!

Well, my latest observation stems from this picture. I’d bought new clothes recently even though I have nowhere to go (thank you, lockdown two). I wore one of them to the terrace anyway (on the pretext of wanting to enjoy lovely weather haha). My little brother took this picture, and while I don’t like how I look in it, I liked the picture only because my arms looked different. Later that day, I realised it was my first sleeveless top purchase in over two years–a fact that surprised me. 

 

And now this may seem normal as lots of people like having sleeves on their all clothes, but I am not one of them. Disliking how my arms looked wasn’t my norm. In fact, I used to like them quite a bit, and my wardrobe would confirm as I still have all those off-shoulder, halter, one shoulder, spaghetti strap and tank tops. But as my body image issues started taking flight, the usage of these clothes declined. My recalling power is not that great, therefore to make sure it was indeed the truth, I went back and scoured my photo gallery looking for other such tops I may have bought or worn. Between Oct 2018 and June 2021, I’d worn them in public only on four occasions. Twice to dinner, once to paragliding (big mistake – I was freezing!) and once to a wedding. And the only sleeveless outfit purchase I found was in 2019- a beautiful spaghetti strap jumpsuit that I’ve never worn in public to date.

 

I did gain and lose weight multiple times in these few years. Nothing too extreme – a few kgs here and there. But, back then, it looked way too much to me and still kinda does tbh. And that contributed to how I felt about my body. Anyway, I hadn’t realised, until today, that I had subconsciously started hiding my upper arms. Or that I’d stopped buying clothes which wouldn’t cover them well. I wish I hadn’t done so, but my mind craves ‘perfection’ in everything. There’s this need to hide everything until I’m sure it exactly looks how I want it to. Buying this was probably the first step forward, but I don’t think I’m ready to start wearing whatever I like just yet. I know it’s not healthy, but the need for perfection has been hardwired into my brain (by myself), and it’ll take a while before I can loosen its control over me.

 

 

 

My mindset has altered a lot in the past few months because of my yoga practice. Looking at myself in the mirror no longer induces negative thoughts the way it used to. I remind myself to be grateful for my body every day and take full responsibility for how it looks. Its not easy at all. There are days when I go back to my old habits but its a work in progress. Something I keep telling myself is: “I need to work on the things that I can change and accept whatcan’t.” 

 

Won’t say with certainty that from now I will love my arms or any other body part “no matter how they look” because these issues aren’t easy to get rid of completely. I still struggle from time to time and get really upset about it sometimes. But my goals have changed so much since last year. Talking specifically about the topic of this post – I no longer want my arms to look ‘thinner’. I want STRONG arms. I want to be able to lift, throw, push or pull with ease. And I’m working hard every day to make that happen. That’s what I love about this picture. Can see what a difference my workouts have made and I’m excited for what’s to come!

 

Thought I should write all this down in case someone out there also feels the same way about their body. You’re not alone! So many of us see ourselves through a distorted lens, and social media only adds fuel to the fire. On top of that, many people around us take it upon themselves to give their unsolicited opinion on how we look, which definitely doesn’t help. It’s not easy to deal with these things, and it’s a long and slow process to get rid of the distorted glasses we wear. From my personal experience, an excellent way to feel better about what we don’t like is to take action so that it can change.

 

Hope this helps you in some way! Excuse the title, though. I based it on the play we had to read in the 12th grade – ‘Arms and the Man’ by Bernard Shaw. Interesting play with a premise that is quiteee different to this post. Why this name? Because my sense of humour is questionable at times hahaha.