If I could change one thing

By Kyla Palin

Recently a friend sent me a link to Shane Koyczan’s latest spoken word performance called “For Many”. Here’s the link if you’d like to have your mind blown.

Go on. I’ll wait.

Amazing right? I’ve loved his work since his work on bullying called “To This Day”. He says things so much more poetically than I can. But he got me thinking.

If I could change one thing about my body, what would it be?

This is such a hard question to answer. If I’m really honest with myself, I can list off a half dozen of my biggest “flaws”. I’m sure most of us can. I hate to admit it here, in this safe haven, but if I can’t admit it here, where can I? And when will I begin to change the script?

I think the key is being aware of the effects of buying into this concept. The idea that something about my body needs to be changed. That I shouldn’t be content simply as I am.


The beauty industry is so heavily invested in the idea that women (and to some extent, men…and don’t get me started on the LBGTQIA world) are inherently flawed. No one will ever measure up to the arbitrary standards this industry pushes. Nonetheless, they are experts at convincing us from a young age, that we need to measure up, at all costs.

When it comes to weight issues, the additional underlying stigma of overweight=unhealthy, blinds people to the idea that fat can be fabulous. Over and over, well-meaning friends, family, even total strangers comment and advise the differently weighted “for their own good”. If society sees a gorgeous, plus size dancer like Whitney Thore actually enjoying her life…it’s put down as glorifying obesity.

Here’s a concept. How about the idea that people are worthy of living a life full of joy, love, and opportunity? How about seeing someone happy, and being happy for them? How about minding our own business when it comes to judgement and conclusions about a person’s health?

It makes me smile when I imagine the beauty industry in the face of a world full of happy people. Would that industry cease to exist? Or would it evolve into something that mirrors that happiness?

As for me, I will continue to struggle with my body image. I have my good days, and I have my bad days. And I have those days where I start out feeling amazing, but an unflattering photo, or passing a mirror unexpectedly can send me into a shame spiral. I will always struggle with seeing my VBO (visible belly outline) as a lovely curvy womanly part of me that nurtured two amazing children. Most of the time now though, my good days outnumber the bad.

How do you feel about that question? What would you answer? I invite you to comment below, but I challenge you to create a positive answer. If I could change one thing about my body, I’d fix my gluten and lactose intolerances, so I could have an ice cream sandwich right now!

And if I haven’t given you enough to think about, here’s a video from the Jubilee Project. They asked adults and kids the same question.

Oh and, I changed my mind. If I could change one thing about my body, I would definitely have wings!!

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