Sometimes I try to think back to when my body issues first started. It’s a daunting feeling to think that there would have been a literal point in your life where you would have decided to alter the whole perception of yourself
One regular, run of the mill morning, you were facing your reflection head-on, ready to take on the world for the day; yet suddenly your self-judgement decides that you don’t like what you see. Your eyes take a slow gaze up and down your body and in the space of 24 hours, the bright light that you saw yourself in for so many years has suddenly fogged into an overcast grey cloud; completely unknowing that this small pitch of negativity is just the beginning.
But what is it that makes us lose that adorable, innocent mind we all used to possess?? Where the only troubles you had in life were attempting to eat enough vegetables to earn some dessert or how you’re going to fill that 6 weeks of Summer holiday you used to get
(tell you what, didn’t we all take that for granted?)
I never really remember having any bodily issues until I was about 14/15 years old and even then I had absolutely NOTHING to worry about. I danced 4 times a week alongside lots of swimming and I had a very healthy figure for a young woman.
There seemed to be some subliminal messages throughout my teenage years that I never REALLY noticed until now…
If you were a pre-pubescent girl circa 2004 and had a loyal subscription to MIZZ magazine, you’ll know that it provided you with EVERYTHING you needed to aid growing up in the UK. Kissing boys, collecting free hair mascara and wishing we had clothes we can’t afford. HOWEVER i significantly remember one summer issue in particular covering ‘how to look cute’ when travelling on holiday. One of these points stated;
‘When sitting on the beach, sit slightly backwards so you don’t get tummy rolls – because that’s not cute‘
BAM – instant insecurity about the appearance of my stomach. I used to start going in to ballet class and stressing about how tight my elastic belt was as it was causing a teeny tiny dip in my stomach and obliques. And when I say tiny, I mean TINY
So just from this one sentence in a magazine, I started to doubt my own image and pick out flaws that weren’t really there.
One year on, my waist line was a serious issue. My thought process went along the lines of:
‘I’m not going to look attractive, boys won’t like me and I’ll be silently judged by everyone around me’
(because obviously these are the most important things in the world during this part of life)
But even these tiny seeds that are secretly pigeon holed in a certain part of our brain, that are planted and watered in the shadows, still end up growing into a much bigger mental problem without us knowing
And there are always more and more to aid the fuelling of the fire.
At around 16 I remember going into ASDA and picking up a bottle of Bio Oil. This brand spanking new product had suddenly taken the health industry by storm and people were flocking to the shelves to purchase.
No-one had really cared that much about stretch marks before. And even if they had, there wasn’t really anything you could do about it. But thanks to clever advertising and broken promises, the company made you believe that stretch marks are FLAWS.
The idea is sickening, because most of women’s stretch marks in particular come from pregnancy. And to think that a woman can be made to feel that the process and outcomes of creating life is linked to NEGATIVITY is beyond me
Personally I don’t have any children, but I do have a decent amount of stretch marks. As a teen, everything hit me overnight. It’s like I had woken up on Christmas morning with new boobs and hips that Santa had delivered the night before.
So my skin lost elasticity, and I hereby declare my tiger stripes are here to stay.
So now 10 years after my first purchase of BioOil (which I never finished after not seeing decent results – surprise!) I now look at my stretch marks (which have now grown and spread like an uncontrollable vine of ivy) and I CELEBRATE them.
They remind me of the days I abused my body with fad diets and yo-yo’d in weight too quickly – reminding me never to venture down that path ever again
They tell the story of how I went from just a young naive girl, through to a strong woman
And if I ever get writers block but still have some creative juices flowing – they’re quite fun to paint
Sticking to the thigh game – who doesn’t love a good thigh game? Heres one I always had a problem with
The Thigh Gap
God damn as MUCH as I tried that opening never came
BUT THAT’S OK
It’s NOT a flaw
It’s the way my body is built
I had the SAME PROBLEM with my calves! I struggled to get jeans around them (and still do), ill be damned if I could ever find knee-high boots that zipped past my shins and don’t even get me started on tailored trousers.
So do you know what I used to do? I’d get home after a long day at school/college, I’d grab my Mum’s rolling-pin from the kitchen and I would ROLL THEM OUT
I read some bulls**t article about water retention in your legs and how all you need is to massage it out – because Google never lies…
So I drank cranberry juice mixed with water, lemon and vinegar to help this along (because you know, google said so) and went to town on those calves.
Not only did I hate my calves anyway because kids at school would call them ‘manly’ but the fashion industry couldn’t accept them either! Not only did I struggle with my leg mass, but they didn’t really socially accept my height then either. So my jeans were either stuck on my shins or swinging at the ankles.
I’m actually at a point in my life now where my legs are my favourite feature on my body.
They are a solid foundation to the rest of my body, they’ve taken me on an incredible life journey already, they can squat some serious mass, and really helped me with long and high jump in school!
My friends love me in a festival crowd.
You try to push past me to the front? Mate, bring it on because these tree trunks are GROUNDED to hell and back.
My legs are pure muscle, and only in the last few years has it become socially acceptable and ‘beautiful’ to have muscle, BUT I still wouldn’t be accepted in the fitness industry because I don’t have a 6pac nor am I ’shredded to f***’
Shredding is for paper mate, don’t tell me I’m not ‘fit’
So I learned to showcase my legs a bit more
So all in all, flaws ONLY exist because someone is telling you otherwise. They are giving you a solution to a problem that isn’t even there. They are feeding you with subliminal messages telling you that you need to change.
Guys, honestly, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it!!
So if you are worried about things like;
It’s All Part of Who We Are!
Today’s society is SO GOOD at hypnotising us into buying products, following trends, giving us false hope and promises and making us feel bad about ourselves.
It is YOUR DUTY as a human being to celebrate life and the body you carry. This is the only one you’re going to get (unless cloning becomes a think in the next 50 years) and therefore is your TEMPLE.
Your body can do INCREDIBLE things, yet somehow we manage to take it all for granted and attempt to ‘perfect’ or ‘better’ ourselves by listening to the companies who are just out to build their revenue.
Look at yourself the way you did when you were growing up
Because I know for a fact you wouldn’t have bat an eyelid at how you saw yourself.
Let go of your flaws and you’ll feel as free as you did back when racing through the playground was the most important thing in the world