A few months ago I accepted that I am who I am inside this body. This isn't the body I want but its the body I've got. For now. Every mark, lump and bump on my body tells a story. This includes the stretch marks from three pregnancies, the scars from six operations, the pock marks from childhood illnesses, the way I choose to decorate my skin with tattoo ink and all the weight I've put on over the past few years.
I have made conscious decisions to make changes to my body to attempt to become happier with it. I've joined a local Slimming World group and I'm learning how to keep fit with the 'Couch to 5K' running programme. It's not easy and I want instant results to become instantly happier with who I am but I'm sensible enough to know part of the psychology behind it determines that it's going to be a slow process.
However... here's the twist...
Newspapers choose to print images of celebrity bodies which range from one extreme to the other; the image that they have drilled into the heads of so many people as the 'perfect' slim, toned and tanned body to the 'horror' image of anything that is larger than a size 10. We've had slut-shaming, now we're having fat-shaming. Or maybe it's all part of the same strand of hatred?
I went on holiday recently and was in two minds about what to wear whilst sunbathing. This is more about the way I feel about my own body rather than believing that someone else is looking at me and disliking what they see. If someone does have time to look at me, make judgement and compare me to a media-led ideal then they can go fuck themselves, if I'm being totally honest.
But whilst I was away I read this piece of fat-shaming drivel from Linda Kelsey in the Daily Mail (yes, I know, I know... but you do need to read it to understand why there are so many people out there being brainwashed into thinking that you have to be slim and pretty to be accepted in life). From then on I stopped covering up with my baggy t-shirt to walk to the hotel bar and I embraced the fact that people (of every shape and size you can imagine) were far more occupied with enjoying themselves than worrying about what I was wearing to hide my own insecurities. I even took this picture of my own bikini body to remind myself I don't need a 'bikini bridge' to be happy now... today... right in this moment.
There are two bikini-themed blog posts that I want to highlight that are so worth a read (them damn girls got in before me). Kate Sutton's post and Jenny Trout's post (both entitled "I Wore A Bikini") highlight the fact that the world didn't stop turning and people didn't die just because they chose to wear what they wanted to wear on holiday. It's good to know that there are other people out there that feel the same. I've written so many times about body appreciation and how I use make-up as a mask or confidence boost (have a read of Fat or Sans Fard - they include my thoughts about passing on confidence to my children and grandchildren even though I don't have much myself) but I haven't been happy in my own skin - literally - for a long time.
Finally, I'm sure you've seen this video this week. It's being shared with the title "She was sick of being photoshopped so here's what she did next" or words to that effect. The blog post titles are total clickbait but it's an effective video and the lyrics are worth a read:
Do you like you?You don't have to try so hardYou don't have to give it all awayYou just have to get up, get up, get up, get upYou don't have to change a single thing.