As most of you will know, I have previously suffered terribly with body image issues; hating every lump and bump possible – it got to the point I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror I hated my body so much.
Thankfully I am no longer so worried. Thanks to counselling and CBT, I came out of the other side of this self-hatred and now, quite frankly, couldn’t give a rat’s bottom what others think of my body.
I wonder where this hatred came from though – it was deep seated and started at around the age of probably 8 or 9. I remember seeing a photograph of myself on stage in a show – I was in primary school so not even 10 – and all I remember thinking was how fat my legs were. WHAT?! I was a child, why was I even bothered by this?! From there things only got progressively worse, by the age of 21 I weighed 7st 7, was a size 6, weighed myself every single day and was displaying alarming signs of heading towards anorexia. I never told anyone, but I was taking laxatives every single day so that I didn’t put on weight – it is only in the last year I have been informed that this is a form of bulimia. Through all of this though…
I STILL THOUGHT I WAS FAT!
All of this started largely before the social media boom – it was certainly before a time when every Tom, Dick and Harry was getting ripped and pumped at the gym, before the Kardashian’s bodies were seen as a goal (no matter how unachievable that is), it was before girls were bombarded every single day on Facebook and Instagram of skinny models and size 10 was considered ‘plus size’ (I’m looking at you, Calvin Klein!).
I was talking to a friend the other day and I was saying how hard it must be to be a teenage girl these days; it was always difficult (I wouldn’t go back there for love nor money) but now there are a hundred and one different ways that society is telling these young, beautiful women how they should look and feel about themselves. I wish I could sit down every single young woman and explain to them that these aren’t real goals – these women dedicate their lives to looking a certain way, it’s a life style (kudos if you’ve managed it, and no disrespect to you – it’s your choice to look how you want). Some of these women are paid to look a certain way, it is their JOB.
Life is about so much more than the way you look. I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will never, ever look like these women – I like food too much, and hate exercise too much…but mostly it’s the food.
Everyone is different and is built differently, but underneath we all bleed the same. What sets us apart is who we are inside (cliché but true!). You can look however you like on the outside, but if you are ugly on the inside then that is what people will remember.
There is so much more to life than worrying about how you look – when you are old and wrinkly you are not going to look back on your life and think “well, thank goodness I had a flat stomach when I was 23!”. Even now at 25, I look back at my teenage years and wish I hadn’t been so insecure – I was never fat!
I know my blog is not going to change anything, but I urge you, if you have children – teach them that beauty is about who you are. Teach your daughters that there is more to life than superficial beauty, teach your sons that there is more to a woman than just the way she looks.
I wish I had listened to my mother when she told me these things 17 years ago. I wonder how different my life may have been if I’d had the confidence I have now. Weighing a considerable amount more, size 10, yet with more confidence than I could have ever dreamed of!
So what I have a belly – it’s there because I enjoy my food, because I eat what I want; food that is full of flavour and that is tasty (mostly pizza to be quite honest…)! So what I have scars – they are there because life has tried to defeat me, but I have won. People don’t comment on what my figure is like, they comment on my smile, on my laugh, on my upbeat nature. The things that matter.
So please, just love yourself – inside and out! Life is too short for you to worry about skin deep beauty.
P.s. To anyone who has got a super toned and skinny body – GO YOU! You should be, quite rightly, proud of yourself.
P.P.S. In a world full of Kardashians, just BE YO’ GOD DAMN SELF.