I have been reflecting a lot lately about body size and how women try so hard to be as diminutive as possible and are always working at getting smaller and smaller and smaller...and in essence, we strive to take up less and less room on this planet and how that very aim strongly shapes how we see ourselves and how we see our roles in the world.
I have seen and experienced a lot of couples in the past few months and have noticed an interesting trend. The women and men are often drastically different in size. Often, you will see a man 6 foot plus, sometimes even grossly overweight, paired with a woman sized at basically nothing. This may sound like I am making light of it, but I am a visual person, contrast calls to me when I see it. One might think all women strive to be size nothing, yet, in the past 10-12 months I have been exploring what it's like to take up space, like these men, and more importantly trying to see how aiming at taking up space changes my behavior. I have been steadily going to the gym and lifting weights for about a year now and I have had to buy new bras to accommodate for my bigger chest. These new purchases were tough. Buying bigger clothes felt like a failure, it went against everything I have been taught to be as a woman in modern society, in modern society women don't strive to be bigger, that strive to be smaller, so this whole buying experience was not pleasant or easy. Yet, the bigger, more muscular body opened new doors for me in how I interacted with others, in my confidence and even as something as simple as my stance. Suddenly, despite all I kept hearing, it was okay to feel right in my body and this was so thrilling, so new, so powerful. And if you are a women reading this, we all know how it feels to inhabit our body and yet feel like we are constantly on display for others; that is just how society brought us up to think of ourselves, sadly.
So the reflection continues. Daily, I strive to own the space I occupy and own my actions, my movement and drop the self-consciousness we've all grown to carry at all times. I have observed men and how they live free of such constant and caged thoughts and I want a piece of that, I want to be like that. I want to move around my space with confidence and comfort and own every moment, every space. But as I gain confidence in myself I see how my new-gained demeanor gives off an aura of non-approachability. I now know what my single friend complain about in the current dating world; one in which a confident woman has less chances of finding a partner, for she often scares away potential suitors with an unfamiliar characteristic most men have not been trained to work with, that being confidence. This, reveals an interesting societal chemistry among men and woman, one in which size, confidence and control all play part of the same dance. I am not a number gal, but surely there must exist some universal formula out there in which these three factors all affect each other in fascinating ways, ways we may never clearly know.
What I do know though is that I am on the right track to freedom from these societal messages of which we have all been programed. I take up room in so many ways, with my movements, with my body, with my words. I take up room with my movements by running where I want, at whatever times I want, and in whatever weather I please. I take up space with my body by freely chasing my athletic dreams despite not looking like traditional athletes, I take up room in my desires for my life by fanning the flames of my dreams and daily, chiseling towards them. I take up room with my opinions and my words, always fearless and full of conviction, in all actions.
***Do you feel there is a connection between how we are taught to strive for small and societal control over women overall?