Body Image

It would be a lie to say that the last time I sat down and wrote for this blog was in February, when I posted my last entry. I’ve tried countless times to express myself and my feelings and find something coherent to say but my mind fails me. It’s not as if nothing has happened. These last five months have been incredibly exciting and challenging. I’ve become much more comfortable in my job and I’ve finished my first year of university (managing to achieve 80% in one of my essays… oo-er), my friendships are becoming closer and I’ve enjoyed many days (and nights) out with people who I love.

It sounds as if I have a very fulfilling and happy life and I know that I should be grateful for every moment. But something has been on my mind recently, and it has really placed a dark shadow over my existence over the last few months.

That something is body image. I have struggled, as so many people do, with my body image my entire life. I’ve experimented with different hair colours and cuts, piercings, clothing styles and make-up to try and find myself and the identity that I want to feel and portray, yet I still don’t feel like I’ve found it. And while on the surface I’m dying my hair wild colours and wearing ridiculous shoes and dark lipstick, on the inside all I’m doing is trying to cover up the fact that I’m not skinny. I hate the fact that I’ve had to type that and I feel like I’m seeking attention when nobody even reads this blog. But the truth of the matter is, I’ve always tried out new things and changed my image in order to distract myself from the fact that I don’t have the body I want. It’s always been there, hammering on in the back of my mind, even in my happiest moments I am unable to be truly free because I am worried about what my arms look like, or if my back rolls are visible or if I have a double chin. The society of ‘skinny’ has tortured me in such a way that it physically stands in the way of my happiness.

Sometimes, I’ll be unable to sleep because I am thinking about the way my body looks. I am unable to be intimate with my boyfriend because I am ashamed of myself. I am worried that people in the street will look at me and think I don’t take good care of myself. When I meet my boyfriend’s friends, I am worried that they will think he could do better.

But the thing is – I WANT to love myself. I want to love every inch of my body no matter how flabby or cellulite-y or podgy, and I want to eat cake without feeling guilty and I don’t want to restrict myself or make myself miserable because of what I eat. But right now, it seems impossible. Right now, in a society so forcefully focused on being thin and getting rid of love handles and achieving a thigh gap and having abs and eating avocado mush for breakfast, it seems impossible to have a positive attitude towards myself and my body.

I am sick of the culture that believes there is only one way to be healthy and one way to look healthy, one diet that works and one lifestyle that suits us. I am sick of the culture which tells young girls that being skinny is the only way that a boy will like them – or if someone is being particularly PC, that boys LIKE curves so it’s okay to be chubby. Why does a boy’s opinion define a girl’s worth?

Why is it that we feel pleased when someone we dislike puts on weight? The world has placed an unpleasant stigma on the idea of ‘being fat’ which couples up with being lazy, being unhealthy, unfit, greedy and ridiculous. And this, is exactly how society has taught me to view myself.

So this is the ramblings of a unhappy woman who longs to accept herself because when she accepts herself then the cares and desires of society will no longer matter but those have yet to pass over me.