I’m watching the new Lifetime show How to Look Good Naked, starring Carson Kressley. I heart Carson because he has a true, deep, abiding compassion for people. Besides reruns of Will & Grace, you’d be hard pressed to get me to watch anything on Lifetime, but I like I said, I heart Carson.
The show is almost over, but I’ve had several flashbacks of shopping with Jene’, my own pint-sized guru ala the BBC hit, What Not to Wear. Jene’ will testify that in the past I’ve been a walking billboard for What Not to Wear. She’s the one who taught me how to buy the right size of bra (it’s SO important) and the person who made me swear never to wear pink again or other blue based reds (and for that I will love her forever). She’s also helped me go through my closet, saying things like, “1990, no, 1987, no…1984 called, they want… this…back,” and my favorite, “Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm called…she wants her dress back.”
More than anything as I’ve watched this show, the thing I noticed about the featured young woman was how her attitude changed. She made a transformation in one day that takes some women a lifetime to make. Regardless of the outward changes this woman made, the ultimate transformation happened inside. Ultimately, she embraced herself as she was. The rest of her “look” just fell into place.
Carson gets it. He stood in front of the mirror with this woman and asked her to talk about how she saw herself. He knows beauty begins with how a woman sees herself, and that…starts on the inside. If he’d just put her on a diet and given her a makeover, he would have failed her miserably. She would never have made a true, lasting transformation.
I don’t have a specific point in time where I can say, “this is the day I stopped hating my body,” but I can say that I no longer hate my body. That transformation, however, didn’t begin with the right bra or getting to throw away one of my pink shirts. The transformation didn’t happen after I’d lost weight or gotten a great haircut. The transformation started on the inside.
Inside. The place within all of us that holds our secrets, our hopes, our dreams, and our self-loathing. Inside is the part that can be covered with designer clothing yet still be a pit of despair. Some of the ugliest people I’ve known could be magazine cover models, but their inside is a self-esteem vacuum.
Sadly, many women believe they’d be sexier if they lost weight. Not true. I know many women who know they are sexy and they’re full figured women who have learned to embrace their curves and love themselves. The inside change, not weight loss, was the key to loving their bodies. The more I’ve learned to love myself, the less of a challenge weight loss actually is… because it’s not about looking good (outside), it’s about feeling good and being healthy (inside).
I’ve spent nearly a decade now working on the inside of me. After two decades of working on the outside with diets and desperation and hiding behind a facade of false happiness, I finally came face to face with myself and dove in and what I uncovered scared the hell out of me.
Once I could admit to myself I’d been abused and that how I’d been treated wasn’t normal, I knew I had to do something about my state of mind, and my state inside. I had to change how I thought, how I acted, how I believed. It’s taken seven years, but I finally feel like the best version of myself. My real, genuine self.
I wouldn’t trade that real, genuine self for anything. No man, no job, no amount of money or status would make me go back to where I was. I love who I am now. I look in the mirror and I like what I see because I see beyond my smile and I see inside, and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in every sense of the word. It took a long time, and it was a sometimes painful journey, but I’ve learned that the secret of how to look good naked begins within.