Monday, 15 August 2016

Me & My Body

Let me start off by saying, a body-positive motivator I am not. 

Whilst I try, my relationship with my body fluctuates drastically depending on my mood. Some days I love my oversized thighs and muffin top, some days I wish I could chop them off. As I've gotten older, I've had more better days than worse. More, you look cute mornings getting ready in the mirror than ugly moments - but that doesn't mean I've overcome the struggle. The struggle of comparison, of seeing slender size 8 colleagues pull off an ensemble that would have me running for the hills because I cannot work a mini-skirt. By all means, wear whatever you want. I'm a firm believer in that. I never thought I'd touch crop tops, so it was a complete mine-field going shopping when crop tops exploded as a trend and were in every high-street fashion retailer. I found a way to make them work though - by pairing them with a high waist in the form of my boyfriend jeans or skater skirt. 

I still try on a daily-basis to push the limits of my self-acceptance. To encourage myself with kind words and dress in clothing that makes me feel like a bad-ass, and to apply my lipstick - be it grey, blue, or a classic red - with cut-throat precision. These are some of the things that help me to enjoy being myself. 

I've had trouble with my appearance since I was a child, and as someone that read magazines from then onwards, I've always seen the media telling me what I should and shouldn't look like. However, I don't blame the media alone. I could have tried, when I was younger, to love the skin I was in, but instead I tried to be somebody else, to be different, to change. To lose weight, have nicer hair, wear different clothes to look like this person and the next. I didn't realise the damage I was doing to myself, both mentally and emotionally, by trying to starve myself when I didn't need to, and cursing myself for being chubby - or being what I thought was overweight but in actual fact being a pretty standard size for my age.

As a teenager, I thought my size eight thighs were enormous, along with my non-existent bum, and after depression hit and I started going to college, and caring less and less about what I looked like, it became harder and harder to squeeze into my skinny jeans. 

I know for a fact I saw my body differently to how it really was when I was a child and teenager. I was obsessed with my weight, with the scales, obsessed with dieting, although I never stuck at it for long. I wanted to look like my favourite celebrities - if I was as skinny, as pretty, then surely I'd find their level of success and happiness?

Above is a photo of me aged sixteen, wearing a pair of shorts in an age 14-15. I never wore them out because I thought my legs were too fat. Scares the shit out of me that I saw myself as humongous when in reality I was tiny. (And oh my God pls ignore duck face *cringes*)

In the past I've had piles upon piles of days where I wondered why my body didn't look a certain way, and it's when I look back at the thoughts and fears and anxiety I carried back then regarding my appearance, that I wish I had taken up blogging earlier. 

The diversity in the blogging world is astonishing, and never ceases to amaze me. People from all walks of life, of all nationalities, of all colours and creeds, shapes and sizes, tastes and styles, come together with a eagerness for one thing in particular. But that's not where our diversity ends - look at the array of subjects we cover, the varying different passions. We come together here to celebrate being a one-off, to celebrate others' achievements, to encourage each others' opinions. 

And I'm not proud to admit it, but I care a little too much about people's opinions of my appearance (well, specifically my weight). And it's stupid, because no one really cares that I wear a size 12 pair of jeans, no one cares that my OOTD shots aren't perfect because they want to read the content, to see how I style something - so what my body actually looks like, doesn't really have anything to do with it. I follow plenty of bloggers with all sorts of body types and I have never once thought them underweight, overweight, whatever. I've admired their confidence in front of the camera, the fact that they know they look awesome, and their vintage, Tumblr-cool shirt. 

What's even stupider about the fact that I care about people's opinions about my appearance when it comes to my weight is that I don't really care about anyone else's opinions, full stop. I've had people tell me my nose ring looks stupid, I've had people laugh at my tattoos. I've had former friends tell me I'm manipulative, selfish, a whore, a bitch. And that's cool bro. Cos I love my nose ring. I love my tattoos. Manipulative I entirely disagree with, and selfish, yeah, sure, sometimes I am - if something is causing me more damage than good, then I'm done, regardless of the other person's feelings or circumstances. If I'm a whore cos I had casual sex when I was single, if I'm a bitch because I'm honest, then that's fine, cos nobody is going to tell me I'm a shitty person but me. I'm not a pedaller of positivity but I'm not going to be suffocated by people's criticisms and negativity. To not care what anybody thinks of my weight is definitely a goal of mine. I spend my time pretending not to give a shit - so is the real thing really that far out of reach? 

As an adult, I've tried all the diets and mostly ended up giving up because I don't see the results I want. For some of this, my PCOS is to blame (more on that here). It makes shifting weight much harder than it is for the ordinary person - but this, more than anything, is what makes me determined to have a better relationship with my body. For better or for worse, I am stuck with it. The sooner I accept myself, the happier I will be in the end. I won't be stopped from wearing shorts and vests cos my thighs and arms are a bit chunky, and nor will I be stopped from wearing a bikini in public (although I do prefer a high-waist!). Currently I wear a size 12 on the bottom and a size 10 on top, depending on the top itself as I need a generous give over the bust area. At this size, I'm a lot more confident and secure than I've ever been, although it's most likely getting older and wiser, and perhaps my expanding tattoo collection, that helps me to feel more at home in my skin. Sometimes I don't think I'll ever quell the want to fit into those old cobalt jeans I loved at seventeen, but the thought of struggling with myself and fighting that uphill battle to get into to a size 8 pair of skinnies once more somehow doesn't quite appeal to me.

Although my self-acceptance has come a long way, this is still only the beginning of my journey. I'm not as hard on myself as I once was, and I've learned to stop and control myself if I am. I want to embrace myself as I am now with my bigger-sized thighs and muffin top, because I'm exhausted by always wanting to change. All my life I have wanted to be someone or something else, but over the past few months I've been realising that that has changed. Now I want to be happy with who I am here and now. 


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