The Invisible Corset

The divorce rate between women and our bodies is sky-high.

We’re told our worth is our beauty, our glory is our youth, and we’re told this so often we swallow it as truth.

Beauty culture clamors, ”Change yourself, rearrange yourself, shrink, shape, and buy!” We slather our skin with promises, but our bodies never seem to comply.

”I’m choosing this,” we say, ”because I prefer to look this way.” But what about that small inner voice that says, ”I sort of like it…but partly I don’t feel like I have a choice.”

The industry of patriarchy has told us that beauty is pain, and we need beauty to win this survival game. We concede and so internalize our oppression, holding our bonds in place with our own perceptions.

We’re afraid of our weight, our size, our face, our skin. We learn to see our bodies’ uniqueness as our own special brand of sin.

We believe beauty is our currency, a required vocation, so we spend more on beauty than we do our education. It’s a worthwhile investment, or so we believe, as if ”thin and pretty” is required praise we must achieve.

Eventually, we find our bodies too poorly equipped for a lasting relationship. ”My body failed me,” we cry. So day after day we pack our bags and prepare to give our bodies a final good-bye.

Some women spit sparks of rage and scream, ”I can’t do this anymore!” as we slam the door. And yet others say, with eyes full of longing as we walk away, ”Body, why did you make it impossible for me to love you?”

When women decide our bodies have failed us, we begin our search for a new home. We know on the doors of money, lovers, friends, children, careers, food and drugs, products and prestige. We ask, of everyone and everything else, the question weighing down our soul:

”Will you love me enough so that I can feel whole?”

We are going out of our minds, looking for the love we left behind.

We’ve spent years battling the natural circumstances of our bodies. But how can we find our way back to ourselves when we are trying to escape ourselves?

We must look in the mirror and see ourselves clearly. Shall we give up the fight? Shall we give ourselves over to the ocean of our untamed light?

The truth of our bodies stands before us, hidden in plain sight.

Remember, our beauty is not something to earn.

It’s time to unlace the corset and let our true beauty return.

Lauren Geersten