Posted in Soapbox

Am I Really All About That Bass?

pop-art-bassSometimes I come late to the party on song lyrics. As a kid, there were some humorous misunderstandings of lyrics…wrapped up like a douche? don’t fear the reefer? (and I love my husband’s just like a one-winged dove…) It can make for an interesting twist to a song, for sure.

While the internet has certainly made it easier to find the lyrics, the meanings can still take me a while, too. Of course, songs—like any other art—can have various interpretations, but sometimes they’re pretty obvious (bang bang into the room anyone?) Occasionally I hear a song one way, though, and then on the umpteenth hearing of it, something hits me differently.

Such is the case with Meghan Trainor’s song, “All About That Bass.”

When the song came out, I loved it right away. For one, my husband is a bass player—and I AM all about That bass. And of course the song’s music is a whole lotta fun. But I also loved the message of supporting bodies with a little more “bass” on them, too. I’m in favor of anything that helps push back on the ridiculously intense message to girls and women to be stick thin—and not because I have my own “bass”—but because it simply needs to stop. Body image is a sore spot for countless women. Too many girls are starving themselves or sticking their fingers down their throats in an attempt to be thin, and the media continues perpetuating that “thin is in.” And as a society, we just seem to go along for the ride…because if it wasn’t working, the media wouldn’t keep pounding it so hard.

 

tomato-booty
from our garden a couple years ago…aka “booty tomato”

 

Recently my husband made “That Bass” his ringtone, so it’s been a bit of an earworm to me of late. And it was with a recent ring of his phone that something dawned on me. (I told you I can be slow.)

The one lyric I already knew I wasn’t a fan of was Trainor’s reference to the “skinny bitches.” After all, if we’re talking about accepting different body types, then it’s got to go both ways. Though I have never, ever, ever had the problem of being “too skinny” (or any kind of skinny at all), I know that some women do indeed have a hard time—for various reasons, including simple genetics—being what is considered average weight. And getting teased for being skinny hurts just as much as getting teased for being heavy. (This is another great instance where women should be kinder to one another for everyone’s sake.)

 

light-flare-bass

 

But hearing the song bubble up from my husband’s phone triggered a realization about another lyric from the song. When I heard the line “momma she told me ‘don’t worry about your size.’ She says boys like a little more booty to hold at night,” I thought WAIT! The message is still about what the boys like. Other lyrics reinforce that body acceptance is still “all about the men”:

Yeah it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
All the right junk in all the right places

I may be a little slow on the uptake, but once I really gave the song a bit more than a passing thought, I couldn’t help but see that the song is still sending the message that a woman’s body is defined, at least in part, by a man’s approval.

And that’s not okay.

 

blue-bass

 

Should women want to be healthy and fit—to be our best selves physically? Of course. But not because it’s what the boys like. We should want it for ourselves. And the goal shouldn’t be some unrealistic ideal created by Disney and Calvin Klein, but one where you simply feel good in your own skin.

And while the message of guys saying “more is okay by us” helps to battle against the pressure to be, as Trainor says, a “stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll,” the message needs to go further. Far enough that we are who we are because WE like us as we are.

Sometimes when I write a post and my husband reads it, he’ll let me know that it didn’t really feel like the intended audience included my male readers—which is probably the case here. HOWEVER…I hope you guys don’t feel that way because you are part of the solution.

As the mom of a boy, one of my goals is to raise him knowing the true value of women—and that value doesn’t reside in our bodies. I want him to see gender equality as something that men should care deeply about, too—to understand it as a goal for all humanity because it is an inherent right for all.

So…I guess I’m not all about that bass after all.

Though I still enjoy the song, its message falls short. “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”…well…no, no—it’s not. There’s no such thing. And you’re still amazing.

 

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Posted in Life As I Know It

Can’t Wait for the Weight

My niece’s wedding is a few weeks away. Heavier than I’ve ever been…except for pregnancy (and I’m pushing that), a few months ago I thought, “If I could just lose a pound a week…maybe I could look good for the wedding!”

Of course…that didn’t happen.

 

scale

 

And now I am left with either feeling the absolute weight of my weight—and all the bad stuff that comes with that—or really trying to accept myself for who I am—someone who has “more to love.”

Do you ever feel like you’re missing the life you have for the life you’re never going to get? In feeling bad about myself, days tick by—ones I’ll never get back. To what end?

 

boxing glove

 

Now, I’m not saying I should give up the pursuit of trying to feel and look better—to be healthier—but I do need to stop beating myself up for those extra pounds. That’s no way to use the life God has given me.

Of course, I say this, I know this, but I don’t truly feel this. So many of us fight this battle. The mirror is the enemy. Photos are wince-inducing. The internal “little voice” hurls negatives at every turn. Failure.

Even my about-to-be 88-year-old mother is down enough about some additional pounds she has recently acquired that she’s commented that she just may have to skip her granddaughter’s wedding…Of course, while this is pretty much an idle threat, it illustrates the depths of her frustration with herself. Age does not necessarily breed wisdom.

Of course, me being me, I encouraged her to realize that no one will be looking at her weight—they’ll just think it’s great that a grandmother gets to see her granddaughter get married. “You can’t let a few pounds stand in the way of being a part of a wonderful experience, Mom. Don’t let the negative win over the positive…”

And it was in that very moment of cheerleading for my mom that I thought how very hypocritical I was being. How could I expect her to take what I was saying to heart when I felt so similarly?

 

pep talk

 

Isn’t the negative winning in my own body battle?

Don’t I need to shut my little discouraging voice up and tell her to hit the %#$*ing road?

What if…what if…I grabbed onto my love handles and…didn’t hate them? What if I looked at my “extra me” and said “It’s okay if you never go away. These bumps and curves do not define me…they just are me…a part of me that doesn’t take away from the rest of me.”

How would it feel to let that sense of failure go?

I can’t honestly answer…because I’m not there…yet.

I am striving to make this truth, but it is a major struggle.

Because attempting to “accept myself” aside, I still want to lose every damn extra pound hanging around. There is no loving the love handles. Not yet.

Ultimately, I think this is the dichotomy that I must accept: To strive to fall in love with my body regardless of its shape, while at the same time attempting to put it in the best shape possible. Not so that I won’t hate the reflection in the mirror, but so that I will take care of myself and feel my best both inside and out.

Not settling, but not loathing, either.

I can’t wait for my weight to go down so that I feel better—and I can’t let my “more” make me feel “less.” Life is too short.

But as is the case with so many emotional things we can approach intellectually, it sure as hell is easier said than done.

So I strive…and stumble…and strive some more. And stumble some more. In fact, I think it should count as exercise! But I am not giving up the struggle.

 

shoes2

 

I have no idea what I’m wearing to my niece’s wedding, but I know I will aim to look my best, curves and “extras” included, and with the haunting of the “pound a week” failure knocked off the guest list.

At least until the wedding photos come in…