Jennifer Lawrence has more than her share of admirers; however, the universally beloved actress recently admitted, “It's hard for any woman to look at a picture of herself and [like it].” While it’s tough to imagine J.Law struggling with positive self-image, I think it illustrates an essential truth about women: We all feel a little flawed sometimes. Impossible-to-meet standards are everywhere in our in culture, and let’s be honest: It can really bum a girl out.
For me, a huge source of insecurity is an eight-inch surgery scar on my right shoulder. (To make a long story short, I took an ill-fated boat trip that was anything but smooth sailing. I took a nasty spill off the boat, broke my shoulder, and needed reconstructive surgery.)
To deal with my scuffed-up shoulder, I implemented the same policy I have towards my exes: total avoidance. I hid my scar in bulky sweaters with high, tight collars. I favored my opposite side in photos. I lowered my gaze when I passed a reflective surface, and social media became totally off-limits. When I did check my newsfeed, the mere sight of a pristine limb would send me into a tailspin of self-loathing. (Needless to say, @badgalriri was immediately unfollowed.)
After throwing myself an epic, months-long pity party, I decided to hit the town with some friends. We went to one of those subterranean nightclubs that packs patrons in like sardines. In a moment of sheer, sweaty desperation, I took off my jacket and (gasp!) exposed my shoulders. Then, something puzzling happened: absolutely nothing. The dance floor didn’t cave in around me and the DJ didn’t even skip a beat. To be honest, no one really seemed to notice, let alone care.
As I danced with my friends, the hours I spent obsessing about my appearance gradually started to feel like a giant waste of time that, since the accident, suddenly seemed all too precious. I’m still not completely immune; I still have my moments of insecurity. But instead of turning off my social media feeds, I’m choosing to tune out the voice in my head that prevents me from, say, wearing a sleeveless dress on a hot day.
It may sound a little schmaltzy, but considering how much my so-called “flaw” helped me inch closer towards a healthier self-image, maybe it’s not, in fact, a flaw at all.
*P.S. I’m happily re-following @badgalriri’s Instagram antics.