Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Choosing Happy Not Skinny

Disclaimer: This post is being written from a privileged position of someone who has never been “over-weight” or had any weight-related disorders and is only *my* feelings on this subject as they relate to *my* body. I’m not trying to tell anyone what is right and what isn’t. Your body is yours and nobody can tell you how it should look or how you should feel about it or what you should do with it.

So I’m going on holiday tomorrow. Yep that’s right- tomorrow. As I’m writing this I’m trying to get the packing for me and Le Boyf done (because I have the odd need to be in control of the packing so I know we don’t forget anything), I have to work Wednesday before we drive over to my parents that night so I’m understandably a bit stressed right now.

I did some shopping the weekend before last to get some clothes to take on holiday and had a rather uncomfortable wobble with my self-confidence. I’m well aware that over the last year or so I’ve put on about a stone but since I don’t buy new clothes that often I’ve not had to deal with the nightmare that is women’s clothing sizes. It wasn’t all that fun.

If you didn’t see my tweets about my shopping mishap then here you go. Basically I opted to get vest tops a size larger than I thought I would need in the end rather than have to suffer through wearing super-clingy clothes while in America. Baggier is better when you’re feeling kinda delicate about your middle. The number on the label is bollocks anyway when you think about how wildly sizes vary from shop to shop. A Topshop 10 could be a Hollister XXL (because damn it if the clothes in there are made for human-sized Pepperami sticks).

Growing up I was always very lucky to be able to eat what I felt like and even with the minimal amount of exercise I did, not have to worry about putting loads of weight on. I was pretty much a size ten for all my teen years, maybe a size 12 for tops to accommodate my boobs. Apparently I have some genes on my side in that my biological father (who we’ll *not* be talking about further) was always fairly slim without trying. Silver linings I guess.

But now I’m in my mid-twenties I think the environmental factors *cough pizza cough* are getting the upper hand. I’m hovering around the 9st 12lb mark at the moment which is not making me all that happy. Most of that extra stone has ended up on my boobs (which isn’t an entirely bad thing because, hey bitchin’ cleavage) and round my hips and stomach.

This is what’s making me dread somewhat going on holiday. Currently my stomach is anything but flat and I have noticeable love handles on my hips. Add in the fact that my body is weird and has zero fleshiness around the middle of my hips before curving back out on my thighs makes it very difficult for me to like seeing what I look like in bikinis right now.

I know that my weight is perfectly normal for someone of my age and height (According to this chart anyway) but that doesn’t stop me from feeling horribly insecure about my middle and how crap *I* think it looks in tight fitting clothes. The other weekend I bought a stretchy body-con dress and the moment I tried it on I knew it was going back with NO swapping for a larger size. Even if I bought a size 12 it still would've only drawn attention to the oddness of my hips which just doesn’t work with that style of dress.

I know that the feeling like you don’t quite fit your skin is one that most girls and women experience all too frequently as they grow up. Society shoves these unrealistic ideals of what women’s bodies should look like down our throats from the moment we’re old enough to consume media. As a teen I didn’t really give a shit about being a size 6 and felt comfortable being the size I was which considering how my friendship group comprised of at least three girls who ate little more than fruit and diet coke every lunch it is surprising that I didn’t feel more pressure to be thinner than I was.

Even now I don’t want to be super-thin, I just want to feel comfortable in my own body. I’d like to be able to look at myself naked in the mirror and not frown at the handfuls of flesh that I can grab. I want to fit into all the clothes I own so I don’t have to keep buying new things that I can fasten without sucking in my entire gut. I want to feel happy to wear a bikini on holiday even if the only people who will see me will be my boyfriend and my immediate family.

Artwork by SiminiBlocker
I don’t give a shit if I’m not the magazine ideal of a bikini body (seriously though fuck that), I’m not trying to feel sexy for other people or even myself really, I just want to be able to look at myself and not immediately see flaws. Which I know is a lot to ask when we’ve all been pretty much conditioned as a society to constantly seek out the minutiae of our bodies and obsess over how it doesn’t adhere to some unattainable aesthetic standard.

There’s a pretty damn epic quote from Julie Murphy’s book Dumplin’ that ought to be the mantra of every single woman regardless of her size. It's what I'll be repeating to myself while I'm on holiday when the traitor part of my brain is saying that I should avoid going in the pool because I won't "look good" in my swimsuit.

Those thoughts need shutting down before they dig into your subconsciousness and linger like a poison, slowly dismantling your self-confidence until all you want to wear is baggy clothes that hide everything.

Now it's unrealistic of me to say that I'll feel better about my body by the time I get home from America. With the quantity of guacamole that I intend on eating it's likely that I'll feel even worse for a while but then I can begin to address those feelings and work on getting my body back to a size that feels right for me. Just me. No one else's opinion matters. 

Skinny or not, bikini body here I come. (By that I mean a bikini is going on my body. obvs.)


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No judgment, no hate, because it is already tough enough being a girl.