Cellulite. Those bumps and lumps that show up on our legs, that creep up to our butts. Crater-like signs of imperfection and another thing we hate about our bodies in our minds. Yet another part of our body we try and cover up, like a dirty little secret hiding beneath our clothes. We hate it. We stand in the mirror picking ourselves apart over it. Press the skin down around it, momentarily removing the problem at hand. We apply firming lotions, spend plenty of money on products trying to get rid of it. It degrades us. Makes us feel less beautiful. It’s what stands out to us in photos from behind. It’s what we try and forget about with wraps and dresses on the beach.
The word itself is ugly. Why couldn’t they have called it “beautydimple” or “normalite”? Who was put in charge of naming this completely normal condition that plagues most of us? Who gave such a hideously destructive name to such a problematic problem? Like everything else in this world, maybe if the word was more pretty we’d be more accepting of it? Maybe not.
Ever seen a magazine article showing someone with cellulite? Me neither.
“Cottage cheese” is what I remember it being called when I was a kid. “Cottage cheese legs”. As if there’s anything wrong with cheese of any kind.
From an early age I can remember it being called out as a problem. Our moms complained about it, went on about the imperfections of their body that they’d change in a heartbeat. Those imperfections us girls were bound to grow into as well. Too many times I heard my mom put herself down, shaming the body that I was bound to be similar to.
Cellulite. What if we re-named it “nothing” or “completely okay” or better yet “everyone has it”.
Much like the scars that cover my body, the breast reduction lines and tissues, the numbness on my chin that causes my smile to droop sometimes, the stretch marks on my hips and my newest scar at the base of my tailbone (not so much a public concern but it’s there in my mind and I kind of like it)- the cellulite is always present. And sure, I’ve been one of those girls trying the firming creams and black tea moisturizers, trying to darken the area if I can’t get rid of it. I struggle to accept my body, every single day. I confronted my goal weight and came to the startling conclusion that even at a weight I dreamed of being, my body didn’t just become “perfect” through the transition. There’s lose skin, my stomach isn’t flat, the “normalite” still hangs around on the back of my legs.
Perhaps I haven’t spent enough time accepting it, realizing that it’s part of my story. That cellulite represents years of hating myself and coming out better on the other side. It exemplifies that I’m human. We’re all human. It shows beauty in the differences between me and photoshopped models on the front of magazines. Cellulite is real, my body is real.
This weekend’s episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s stuck with me. Kim was photographed in Mexico with signs of being an actual human. She had cellulite on her legs. *Gasp*. She then went on morning shows and claimed the paparazzi photoshopped it to look worse than it is. The saga continues. The push to have more women hate themselves for the shapes of their legs lives on.
Here’s the truth; we’re human. Our bodies are amazing. They grow and they change and despite being sometimes less than willing to work with you when trying to lose weight (other times your body will surprise you and hand you a great loss on the scale or push you a little further than you knew you could go on a run). Our bodies are strong. For women, they allow us to grow life. They can start out being unable to curl 10lbs and finish as a body builder on top of the world. They heal and they change and the parts that show that- the cellulite, the scars and the stretch marks…. it just goes to show that we’ve lived. We’re human, and cellulite does not define us.