For some reason, I often feel that I am the best version of myself during the summer. I feel less stressed, I get outside more, and I become more carefree and accepting of my appearance. So when September arrives, I begin to experience mixed emotions. While I feel hopeful and optimistic for the new season ahead, I also feel sad to see the end of warm, happy summer days. However, all of this is somewhat of a new experience for me.
Recently, I enjoyed a visit from my sister. She has lived in Tokyo for the past six years, but always manages to get in at least one annual visit to the homeland, usually in August. The visit itself was not out of the ordinary; what was of note was my reaction and feelings during it. I've finally come to the point where I'm not comparing myself to her all the time, not feeling "less than," but actually respecting our individuality. My sister is three years younger than I am; both of us are bright, but she always seemed (to me) to have the upper hand.
She could be the next Einstein, a world class athlete, or your friendly neighbour but if she’s what North American society deems to be ‘attractive’, the only thing the media cares about is how X product makes her eyelashes ten times fuller, Y shampoo makes her hair voluptuous and sexy, and that her tennis uniform is flattering. The message is that we should envy her because she has something we should all desire: the face, features, and body society defines as ideal.
“Does this dress make me look fat?” How many times have you uttered this phrase, or one similar? This, along with the knee-jerk reaction you can have to a friend decrying her big behind – which is often commiserated with, “Your big butt? Have you seen my muffin top?” – seems second nature. This “fat talk” is damaging to how we see and feel about ourselves, and yet it can be a daily occurrence.