I've always had big arms. And I've always been taught by a one-type-of-beauty and image-based society that any excess body fat on a woman is a negative thing. But even when I weighed 130 lbs. in high school, I seemed to carry weight in the region of my arms from my shoulder to my elbow. I could, and still can, wiggle either one of my limbs in the mirror and watch a blubber of extra skin and fat jiggle back and forth. Like I said, I was trained by society — and also by my mother, who has the same type of arms and who has always declared her own disdain for them — to hate this about myself.
Somewhere along the way, I finally got sick of being ashamed of one of my body parts. It's a horrible waste of my effort to try to cover up something that should be celebrated. In the end, bodies are amazing, and it's obvious that as humans, we're kinda obsessed with them. I've learned that no matter the size, shape, or color, my body — big arms included — should be loved by everyone. But it starts with my body receiving my love and support and celebration first and foremost, before anyone else is inclined to do so. (I'm still working on convincing my mother that her arms are as equally worth loving. Here's a winking emoji face, mom, since I know you're reading this!)
I hope that the 11 reasons I've discovered for loving my own arms will make you think about how you're verbally and emotionally treating your own. And perhaps these observations will assist you on your journey of totally eradicating any self-hating vibes you're sending those gorgeous limbs of yours.
1. Because Who Cares If They're Not Slim?
Slim is only one kind of beautiful, and no kind of beautiful should be forced onto someone else. There is nothing long and lean about my body. I'm short and stocky. But those little arms that carry some chunkiness are incredibly adorable. Hello, that's one of the whole reasons we love babies. If we can adore some chunk at age one, why can't we at age 31 or 21 or 51 or any age at all?
2. Because They're Cushions
You know when you're sitting in the backseat with two other people? Big arms make riding in crammed cars more comfortable for those around you. And people love sitting beside you on a couch, because you're wonderfully cozy and soft. Hugs are potentially more awesome with you, too, because your skin is a bit more yielding.
I know it's not for everyone, and maybe it's a little silly and lighthearted, but I always love being crammed next to people in an intimate space, and once I realized my arms were doing everyone a favor, I loved 'em even more. Your arms' cushioning ability is a stellar reason to love them, if you ask me.
3. Because Flesh Is Sexy
Now, I'm not saying that you have to flaunt your arms/skin/body to love them, but I am saying that everyone needs to rethink the why they have declared their arms not sexy or unattractive. Like I mentioned earlier, it's part of our nature to love and desire the human body, and your arms are a part of the awesome puzzle that makes up your physical being. So don't be afraid to love them, and better yet, let someone else love them.
4. Because It's Hot Outside
It's currently summer in many parts of the world, and denying yourself sleeveless-ness, or worse yet, adding more clothes only because you're ashamed of your arms, is a crime in my book. I should know. I used to be there myself. My sleeveless summer dress was always accompanied by a cardigan or shrug. Still cute, but I was miserable. Just know you don't have to be miserable anymore. Take. It. Off.
5. Because They’re A Prime Spot For Cute Freckles
And in my case, they look exactly like a fresh egg! (OK, I discovered a new love for eggs a couple of summers ago, and I couldn't help noticing how distinctly familiar to something else I'd learned to love they were. Admittedly, I'm an observer of weird things, but seriously, that egg/arm thing is cool, isn't it?) I've already shared some reasons to love your freckles, so freckles and arms in one perfectly lovable spot? Magic.
6. Because There's More Room For Gorgeous Tattoos
I've got a tat on the inside of my lower arm, but I've been thinking about the idea of doing a tattoo sleeve on the upper half. When I thought about how I'll have plenty of room to play with the design, it got me pretty excited. Whether you're a tattoo kind of girl or not, you gotta admit it's a handy asset.
7. Because You're Already Baring Them In A Bathing Suit
Unless you are struggling with your entire body in a swimsuit (in which case, you should totally go read this), chances are you've been baring your arms in a bathing suit already this summer. If you can get over it for a fun dip in the pool, or the refreshing sea, or a beautiful lake, or the big, wide ocean (OK, I'm done dreaming now), you can totally bare them in a top for a normal, everyday outfit.
Be proud of yourself for not limiting your ability to have fun while swimming this summer, and try transferring that courage to what you decide to wear tomorrow. Trust me, it's so much better not dictating what you wear based on the lie that any part of your body isn't beautiful.
8. And Because Tank Tops And Sleeveless Dresses Are Too Great To Miss Out On
I know I'm laboring the point here, but it took a long time to really sink into my mind that wearing clothes that showed my arms was not only acceptable, but also really fun. Missing out on them was no one's fault but mine in the end.
9. Because They're A Perfect Place For Your S.O. To Caress
Just think about when your significant other places their arm around you. Your shoulder and upper arm are perfectly within their fingertip distance, so this special spot gets a lot of loving, whether you think it's worthy of it or not.
It's really hard on your partner if you're constantly telling them not to touch places you don't like. I remember I used to shy away from letting my hubby touch my arms, and once he explained to me how that made him feel, I knew I had to reconsider my way of thinking.
Plus, it's extremely likely that your S.O. absolutely loves your arms — I always find the places I most dislike about my body, my husband happens to adore. So go on, let them snuggle you. I promise it'll help you discover your own love for that part of your bod.
10. Because They're A Symbol Of Strength
Arms have always been a representation of strength for both men and women. (I've been known to take my chance at a friendly arm wrestle for fun every now and then!) But on a serious note, no matter their size, they are capable of carrying things: The grocery bags you bring in to feed your family, the books you carry to educate yourself, the gifts you bring someone to celebrate them, the baby you may one day hold.
Your arms — again, no matter their size — are capable of doing awesome things like handstands or cartwheels, too. My arms are what hold many of the things and people I love. And when I think about it that way, how can I not love them back?
11. Because They're Yours
No other person in this entire planet has arms exactly like yours. They're unique to you. You only get to use, see, and love them for a relatively short period of time on this earth, so don't waste anymore of it — like I once did — on hating, disliking, or being uncomfortable with them. So own what you have, learn to love and appreciate what you have, and let others show their own love for what you have.
Images: Christie Drozdowski; missbekasue/Instagram; Wifflegiff