The 4th of July calls for a tradition of hot dogs, chips n’ dip, beer, and good ol’ American apple pie. It’s all about the red, white, and barbeque. No one counts calories on this day, because to do so would be asinine. I mean c’mon, on this day one man singlehandedly scarfed down 74 hotdogs. If that doesn’t prove how glutton-heavy this holiday is, then I don’t know what would!
Coincidentally, it is also a day to dress scantily—if you are a female that is. Short shorts, bathing suits, crop tops, you name it. Not only is it a scorcher, but it’s also a day to prove to the media world (insta, twitter, facebook) what type of body you have. It’s an opportunity to show to the world the gains you’ve made over the course of the winter/spring in light of the summer months.
The day started out for me as good as any other. Went to workout, drank my protein shake, and headed to the mall to make a quick return. The sun was shining bright, and the insta feed was already poppin’. The day had started off with a bang, in much the same way that it would end.
After finishing my return and perusing the aisles of Nordstrom’s, I came across a plethora of cute finds that I simply needed to try on. Bathing suits, crop tops, and the like. With the help of an eager attendant, I made my way into a room to try on the discounted one-pieces I grabbed. I slipped them on, and was appalled by what I saw: my body looked horrendous—a splotchy bumpy surface covered the back of my thighs and butt cheeks. It was as if a firework of cellulite went off on the lower half of my body, spewing its explosion of clumpy texture all over my 25-year-old legs.
Now of course, I knew that I had cellulite prior to this moment in the fitting room. I’ve seen it for years, and have learned to accept it. HOWEVER, here in the fitting rooms at Nordstrom, it was as if gravity took a whole new turn for the worse. The cellulite appeared to be 3x worse than ever before, and I was SHOOK. Even Alexander Hamilton would have thrown in the towel at the sight of this.
While I normally would have scoffed at this abysmal observation, cursing Nordstrom’s lighting specialists for choosing the least flattering lights for the most pivotal buying decision time-frame, this time was different. Every ounce of my being wanted to blame this corporation for making me look FAT, but the truth was, this was really me. The cellulite belonged to me. It was not photoshopped on, and it could not be photoshopped off.
I sat on the bench in the fitting room, fighting back tears. I am 25 years old. I work out hard 4-5x per week. I have been on a highly-devoted gluten-free diet for nearly a month and a half. Yet, I had nothing to show for it. I have always been taught that if you work hard in life, it will pay off. This was the ideology I have lived with for as long as I can remember; it makes sense. Nothing good in life is simply handed to you, and if you want to experience results you HAVE to be willing to put in the work. But with cellulite, this belief was null and void. None of it held true.
The day wore on, and I continued to be reminded of this malady. A sea of shorts-wearing, cellulite-less females flooded my consciousness and berated my psyche. What a cruel world we live in, where hot dog eaters could grace the world with their beautiful legs, but the hardworking, breadless folk were stuck sweating in long jeans to hide the nightmarish skin dents that were ever-apparent on their flesh. Let freedom ring? I think not.
I had ordered a salad for dinner that night, and skipped the rolls at Woodranch BBQ (I repeat, skipped the rolls at Woodranch BBQ), only to find myself crying at the harbor with my boyfriend only minutes before the Fireworks show began. ‘I feel ugly. I feel fat. I don’t feel good enough. None of my efforts are paying off. I am SO discouraged.’ I couldn’t bear to see all the smiling, laughing girls my age mindlessly enjoying Independence Day, while I was caught up focusing on my body image, and nothing more. My 4th of July was indeed tainted by what all began in the Nordstrom fitting room that morning.
Today, only 2 days later, I look back and realize how RIDICULOUS I was being. Are you kidding me? I had a loving, sweet, caring, thoughtful boyfriend by my side, the privilege of watching the fireworks in a beautiful, and safe neighborhood, and God’s good grace all around me, and yet all I could focus on was the cellulite on the back of my legs. What a tragedy. I wasted a beautiful moment that I’ll never get back worrying about something that was essentially out of my hands.
More women have cellulite than those who do not. It is part of being a woman. It is part of being healthy. Society has decided that it MUST GO….but what if we decide that it can stay? What if we decide that it is normal, that it is expected, and that you are STILL beautiful? What we see in the media is modified. We are surrounded by images of flawless women, and made to believe that flawless is the only type of beauty that exists. In reality though, even flawless women do not exist. Public photos are edited and enhanced. Models are airbrushed and contoured. No imperfections are exposed, and the normal, raw beauties are the ones who pay for it. Where is the justice? Where is the morality?
This post serves to remind you women that you are BEAUTIFUL, no matter what shape, size, or color. You are beautiful, because you are you. We (myself included) need to stop focusing on our imperfections, and instead begin to recognize our blessings. I am lucky to have two hands. I am lucky to feel healthy on a day-to-day basis. I am lucky to have long, luscious hair. I am lucky that my vision is not impaired. I am lucky to be alive, and loved. The list goes on and on and on… THAT, my friends, is what truly matters.
So with that, I’ll leave you with one final piece of advice—Sun’s out, Buns out! Get to it.