We are moving into a body positive revolution. Which is great. The message seeping out there is to love your body, be proud that it carried and delivered a human, that your breasts may have fed your baby, that your stitches, stretch marks and sags are all proof that this happened. And I feel lucky that this revolution comes at a post-child time for myself included.
It doesn’t always portray slim bodies though and I myself have always been super slim. Skinny. Its a word I hate but how I’ve been offensively described nearly my whole life. It’s also the reason that sometimes my opinions of how I’m not happy with my body are not worthy of discussion to some other people. But me just like most others have been left with this alien body to get used to. The wiry pot bellied frame I have been left with, loose skin and deflated boobs.
I don’t put a perfect image of myself on social media because I am really not that comfortable looking at myself so would not pretend to be so. But I feel it’s important to discuss because I’m not a child anymore- I can’t spend the foreseeable future as i did as a teen, hoping my pre pubescent body will grow bigger boobs and thicker legs, because I am now a grown up. Time to put on the big girl pants. This is what I have to live with and with all of these body positive messages that fly around I realise that I must include myself in them. If I want my children to grow up feeling happy with themselves and viewing other bodies in realistic and positive lights then I must emanate that positivity first.
I have grown up feeling self conscious about nearly everything. My legs, boobs, hips. Dancing gave me some confidence, it seemed a justifiable reason to people that I should have the figure of a ballet dancer since I did dance. Heaven forbid I did nothing and was THAT skinny. It gave me some shape within the parameters of slimness. It became normal for people to ask ‘Do you eat?’ (er rude). The reality being that I was a fussy eater but actually I can eat nearly my whole body weight. But if I am stressed or ill I tend to lose weight quite quickly which, much to some peoples disbelief is unfortunate for me.
There was a small time frame in my twenties that I felt good but it was probably alcohol fuelled and masked by bleaching my hair white and red (simutaneously!!) and wearing copious amounts of brightly coloured mac eyeshadow. I think fondly of the days that I went out happily in mini skirts and heels after years of only wearing jeans to hide my legs, even if it was a false confidence and short lived. Those days ended and my COS days began. Hurrah for being able to bury yourself in pocketed sacks (which I actually love) and mens style shirts. However even fashion can’t forever hide your insecurities; Summer is a problem for me every year. I have to wake up each day and decide am I brave enough today to display my legs and wear a dress or shall I swelter in some good ol’ baggy jeans?Pregnancy was the only time for me that I loved my body. Everything filled out. Everything. I didn’t care. I had hips and some weight and my body had a purpose and was purposefully beautiful. Something no one could deny me of. Luckily for Gigi and sadly for me, its not possible to be preggers forever.
In light of recent International women’s day I was thinking how being body positive is also important to the two sons we are raising. To raise two boys that understand what ‘normality’ is in regards to the female body, that it is such a broad broad spectrum, I think is super important. We don’t say the word ‘fat’ in our house. Sounds a bit strict? Not really, just the same as I hated all of those people calling me skinny I would never think it ok to say to someone “gosh, you’re fat did you eat too much?”. I also have never hidden my tummy (or body for that matter) from them. When Rory pokes my tummy and says “why is it like that? Do you like it like that?” what I need to learn to say is “YES because it grew you inside it. This is what some tummies do look like!”.
However as time has gone on I have started to accept certain aspects. My legs are skinny- no amount of eating will gain them weight. Winter cannot hide them forever. And I doubt a 14 year old Gillian Stevenson is still round the corner to catch me in my summer dress and call me anorexic! So time goes on (and positive affirmations become invaluable). Still, I know some of you will think what a terrible problem I’ve been given to deal with and that I don’t know how lucky I am. I tell you what, when I see someones curvy body in something low cut or awkwardly short we all may gawp. But what I’m really thinking is, if only I had that confidence in my own body to just not give a shit about what anyone else thinks. Power to those women. You inspire me. Being body positive isn’t only looking at a plus size or curvy figure and aspiring to look like that. It’s about praising all natural shapes and sizes and aspiring to be yourself. After all, that’s the one that is looking back at you in the mirror wanting to be loved. Every single day…
Here are some cool inspiring women and websites for you all to check out that will tell you that you “are enough” and how important it is to love yourself.
•This Girl is Enough to reassure you everyday that you are awesome
•Bodyposipanda to see that the most beautiful form is in happiness
• and of course just in case you have been living under a rock Constance Hall