I am 5’6". I have mid-length, dark brown hair. An average nose. Eyes that aren’t any one colour.
The dimples that grace my cheeks when I smile are so pronounced people can’t help but tell me I have them (which has never made much sense to me, but I’ve always enjoyed how much joy they give other people).
When I was a teenager, an elderly woman stopped me in the street to tell me I had lovely long legs I should be proud of (which also confused me because I didn’t plan for them to be that length, it just kind of happened.) Nevertheless it put a spring in my step and I thanked her for the compliment.
The day I realised I’d outgrown my B-cup bra was an exultant day, indeed.
My boyfriend is the first to tell me I have a great butt and he peppers conversations with compliments, truly boosting my ego massively.
Grandparents are also great at compliments: mine are no exception.
I adore the body positivity movement. The idea that society now praises lumps, bumps, size, shape and colour really fills my heart with pride. I get so much satisfaction seeing others happy in their own skin.
But I am currently not happy in mine.
I love my shape. It is soft and feminine and it silhouettes beautifully. But I, like so many others, have major hang ups.
My belly upsets me the most. It sets my shape off balance and makes dressing very difficult at times from the belly button down.
Food is not my friend in this instance. Partly because food is my best friend. I am a stress eater. A comfort eater. A binge eater. A “let’s celebrate with cake” eater. Food has always been there for me, whatever the occasion. This has, over time, and with little exercise to combat the intake, resulted in a part of me that causes many shed tears and the foulest moods.
I champion people all over the world who are embracing their bodies. I admire and envy those who can accept that their bodies are not perfect by society’s unattainable standards, but love theirs anyway. The people who work hard to get their bodies the way they want – they impress me greatly.
I just am not there yet.
I am not comfortable in my bodycon dresses now. I cry if my jeans are too tight. I feel gross when I sit on my bed and feel my stomach rolls. Shopping for trousers and skirts fills me with dread. When my stomach touches my thigh I immediately put clothes on to build a barrier.
The biggest problem, though, is my lack of urgency to change anything. Therein lies the ugliest, most frustrating contradiction of all. I am unhappy with how I look, but I am doing next to nothing to change it.
I dance once a week, practice yoga halfheartedly every so often and maybe walk for 2 hours a week if I’m lucky. I did cut back on unhealthy foods, only to binge and undo what little work I had managed.
It’s a constant tug-of-war between satisfying my perfectionist tendencies and fear of not achieving my potential in every aspect of the life (the struggle is real) and my apathy to my situation.
I am overweight. I am unhealthy. I am unhappy. Those things need to change.
Body positivity and self acceptance are hugely important. Self love and care create such a healthy mindset and breed positivity and happiness elsewhere. It makes sense.
I started writing this post having just stood on the scales and measuring at my heaviest weight yet. I initially was trying to find myself a path to follow that would lead to accepting myself, but I’m now realising that I won’t accept until I start committing to making a positive change.
While my weight is the issue, I know it’s my lifestyle that needs to change. It’s a hard change to make for someone who thrives on habitual living, but some habits really need breaking. I guess I’ll just have to ensure I make more of a conscious effort and watch this space for improvement.