Last night I watched a documentary about people living off the grid in Northern Canada, in regions so far away from cities that they need solar power or other means to generate electricity. These people are by necessity very handy, and lead gloriously simple lives close to nature. While many aspects of their lifestyle appeal to me, I know that I am too social to thrive so far from other humans. But it made me wonder how living so far away would change the way we relate to our physical appearance.
Just try to imagine a life without social media. No influencers or outside influence other than geography and the weather. No shopping malls, magazines, make-up ads or fashion, no spas, hairdressers or microblading technicians to be found.
A life where you dress to be comfortable for outdoor work, and rarely look in a mirror, because the only other human you’ll see for days is your spouse/partner, who may be so busy fixing the pump to maintain your water supply from the nearby spring that he/she/they won’t even notice if you’re having a skin breakout or a bad hair day. They look up and they just see you, as you, no matter what your appearance.
Imagine if your own relationship to your body was based solely on how it allows you to move around and complete the tasks you need to do to survive, rather than worrying about how your body looks, weighs, or performs. Imagine that all you need to do is show up every day, no matter how you look. Just you, doing you.
No comparisons to others’ bodies, no jugements, no concerns about aging or sagging or shapes that you wished were shaped otherwise. Just a functional, healthy body that gets you through the day and lets you sleep at night. A well-oiled machine that does its job. So many of us already have this perfectly functional machine, and yet we spend hours rearranging it to meet unattainable, unnecessary standards.
I’m not trying to take away anyone’s joy in grooming themselves to feel as beautiful as they possibly can.
What I do wish I could take away, or rather bring back, are the countless hours, weeks, even years of our lives that we lose trying to be, feel and look better when we are already absolutely okay, just the way we are.