A few weeks ago, I was visiting my parents and ended up working out at a different gym than my normal location. It’s always kind of fun to get to visit a new “playground” and see what it has to offer. Well, this gym happened to offer some really stellar fluorescent lighting, the likes of which are normally reserved for prison showers and the interrogation rooms at Guantanamo.
It just so happened that I was wearing shorts when I visited that gym, and I happened to look in the full-length mirrors that covered 60% of the walls, and it turns out that that exquisite fluorescent lighting really highlighted my curves.
The curves in my skin, to be exact.
Particularly my legs and ass.
[Brace yourselves for terrible-quality, unflattering photos of my rear end. In my defense, it’s really hard to photograph your own ass, especially in prison lighting.]
It was a moment of reckoning – I realized that I have cellulite.
At the risk of sounding like a douchecanoe, I’ll be honest – this really upset me. Not because I think that cellulite is a big deal, but because I had never known that I had it. Does that sound completely naiive? I know that something like 90% of women have some degree of cellulite somewhere on their body, and I know plenty of absolutely gorgeous women whose thighs and hips are delicately (or not so delicately!) dimpled. They are beautiful, and the presence of cellulite does nothing to diminish that. And yes, in all honesty, there had been fleeting moments between undressing and jumping into a hot shower that I thought maybe I had seen a small flicker of dimples across the widest part of my hips. But I chalked it up to the bathroom lighting and the taking-off-sweaty-yoga-pants shimmy I was doing at the moment, and hopped in the shower. Hot water would wash away both sweat and thoughts of yet another body flaw with which to do battle, and any worries about cellulite disappeared in a cloud of steam and shower serenades.
But under that glorious mortuary-inspired lighting, cellulite showed itself in all its rippling glory. On my body. And this time, there was no way to convince myself otherwise. This was not a smattering of dimples…it was the real-deal.
And I was mortified.
Now, I am not a skinny person by any means, but I also know that I’m very fit compared to the general population. My body fat lies below the “acceptable” range, sitting squarely in the “fit” category. (Again, don’t be deceived, I am fit and thick.) And for all the years I have spent berating and battling my own body for every real or imagined shortcoming I could find, cellulite never made the list. It was something that was not on my radar, and one of the few body-issues that I had never worried about. I knew I hadn’t done anything to prevent cellulite, but I figured that lump-free legs were one of the few aesthetic qualities with which I had been “naturally blessed.”
And yet, here I was, staring at my reflection and contending with the fact that there was yet another way that my body was not good enough.
As that reality sank in, I turned around, trying to appraise the landscape of my lower body from every angle.
What is wrong with me?
What did I do wrong, and how can I fix it?
Why did this happen to me?
And those questions rolled through my mind as I began my workout, and I found myself sneaking glances in the mirror, half hoping that some new angle would reveal that the dimply terrain of my ass had been the product of poorly-hung mirrors and prison lighting.
It was a false hope.
I have cellulite.
As the minutes passed by, I focused more on my workout and less on the mirror. Eventually, I accidentally caught my reflection in the middle of a kettlebell swing. I saw a body that would be photoshopped beyond recognition if it were to be placed in front of a magazine editor. I saw flesh that bounced and wiggled in the most unladylike ways. I saw legs that are embarrassingly pale but stubbornly strong. I saw spider veins and stretch marks and scars, but also defined quads and calves. I saw sweat and worn out sneakers and tenacity, and I saw cellulite, and I saw a cheeky little smile.
You know why I was smiling?
Because I was moving my body and loving it.
Those dimples decorating my ass couldn’t stop me from moving and using my body to participate in activities that thrill me. Those dimples did not detract from the worth of my workout, nor my enjoyment of it. Those dimples did not detract from my sense of humor, my intellect, my spicy attitude, or my passionate spirit. Those dimples did not – Hey, Mum and Dad? Yall may not want to read this part – detract from how much guys appreciate my ass.
And then it was time for another moment of reckoning.
Yes, I have cellulite.
And that doesn’t change a damn thing.
I’m healthy. I’m happy. I enjoy using my body, and I enjoy how it looks. My body fat is well within the normal range, I’m strong, and my cardiovascular fitness is…well, it’s slowly improving.
There are far too many issues of far more importance in this world to spend my time worrying over some dimples on my donk. And the same goes for everyone else. Even if you are morbidly obese, I still don’t think you should worry about cellulite.
Your health? Yes.
Your heart? Yes.
Your joints? Yes.
Your body fat? Yes.
The texture of your ass? Not really a priority.
Fighting these “flaws” – which have no bearing on our overall health, physical fitness, talents, passions, contributions to society, or value as humans – is exhausting. It does not enhance our lives or increase what we are able to offer the world.
So you know, cellulite ain’t the end of the world.
In fact, it’s pretty damn normal.
So, yes, I have cellulite.
But that doesn’t really change a thing.
And you, amigo? Is your body completely free of lumps and bumps, or does it have a few extra dimples here and there?
Doesn’t change a damn thing.
When it come to the state of the flesh in which we live, what if we stopped worrying about whether we have cellulite – or wrinkles or scars or stretch marks or anything of that sort – and put more thought into answering questions like these?
How healthy is my body?
What does it enable me to do?
How well does it function?
How is my cardiovascular system working?
Am I strong?
Am I fast?
How’s my stamina?
How am I enjoying my workouts?
How am I challenging my body?
How am I nourishing my body?
How many reasons do I have to be grateful for my body?
And, you know, people always think it’s cute when folks have dimples in their smile.
Maybe the right ones will even find dimples on your ass to be kind of cute, too.