As someone who has struggled with body image issues (I counted calories like an accountant in high school and dabbled with starving myself to lose weight in college), I could not pass up this opportunity. When I saw Lady Gaga performing at the Super Bowl on Sunday, I got teary eyed because, well, I’m a crier, but mostly because she owned it. She owned everything that is her, unapologetically. In that moment, I realized that is what I hope for myself. You see, I have fallen prey (being the recovering perfectionist that I am) to a distorted “ideal” image for my body (and life). Luckily, I have a sister who set me straight on the body issue by looking at me very matter of factly one day and saying, “Carly, that is skin. How would you bend if you didn’t have skin?”. For some reason, that stuck. I then found myself repeating these same words to countless numbers of clients and friends. I was so internally infuriated with the realization that I was not alone in my self critical, self defeating thoughts. I wanted to be alone. I wanted my clients to see their beauty as I did and apparently Gaga wants the same.
She posted this caption on her Instagram: “I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too. No matter who you are or what you do. I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. Be you, and be relentlessly you. That’s the stuff of champions. thank you so much everyone for supporting me. I love you guys. Xoxo, gaga”
What I noticed from her quote is that she doesn’t even address or acknowledge the cynics. She sticks to her way and how she defines herself. She is unaffected by the cynics. This got me thinking about my cynics, who they are and how much time or energy I give them and if they define me. Unfortunately, it’s pretty clear who my cynics are. They are my own self defeating, negative thoughts. They could potentially come from people in my past or just my own dark thoughts. How many times in my own life have I let my negative self talk about my body, or a mistake I made with my kids, or my feelings of inadequacy at my lack of ability to do you name it define me? I remember the day I realized how nasty I was to myself in my brain, it was sad (self compassion quiz). It’s like I wanted to wrap myself up in my own arms and rock myself, like I would to one of my babies. Why did I do this to myself? Why did I let the negative imperfections be my main focus and be what defined me? Why did I focus on the one thing that was imperfect on me or in my day and not the umpteen positive things going on?!
Do you know who Lady Gaga does address in this quote? Her fans, the people that love her! Those are the people she gives her attention to, the people that see her beauty and who she really is. She claims the good and the positive. I will do the same. I will continue to battle those cynics in my head, but I will claim the light. I will be me, all that is me, unapologetically. I will leave no room for the cynics and the negative voices, but instead, I will focus on the beauty that is in me and that I see in others because “that’s the stuff of champions.”