I had a casual 1000+ words written out for this post, which was intended to be a light-hearted take on the positives of moving out – I’ve now scrapped that (although I’m sure the same content will pop up at some point this week), opened a new document on Pages and started again.
And the reason I’ve started again, is that there’s something larger that I want to say about this set of photos. I’ve spoken before about feeling uneasy about summer dressing before, and I started the year with a piece which loudly and proudly declared that 2017 was my year of being fat and happy. No holds barred, no treats forbidden, and certainly no late night self-loathing.
Thanks to a combination of contraception, a boyfriend and the fact that I am simply eating more and caring less, I have put on weight. If you’ve kept up with my blog for a while, you’ll probably be able to see the difference, but up until around the last two months, I hadn’t really noticed anything too dramatic. Even now, to be fair, I’m still a size 10, but I can see in photos that my face is rounder, my arms are chubbier, I’m not quite as slim from the side as I was before.
It’s hard to look at photos of yourself sometimes, especially when you can see yourself changing before your eyes. Over the past two months, when reviewing photos, I’ve had various moments of “oh fuck, is that what I really look like?”, followed by whipping my top off and taking a quick once-over in the mirror to see how close to reality it is. Whereas previously I would have spiralled into a pit of self-hatred before, I now try really hard to take a step back, take a deep breath and move on from the thought.
Side note: negative thoughts about your body image or yourself as a person are like tampons. The more they get, the more they soak up and the bigger they become. Let’s just say I’m trying to keep the flow light this year.
Nevertheless, I do have moments where I’m struggling. I look at these photos and I see that my face is chubbier and I see that the sleeves of my t-shirt fall at the widest part of my arm, amplifying what is already a real problem area for me. I see that my legs could only ever dream of a thigh-gap, I see that my knees are, weirdly, fatter than ever and I see that in terms of my body shape, I don’t look like a lot of other bloggers.
And what you guys see in the blog post is the finished result – 10-15 images that have been edited and uploaded as the best of the bunch. I, on the other hand, see 150-200+ of these, and it’s like 200+ reminders of the things that make me feel self-conscious about yourself. Any nugget in my head about the ugliness of my weight is poked and poked 200 times over, backed up by the worry that people look at me and think “she thinks she’s skinnier than she is”.
I guess this post is a mini PSA to say that even those who champion positive body perceptions still have bad body days. Moving past your learned idea of the ‘ideal’ body is a journey (v. soppy, v. cliche but v. true), and sometimes, along the way, you fall down. More than waving a little arm in the air and shouting “hey, I get upset too!”, I wanted to show that even though my Instagram page may be all nice clothes and sassy attitudes, I do still feel bad about my body from time to time. Just because I wrote a post in February that said I wasn’t going to care about my weight anymore, doesn’t mean that change happened in an instant. I’m working towards it, but it’s definitely a process.
I think, though, what I really wanted to reflect on is that we give so much credence to the negative perceptions of our body that one bad element – whether that’s a bad photo, a bad comment, a bad angle – completely overpowers anything good. When I went through these photos this morning, I came close to binning them all and then spent the rest of the day contemplating the gym and which trainers are you supposed to wear there?? and God I really need to stop eating bread! Gone were good feelings I had on Friday thanks to fresh new hair and some relatively clear skin – nope, that was all wiped, thanks to my chubby little arms and tiny sausage fingers.
We all too often roll the red carpet out for the first criticism that pops into our head and let it live rent free, burning away, whilst anything remotely positive gets an instant substitution. Even though I have more good days than bad, still when I see a super slim blogger lounging on the beaches of Bali, I find the question of “am I wasting my best body years?” creeping in and becoming king of the roost.
But I understand that me accepting my weight gain and actually saying “no, I’m not trying to change this” goes against the grain of everything I’ve ever been taught, so the process, unsurprisingly isn’t going to be easy. I just wanted to share with you that I have really shitty days too, to share a little bit of my less-aspirational, haven’t-showered-yet-today human side. This post may well have been a totally jumbled, slightly incomprehensible mixed bag of thoughts, but hopefully you managed to keep up with me and hopefully, even a little bit of it resonated with you.
Until next time lovelies x