“No one will ever want you with that belly”…….
These were the parting words from an ex boyfriend when we split. After years of causing enough emotional damage he made sure he left me with the one thing that would cause me the most torment.
Fuelling the hatred I already had for my body.
I spent the next few years even more ashamed of my body than I was before because those words stuck in my head like a blood sucking leach on a wound.
I was a troubled teen, I grew up with a violent step father, having little control over my home life and regularly being scared to even speak.
I took control where I could, with food.
I starved myself on and off for many of my early teenage years. I hid it well, I was sporty at school and small in height so I often got away with being “skinny” although I never thought I was at the time.
I would throw my packed lunch out of my bedroom window making sure they fell into next doors garden behind the shed.
That worked for weeks until one day there was a knock at the door and our neighbour handed my mum a carrier bag full of mouldy foil wrapped sandwiches.
As I grew older I was always conscious in relationships especially about being naked. In fact I hated it and it was always in the forefront of my mind. I’d be a “lights off” girl or better still “let me get drunk first” girl.
Most women have body issues but we don’t often really open up as to how damaging they can be. We are programmed to rip ourselves apart and the irony is we are our own worst enemies.
I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard women talking about the imperfections of other women. I think if I’m honest I’ve done it to. It’s too easy for us to bitch about each other and more often than not we do it without even realising it.
We all have young girls looking up to us whether that’s a sister, a friend’s daughter, a niece, a cousin or the little girl next door. We have a responsibility as adults to help these girls grow confident and avoid the serious damage a lack of body confidence can have.
The people you look at and think are confident and strong probably aren’t. We all have our demons. I am no different. I am hoping by sharing this it will help someone somewhere think differently about themselves or the perception of what the perfect body is.
Even this post, no matter how much it’s aimed to do good, will be met by a barrage of internet trolls telling me I am attention seeking and fat. Why? Because this is the society we live in now, people cowardly hiding behind keyboards tearing other people down because it stops them thinking about all the things they hate about themselves.
It’s visible on every Facebook post you see. If there is a video of a cute little girl singing a song you can guarantee there’s a comment in that thread somewhere from an adult making sure that kid knows how shit her voice is and how cheap her dress looks. I mean there really are no words, unless of course we just call these people dickheads and move on.
The media needs to change, in fairness it has finally started to recognise the unhealthy portrayal of body image it’s created. There is still a long way to go before the media start to have a positive influence on young girls in regards to this though and last week was again a prime example.
It’s hard enough battling with my teenagers over their need for lip fillers and a size 0 figure because Kendall Jenner is a role model now. The same Kendall Jenner who’s knees were photo shopped out of a picture this week… KNEES! COME ON! For those who don’t know which sister she is, she’s the “skinny” one!
This is the medias idea of “changing the way they portray body image” oh do me a favour. She had legs like a Barbie doll.
KNEES??? When did it all get so fucking stupid?
For the record ladies…. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO LOOK THAT PERFECT, unless of course you are in fact Barbie!
Now, we all love a photo shopped selfie. I’m guilty of that too!
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with wanting to show yourself at your best. I work predominantly from social media, so the last thing people want to see is a picture of my morning face without the help of a beauty app!! I understand that.
I’m not at all suggesting we stop shaving our armpits, grow our leg hair and walk around make up free wearing daisy chains in our hair and not washing for a week whilst chanting “eat more junk food”. I am all for being healthier and making lifestyle changes, but not to the point that you torment yourself over and over about slyly popping a doughnut in your mouth now and again.
We fake tan, we stick fake lashes to our eyelids and we tattoo our eyebrows on …. I have done all these things too! I like to get glam every now and again and dare I say it I like to see what I’d look like without the london tube map under my eyes sometimes.
But jokes aside, what is that showing my daughters?
So I made a decision just a few months ago to stop beating myself up about having chubby bits. I love a Gin and tonic, I could happily stuff a whole pizza down my throat and regularly eat my weight in chocolate. SO WHAT!
I spent my entire teens, twenties and half of my thirties worrying about my weight, my saggy boobs, my wrinkles, my hair, even my bloody toe nails…. TOE NAILS!
Well you know what, not anymore. For all the ladies that spend a fortune looking beautifully tanned and polished I commend you, it takes far too much effort for my liking and quite frankly no amount of money will ever make me look like Jennifer Lopez. I can finally accept it and I am at peace with that.
If you are doing it for yourself, great. If you are doing it for anyone else stop! Because you will never be satisfied and years down the line you will realise you have been chasing a perfect image that doesn’t exist.
So why am I writing this now? What made me think “fuck it” and decide to show the body I’ve been hiding for 37 years?
Just 4 months ago I had a consultation with a plastic surgery clinic. I got a detailed plan and costing to have a boob job, tummy tuck and liposuction. I can lose weight quite well but I could never get rid of that baby belly, the chunky thighs and my out of shape bum. I was adamant I wanted it all done, I have tried to tone up but after doing 20 squats and feeling like it’s hopeless I caved in to the lazy option.
I’d always said I’d never have surgery and suddenly here I was actually wanting to do it. I started to think differently about my body issues at that point. When did I get to the point that I hated my body so much that I would be willing to pay thousands of pounds to cut it up?
That made me immediately think about the parting comment that I began this blog with.
“ No one will ever want you with that belly”….. Hang on, was he talking about the belly that grew him a child? Oh, I think he was! And was there a time HE wanted it? Yes, I do believe there was. How did I ever allow that comment to bother me? So stupid looking back.
I had never looked at it that way before. And in that moment I didn’t care anymore. It can take time to build your confidence back up, but when you have it the world really doesn’t get to you anymore. You see so much through different eyes and to be honest it’s the best feeling ever!
There are women that would give anything to have stretch marks from pregnancy, I thought about all the women who can’t have children that would be so grateful for the marks I’ve hated.
All the women who hate being underweight wishing they could put on a few pounds probably despise us moaning about our muffin top.
The women who have suffered breast cancer that would give anything to have your tiny odd-shaped boobs or your huge uncomfortable ones.
How many of us really ever think about that?
Look at yourself differently, start to think differently about your body.
Remember the things you hate about yourself someone else would love. I allowed someone to make me feel unconfident about my body. I allowed another person to make me hate the one part of my body that I should be proud of. Those scars remind me how lucky I am to have 3 healthy children.
So with my confidence back, a great support network of incredible friends & family and a new “fuck it” attitude, I show the world my body… not for attention but for just one woman to feel better about herself.
Yes, its battered, its bruised, its out of shape, its saggy and its covered in imperfections but every last part of it has survived until now. It’s the only body I have and its been through the ringer with me. The least I can do is give it a break.
So let’s stop bitching ladies, let’s stop tearing each other apart. Let’s show all the teenage girls who hate their bodies that it’s ok to be different, it’s ok to not look like Kim Kardashian. Let’s help all the women affected by vicious words from partners or ex partners love themselves again.
Most importantly let’s stop buying into the media’s “perfect image” bullshit.
In a few weeks the party season starts. You will wrestle with your Spanx, squeeze yourself into numerous little black dresses, slip on your sparkly heels and head out to many festive social gatherings.
You will feel good for a few hours…..
But remember, your body is for life not just for Christmas.