I love my body. I didn’t always, but this pasty white, jiggly mass of flesh and bones that is the vessel of my consciousness, we’re cool now.
It’s a good thing too, because this bod and I, are kind of stuck with each other. We may as well get along… After all, life is a lot easier when you’re in a mutually beneficial relationship, especially when it’s the one you share with yourself!
I used to avoid taking my body out to certain places. I didn’t want to be seen in public with it. I was ashamed. This hurt my body very much. It also hurt me. I began to resent it. I wished it looked better. I wished I had a different one.
I didn’t like eating in out because I would worry that my body might not fit into the booths. I worried that people would stare at us as we ate. I rarely went to places like the pool, or the beach. I couldn’t bear the thought of people seeing my body in a bathing suit.
I wanted to love it. I wanted to be able to look at my body and like what I saw, the same way everyone on TV and in magazines seemed to be able to. I just didn’t hadn’t yet realized that the answer wasn’t that I needed to change my body, but rather, I needed to change the way I saw it.
I started looking for beauty in the parts of my body I had convinced myself weren’t beautiful. I began looking, and I mean, really looking at it in the mirror and in photographs, and changing the language I used to describe it. I started feeding it the foods it liked without worrying about their calorie count. I stopped treating my body like it deserved to be constantly punished for looking different than the way the movie stars and magazines told me it should.
You see, I spent most of it telling myself how good I would look if only I had a better body, how I wished I could have somebody else’s— how much I hated it. The disassociation I made between my body and self became my reality. I separated myself from it as an act of self-preservation, and it took me all these years to get up the courage to apologize to my body for how badly I had treated it, and promise to it, that I would never let myself do that again.
So to you, I may just look like a fat girl on the beach, strutting around showing off my swim body in a floral bikini, and on the surface, you’d be right… But if you dig a little deeper, what you’ll really see, is the foundation of a newly rekindled relationship between a once very broken girl, and her body, that never was.
A big thank you to this bikini babe for these awesome shots!!! (Except for this one, which I can thank my mum for!)
Bikini, GabiFresh for Swimsuits For All – here
Sandals, ASOS – similar
Cover up, Zellers – old AF (Zellers doesn’t event exists anymore, haha)
A little while ago I took a brief, unplanned blogging hiatus. I had been feeling extremely exhausted, I’d been sick, and I was also dealing with some stressful family stuff as well. I kept meaning to blog, and went to bed each night with the idea that tomorrow’s going to be the day, but no matter how much I tried to convince myself, I always just ended up putting it off because something inside of me just wouldn’t let me be productive.
That’s all I thought it was… Just me procrastinating, but when I look back on those couple of months, the reality was that I was having a bit of an anxiety induced melt down. I was still functioning— going about the motions, putting a brave face on, but inside I was at the point of breaking down.
I did my best to remember to keep up with those little self-care rituals that helped keep me sane. I cooked, cleaned, took care of my kids. I took bubble baths, got my nails done, but my struggle with blogging slowly began to weigh on me… I started resenting it, because I hated the feeling of having an obligation, even if it was self-imposed.
It’s strange because, I love being a blogger. Blogging is at the top of my list of self-care activities because it makes me feel good, from getting made up and dressed in beautiful clothes, right down to the writing process, which I find calming and therapeutic… So why was I running away from it!?
The answer: because I was in denial about what I was really running from. It was much simpler to tell myself that I was taking a nap instead of blogging, rather than taking it to avoid my own thoughts, not to mention that writing would have forced me to confront myself about how I was feeling. In that moment, my only defence mechanism was to flee my own brain altogether.
You may be wondering what all of this has to to with this dusty pink/blush coloured dress I’m wearing… It’s such a silly little thing, yet it’s all I can think of when I look at these photos… My nails don’t match it.
I had purchased it (as well as in another colour) from ASOS as an attempt to rekindle my blogging spirit. I remember being excited because I had gotten my nails done in the exact same pink to match. I never shot any blog pics though. Hell, I never even wore it, and my nails grew out. Still determined, I got my refill and asked for the exact same colour again! Dusty pink nails, take two, but again, I just couldn’t make myself get dressed for a shoot. Slowly, they grew out once more and I forgot about the dress.
At some point in May, I came out of this difficult period. I had blogging obligations and had no choice but to fulfill them. Once I started back at it, the anxiety was lifted. I remembered that this wasn’t some cruel form of punishment, but rather an activity that fills me with joy!
It felt like coming home, and I couldn’t believe that for a while there, I had even debated going ghost on my followers. I had felt unable to keep the blog up, but feared the imagined humiliation of actually formally excusing myself from the community and exposing myself as a failure who just couldn’t cut the mustard.
I’m glad I didn’t, because getting up every morning, getting dressed, and maintaining the dialogue with myself that blogging requires me to uphold was what helped bring me back; and my followers, your kind words upon my return were more uplifting than you can imagine! I have once again been given the gift of being reminded of just how much support I have through blogging, and the amazing body positive community.
So even though my manicure doesn’t match my dress, I wanted to wear it as a very personal symbol of the power we all have to give another person hope, encourage them when they feel hopeless, and raise them up when they’re feeling low, and also as a reminder that anxiety and mental illness are invisible.
Coming from a person who, in the moment, when things get tough, is very guarded, and tends to withdraw into herself, you may think someone looks fine. They may smile, engage in conversation and list all the right reasons for why they’ve been acting a little differently— I’m just tired, I’ve been sick, I’ve been busy, etcetera etcetera… But it can be next to impossible to notice when those reasons begin to spill over into something more debilitating.
I was fortunate that this was just a minor bout with anxiety brought on by temporary stressors, and solvable problems that pale in comparison to those of others, but not everyone is so lucky. Not everyone has an amazing support system, or are able to recognize when it’s time to seek professional help.
So, like this dress and my mismatched mani remind me, let me remind you to be kind, because your words can have more on an impact on a person’s life than you may ever realize. Remember that someone’s struggles may seem trivial to you, but are very real to that person, so be mindful. You can never truly know how someone is feeling inside, unless they are willing and able to express it, which I can tell you honestly, isn’t an easy thing to do.
Dress, ASOS Curve – here
Shoes, Aldo – here
Bag, Louis Vuitton – here
Necklace & Earrings, Walmart – old