We all go through phases with our bodies. It’s like the girl you love to hate to love…it’s a friendship of “phases” for sure.
My relationship with my body changes daily, I KID YOU NOT. However, the overarching feeling at this point in my life is that I’m pretty happy (most days) with what I’ve got.
DISCLAIMER: This post is not going to be a ramble of how I am 100% content with my physique because I don’t think I ever will be 100% happy and I’ll give you a tenner if you find me a girl who is… This post is an honest reflection on the dressing down I give my naked self, in front of the mirror. I hope that some of you can relate to this weekly berating us woman give ourselves, no matter what physical state we find ourselves in and how the “elusive perfectionism” we all strive for is a nasty sickness that we must learn to live with.
For as long as I can remember I have exploited my ability to binge eat for most of my life because I had a superwoman metabolism. My family would watch with awe as I put away 2nd and 3rd helpings of everything and anything. But as I reached my 20’s I could no longer ignore the fact I looked about 7 months pregnant after every meal and so began my slow acceptance that I am intolerant to pretty much every food group (more on my IBS and diet here). One miscalculated lunch order and I swell up 2 dress sizes. It’s depressing to say the least. It has gotten steadily worse each passing year and then 25th birthday came and with it the dreaded slump in my metabolism. I am no longer able to put away multi-course, fat laden dishes without seeing the thickening of my waistline a few weeks later. It was then that my first negative thoughts about how I looked manifested themselves.
Hands up who sometimes sheds their clothes and indulges in a few minutes of stark naked, raw, uncensored, no holds barred body-scrutiny? ME, I DO! Twisting and turning my torso, taking in every angle, curve, jutting bone, mole and stretch mark. Then the iPhone comes out and I’m photographing myself from behind in the mirror to see what others see when I forget my composure and accidentally relax.
My bum is massive for my frame and isn’t as pert as you think it is, my hands are too big for my skinny wrists, I swear my breasts only look good for two weeks of the month (you know the weeks between ovulation and your period when they get all full and round?). My thighs are a little too developed and muscular, my ankles a little thicker than I’d like, and I have a little hump if I forget to stand up straight. I broke my nose at Glastonbury once and now it veers a little to the right… I could go on.
THEN as if this self-hate couldn’t get anymore wicked, for shits and giggles I attempt to make myself look as repulsive as possible then juxtapose this by contorting myself into a Kardashian-esque, face tuned version of myself; belly sucked in, butt sticking out, left leg cocked – teetering on my toes. My shoulders are thrown back my head is titled alluringly. These two versions of myself in my head are the true me and the me I wish to be. And then the eternal loathsome question; why can’t I always look like this? HAHAHA, so idiotic because that’s the same person you we looking at 30 seconds before. So why doesn’t that seem true?
Body-hate comes in all shapes and sizes. We all see the world/ourselves/others through our own tiny keyhole, and just because I fall into the size 8 category doesn’t mean I’m immune to true feelings of dislike and upset about what I see in the mirror. It’s been 3 years since I started this silly embarrassing ritual but it was in the last few months something in me changed.
There is something beautiful about the ripening of women; her emotions and intellect mature, her clarity and wisdom of the world bloom and as each birthday passes, confidence grows. My lovely readers on here range from 16-45 so maybe it hasn’t happened to you yet OR maybe don’t see it in yourself. This “confidence” can slyly disguise itself as acceptance or maybe sometimes indifference to all those niggling “imperfections” we once agonised over.
As these weekly mirror sessions continue I become more of a woman and less of girl. I get the urge to leap up and shout: HEY! THIS IS ME and my body is NOT the only thing I have to offer the world or my lover, or my stake in my friendship group. I have a damn sexy brain coursing with creativity and I’m fucking funny too. Physically, I am freakishly strong and I am super proud of this too. I can dance in rhythm and my fat ass means I can twerk real good because all my bits jiggle around and it feels great, hahaha. I’m athletic now because I enjoy it, not because I’m hell bent on achieving some alien form of perfection. As my trainer said “I am my best version of myself”. There is no more struggle. I have done everything I can within my power and without jeopardising my health or other aspects of my life, to have the body I have now.
Today, when I shirk my clothes to the floor and stand ready to give my figure a dressing down, 70% of the time I like what I see. This can depend on what I’ve eaten that day and how inflamed I am from the food and if I ever have a child, new challenges with my body will arise, I’m sure. I’m never going to stop scrutinising my body; I’ll be doing it when I’m 87 but not because I hate every single fucking thing I see but because I’m fascinated by all of its contours and plains and textures and mostly because it’s just small part of my whole entire self that’s looking straight back at me.. I feel beautiful and I feel loved, not just by my partner but by myself. And self-love is the first and final hurdle to clear for complete body honesty and contentment.
…and weirdly enough tears have started running down my cheeks out of nowhere as I sit typing this. I think because this is the first time I’ve honestly answered the question I’ve been avoiding the last 3 years, ‘Are you happy with what you see?” and the answer is a resounding YES, I AM. And I say it honestly and truly and with abandon because I now see every part of me looking back in the mirror. Even the bits unseen, hidden beneath the flesh and bones, beaming out of my eyes.
These photos were shot at the Southbank in London and I am wearing Ellesse sportswear. They are un-photoshopped because this is the me I am talking about in the above text. Yes, I have lumps and bumps here and there but who doesn’t? There is no filter for real life. So here I am unfiltered and not giving a fuck. Thanks for listening and thanks for looking.
And finally, shout out to all the girls working on loving their bodies because that shit is hard and I am proud of you.
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