Sexposed: The Path to Positivity

            Let’s talk about body image. Everyone has their own issues with their bodies. The little or big things that we wish to change about ourselves, whether we vocalize them or not. We see women in magazines and on screen, and no matter how much we remind ourselves of the benefits of airbrushing and photoshop, we still end up trying to manipulate ourselves to emulate them.

            Spending hours looking in the mirror, clothes off, nitpicking ourselves until something even as small as a stretchmark has turned into the end of the world. So we twist our bodies to get closer to what we think is perfection. Buying undergarments that push certain areas up, while sucking others in. Maybe then the dieting starts. Or exercising more than regularly, but still it’s not enough. Some take the route of laxatives and “cleanses” which become a weekly routine.  This of course is more to the extreme level, but it happens. More often than people think, to people we may not realize it’s happening to.  Or maybe instead of acting on it, we just continue to tear ourselves down. Telling ourselves it’s just an “ugly” day.

            Despite the fact that we know we are smart, we know we are kind and that we have the capabilities to change the world, there is some part of us that still feels it won’t be enough. We’ve forgotten how to love ourselves so how is it we can love, or even possibly have a relationship, with another person?

            We shrink the parts of us that are physical, hoping that it will expand the parts of us no one can see and get us to where we want to be.

            This shrinking comes in different forms but still hopes for the same end result. That by changing ourselves, we will become the person the world will want to see.

            Why is this in Sexposed? What does this have to do with sexual health and relationships? Well for starters to be healthy means every part must be healthy. Including mentally, emotionally, not just physically. While there is no routine check for mental health required, like there is for STI’s, it’s still important to recheck in with ourselves.

            It is time to remember the vessels that are our bodies are not objects to be used, or abused by the brain inhabiting them. They are instead meant to be utilized in order to create a better tomorrow for ourselves.

            How do we do this? How can we move forward and feel better not only about ourselves, but about our place in the world? Sometimes it reaches the point where the cycle is impossible to stop. Friends may not be equipped to help muster the strength to move forward in a positive way.

            Talking to someone who’s either been through this or been educated in how to promote personal empowerment. A great resource on our campus is the Health Educator, Allie Whitcomb in the Counseling Center, as well as her Peer Health Educators who do work in promoting all types of health. Not to mention Active Minds, a Lasell club focused on ending the stigmas of mental health.

            Another great idea is talking to the family doctor about what the right diet and exercise options are as an individual. By doing this, you can get in a better state of mind about what it really means to be healthy, inside and out.

            Or just to talk, it might help to call an anonymous hotline just to air everything out. No commitment necessary. National Eating Disorder Associations has a hotline like this at 1-800-931-2237.

            Now go love yourself.