Why am I still not loving my body?
Isn’t what other people see or hear revealing? I hadn’t thought I had issues with loving my body. In fact, apart from not liking my arms, it had never occurred to me consciously that the rest was, well, unlovable. My tummy is a bit bloated, but I’ve put that down to excess lentils and not being able to exercise as I would like at the moment.
When other people can see that you aren’t loving your body
Yesterday, a girlfriend and I were swapping teenager body stories. I was laughingly telling her that as a teenager and for many years I would get up each morning and do hundreds of sit ups. There was nothing of me, and there I was punishing myself every day. Later that day I was with a male friend who listened to me regaling him with my stories (sit ups, bloaty tummy, and others). He heard something different to what I was saying and very bluntly said ‘have you always had a problem with loving your body?’
Without thinking, I said yes and then silence as I consider my loving my body stories.
Within moments, I was back at the tax office where we had a photography club. I was their model. I hated the photos; my tummy was far too big. Big! I was tiny.
As a result of these photos, I was persuaded to enter Miss Cardiff. For a tomboy, this was a shocking eye opener. I must have been the only girl to not turn up with a pampering entourage. In amazement, I watched as many of the girls put blusher between their legs, teased their hair into submission and tried on umpteen costumes. I had my costume under my clothes and had come only with my lipstick. When the man came to ask for our measurements I told the truth, it was obvious the girls around me lied. Oh well, I thought I’m here now, might as well go through with it.
The show was not fun. The girls were cat called, and I was embarrassed. Still mum and dad were there, so I gave them my best smile and a big wave. Later that evening a man asked me to become a weight trainer. A weight trainer and not a model! I was deflated, and it once again confirmed that I was fat, unattractive and unworthy.
Another night, feeling brave I ventured out in a tight leopard print dress bought from Paradise Garage, Cardiff’s best punk shop. The only comment I got was ‘nice body, shame about the face.’ I cried after I told him to fuck off.
There are many more occasions I could tell you about. The result was that I hid when I could in baggy clothes or empire lines. When I did wear short or tight things, they would be with boots rather than heels and always with something over the top to hide me.
Yesterday was no exception; I was in a lovely dress, which was baggy, with plimsolls rather than sandals. My friend commented on this and all of my frocks he has seen me in. It struck me from his blunt questioning and my responses that I have spent a lifetime not loving my body. Of course, with that comes other areas that might need to be addressed.
He did rather sweetly ask if I was offended by his line of interrogation. Smiling, I replied that no, I was, in fact, delighted, because this was another of my ‘demons’ brought to light.
Later that evening and this morning I have stood naked in front of the mirror and told myself that I love me. Plus, as I have caught myself in conversation or thought saying the hate word, I’ve stopped and changed my language. It’s early days, but it feels good.
How to respond to good questions
When you get asked good questions, it is always a good idea to breathe and to allow them to seep in. As tempting as it might be to knock someone’s block off, see the question from their perspective. He (my friend) sees me one way while I see something else. Either way, we are both right. In my case questions like these cause momentary overwhelm as I try not to overthink and analyse. This mind confusion is great as it means that I can reflect and then take some action.
Plus it’s a wonderful excuse to buy some new clothes, that show off my fabulous shape.
Why am I still not loving my body?
I know why. My preference is to not share with you. However, I can see quite clearly where this comes from and I know what I can do to change these warped perceptions. What is important is that I am willing to dig deep and make some choices that will help me to appreciate and love myself.
How do your clothes reflect hidden messages?
A question to reflect on. Are you still wearing clothes that reflect some old part of you or something you feel about your body? If yes, please explore. Find your stories, write them down and reflect. It’s not only your body that has something to tell you, it’s what you put on it too.
Watch this lovely video from Caitlin Moran.
PS: I did buy a lovely almost figure hugging dress today…
PPS: Here’s to loving my body