Right then. Bodies. Human vessels. Our squidgy outer layer.
It’s the only body we’ve got and we’ve got to love it... right? Well I don’t know about you but my brain loves to give that concept the finger from time to time, especially when I’m stood in front of the mirror in my Batman pants (the comfiest of all my pants) asking myself, “why didn’t those 15 squats make my bum lift into space like Beyoncé’s?”
Confidence is a word we all have struggled with from time to time and connecting that word with “body” is even more of a fun anxiety ridden train journey. Tickets please!
Turns out you can’t write one single blog about this kind of stuff, you’d be reading for days and I wouldn't do that to you kind people. So instead, I’m going to splurge a bit of my brain onto this page and see what happens next. Maybe I’ll write more or maybe I’ll leave it to someone else way more knowledgeable than myself. Also, I’m not going to give you the absolute solution on how to love your body because:
1. No one has the same experience with their bodies.
2. I’m still learning myself!
So, if you’d allow yourself to delve into the brain of an over-thinker who loves all things chocolate and cheese (sorry vegan friends), maybe you’ll learn something new, find new ways to think about your own bodies or just simply think “what is this girl on” and to answer that question: cake.
The answer is always some sort of cake.
Also side note: even though this is about me and the relationship with my body, I’d like to think that this is a letter to all bodies.
Younger bodies, older bodies, non-binary bodies, trans bodies, spotty bodies (and booties), bodies with boobs, bodies without, bodies that can’t fit into those H&M shorts, bodies that are toned to the gods, just think of anybody – they are welcome to read, and even if certain things aren't be relatable to you (e.g boobs) you may find it a fun read!
Okay so now bodies doesn’t look like a word anymore, let’s get to it!
Part 1 - The Hate
I wanted the perfect peach emoji bum. I imagined myself finally achieving that perfectly rounded and firm bum which was super smooth. No cellulite or stretchmarks.
I was embarrassed by the wobble in my body and how the sunlight made the purple caverns on my thighs even more obvious to the world. So I did all the squats, donkey lifts and clenching I could, slapped on all the no-more-stretchmark creams I could find and basically tried anything that would help me love my body.
I also hated my boobs. They weren’t big enough in school and I didn’t understand how push up bras worked (still haven’t cracked it) then I watched Atonement and my boobs were suddenly not small enough to get that Kira Knightly look. I couldn’t win! No stores had my size and they’d just fit me in the closest thing they could find (don’t get a bra fitting from Victoria Secret) and they weren’t the EXACT same size HOW DARE MY BREASTS ATTACK ME LIKE THIS.
And why do we feel like this? We weren't born being told our bodies weren't right, it's something that has seeped into our brains on a daily basis. The super fun toxic ideals of beauty standards that's slapped all over our screens creates a soufflé of body hate and shaming. Here's just a few highlights:
The before and after photos for fitness plans or diets, reinforcing the idea that being thinner is better and that the before photo is unworthy (also these days a lot of those are faked - you’d be surprised how EASY it can be to transform the shape of your body by adjusting your position or changing the lighting).
Magazines shaming celebrities wearing swimsuits on beach, their thighs had the AUDACITY to jiggle when running after their kids.
TV shows like Friends creating “fat Monica”, a binge-eating virgin that encourages the audience to laugh at her eating and dancing (and at times both at the same time) showing her as the "lesser" version of the smaller Monica.
The social media onslaught of perfectly airbrushed models, unachievable workout videos, and your favourite Love Island contestant selling something they’ve never used before but now “just can’t live without it guys”.
(Side note: I have noticed how my perception of my body changes when I watch Love Island which is why, although I enjoy the drama of that show, it needs to go. And if you think otherwise whack on a bikini and invite your local hairdresser “for a chat”) .
The photos and videos I saw every day whilst scrolling absentmindedly did wonders for my body-hating brain. We are made to believe they look like that all the time (mainly because that's all we see on their feed) but I could talk about that for days! I’ll move into so something I’m sure most of you have heard all about: Bridget Jones!
And for those who haven’t seen the film or read about it, Bridget was considered overweight and the whole film revolved around her trying to lose the weight so she could be loved. She was around 9 stone… Yeah. That’s not an unhealthy weight (although dammit it’s a good movie).
You can’t determine someone’s health by their size.
It’s not up to us to choose who gets to feel positive about themselves and who doesn’t. A lot of the time people will judge another person’s size based off THEIR idea of what’s healthy, but we have no idea how healthy someone is from the size of their body and also have no idea what that person has gone through!
So how do we stop this attitude of self hate towards ourselves (and sometimes others) that has been so ingrained into our lives? Beauty standards are not based on fact! The only beauty standards we should follow are the ones we give ourselves because we are all beautifully unique. Instead of listening to these rubbish public beauty standards, we need to fight them!
Part 2 - The Celebrate
In the end, nothing is more attractive than being nice... just think, have you ever met a sexy tory?
It’s hard to stay positive when someone is mean to you all the time so be bloody kind to yourself! When we are ashamed of our insecurities, it gives them a false sense of power, so by starting to spread love and empowerment in yourself and to those around you, the more you include it in your daily life the more it will sink into your mindset.
If you always tell yourself you hate a certain body part, find something you can celebrate about it! If you're on social media and find yourself feeling the need to change who you are, do a purge - unfollow any account that makes you feel unworthy and replace it with body confidence pages and cute animal accounts! Do yourself a favour and make the conscious effort to start thinking and speaking more positively about yourself and your body!
Someone’s weight does not lessen their worth or deservedness of love and respect and that goes for both ends of the scale. This kind of judgmental attitude towards others can make you convince yourself that you are also not worthy until you have lost the rolls on your tummy or your thighs finally have that gap (why that became a thing to strive for I will never know and yet I wanted one too).
A “Healthy weight” is your weight, if you’re healthy. And that can be any bloody size. You deserve to love yourself and your body in all of it’s forms – you do not need to wait until you look a certain way to be confident in yourself. And in all seriousness screw scales, if you have any in your house chuck them out. Burn them. Destroy that useless piece of junk (unless they’re for baking cakes).
Calling yourself out on your own toxic behaviour in order to grow into a better person is self-love. And this toxic behaviour could be the hurtful thoughts towards your cellulite, the amount of Instagram accounts you follow that make you question your self-worth, or it might even be that you’re posting that kind of content yourself as you think that’s what people want to see (not realising the damage that could be doing to others).
Let’s all try to spend a bit more time thinking about how we can be positive and help others, rather than focusing on how we can look better, because it’s so much better being remembered for your personality rather that your figure.
I have made the conscious effort to remind myself that stretch marks are natural - MY BODY HAS GROWN SINCE BEING YOUNGER WHAT A SHOCK. And it’s so flipping normal! They are proof that I have grown as a person (physically and mentally). What’s the point of spending all that money on creams that will never work when I could spend that money and time on some new shorts to show off the cute lightning marks on my skin? Never let something that is normal prevent you from actually living!
And I know my boobs will never be referred to as melons, I prefer juicy oranges anyway. And I don’t need to wear a bra if I don’t want to and screw anyone who thinks it unseemly to not wear one!
“Oh clutch my pearls and call me Tracy her chesticles are on display we must alert the church elders.”
Perfection is the goal that so many of us have been taught we must achieve but it’s the most bulls**t game ever because perfection doesn’t exist. Having these “perfect” body parts wouldn’t solve my self-worth problems! We are all complex and nuanced humans - our uniqueness is our superpower. We have stretch marks, cellulite, dimples, rolls and wobbles and emotions that make absolutely no sense. Accept your groovy differences and shake your beautiful body!
And again, this is not just for my generation. This is for all of you parents who weren’t lucky enough to have the same access to body celebration that we do at the moment - your bodies are just as beautiful as ours (also, you made and/or raised these bodies so that’s like bonus points right?) And for your kids who are growing up in this world of influencers selling weight loss gummies and detox teas (spoiler alert - you’ll just go to the toilet a lot and I don’t think that’s the Love Island realness you want). Tell them how beautiful their bodies are (eww gross mum) and how you're learning to love the skin you’re in too - instead of grabbing your belly and sighing, tell them how IT'S BLOODY NORMAL TIFFANY!
So thank you if you've made it this far through my ramblings, and because I’m still learning and making these conscious decisions to be kind to myself, I’d love to hear from you folks and maybe learn new things or just discuss all things body-ody-ody! Send me a message, goodness knows I’ve got the time to chat.
I’ll finally leave you with 4 tips from a body celebrating novice:
· Find out what makes you feel confident and do it more.
· Do a social media purge, even if this includes people you know.
· Eat the damn cake if you want to.
· Embrace your jiggle!
After all, jelly is better than jam.