I don’t wear jeans.
You’re probably thinking ‘what do you mean, you don’t wear jeans?’. But I don’t. Or I didn’t. My legs have always felt too short, too stubby, or too weirdly shaped for jeans. Well, that’s what I thought.
Jeans are a funny thing, they are so simple and such a big part of every day life that most people don’t even think twice about throwing them on. This shouldn’t even be a post, because for most of us, jeans are just an every day constant. However, for most of my life, I was so convinced that I looked hideous in them, that I rarely even tried them on in stores. But since I started on my “self discovery” and body positivity adventure in my late twenties, I started to really question who exactly told me these things about my body, and why did I so steadfastly believe them? Society and the media made me feel inadequate because I didn’t look like the women on TV or in magazines, but who were ‘society and the media’ in the first place, and why did I give them so much control over how I felt about my own body?
It also made me wonder how many of our insecurities or body issues are actually passed down from our parents. Not just from being outright criticized by them (though that does happen), but also just from the subtle language and cues that we pick up when we’re kids. Like many of our values, fears, hopes, and beliefs, our body image can often be strongly influenced by our parents. Not just what they believe in and taught us, it’s also really easy for us to take on their perceived flaws as our own, as we inevitably ‘turn into our parents’.
My mom and I have a lot in common and she is one of my favorite people in the universe. Our birthdays are about a week apart, making us both sensitive Piscean souls, and she’s where I got my love for the arts, my somewhat-adequate glue gun skills, my creative abilities, and my big brown eyes and gorgeous cheekbones. I also inherited her ‘short, little Japanese legs’ and straight hips, both features that I hated growing up, especially when compared to my sisters, who took after my father’s much more ‘proportional’ side of the family. I realize now how awful it is to say that you hate a perfectly functioning part of your body.
Anyway, jeans were never really something that either of us wore. With my straight hips and apple shape, they just didn’t look as good on me as they did on my sisters and friends, or on the women on TV or in magazines, with their long, lithe limbs. They always made my thighs look too big (and in the wrong way), my legs looked too short, and my muffin top felt like a whole freaking bakery. I didn’t wear jeans because I ‘didn’t have the right body for them’. I was the problem, and no matter how much weight I lost or put on, the very idea of putting on something and not looking as good as every else around was just unfathomable and I couldn’t possibly think of unleashing something so horrendous onto the world.
Fast forward a decade or so (OK, maybe longer), and after a few serious bouts of debilitating depression, some intense therapy, and a ton of self acceptance I finally realize just how ridiculous that sounds. It certainly helps that there are so many more options for plus size or curvier women and that stores now sell jeans that are bigger than a size six. It also helps that I am able to look around and see women who are shaped like me, who have short legs, round bellies, and flat hips and are out there rocking it like there’s no tomorrow.
It’s funny what a big deal accepting your body makes. Accepting myself has made me see myself as I really am, without all of the criticisms that that world threw on me. Just me and my strong legs that carry me where I need to go, or lift me up stairs, or skate long distances. I’m able to wear what I want and really appreciate how amazing I look, as I look today. I can get out of the shower, look at my body in the mirror and really appreciate every curve, every roll, every dimple, every stretch mark, every scar. Sometimes, I even do a little dance (because are you even real if you don’t throw on some Lizzo and dance naked in front of your mirror?). And yes, I even throw on a pair of jeans. And walk out into the public and not worry that people think I’m disgusting or not worthy. Because I am worthy, and I am beautiful, and I’ll be damned if I let some fabric and a zipper tell me otherwise.
Being body positive has also changed the way I think about myself in general. It’s kind of amazing how much you can get done when you’re not mentally and emotionally confined to just your body and what your body looks like. It was a great wake-up call, ‘hey, Aseya, you know you’re more than just a body, right?’. So, so, so simple, yet it took me almost twenty years to believe it. Body positivity, self love, and self care are all things that I feel very passionately about. I’ve seen the changes they have made to my daily life, and you’ll notice that they’re all going to be a pretty big theme around here. Cuz I’m on a mission to spread the message that you, yes you, are awesome as you are, at this very minute. You seriously are. For real.