Trigger Warning: this post deals with childloss and talk of weight. Please do not read if this affects you badly.
Over Christmas, a very good family friend heard I was lurking in the lounge at my Mum’s house. Her first question was ‘Is she wearing clothes?’
You see, being a lingerie blogger means that I’ve become none for being in various states of undress. Jokes such as ‘I almost didn’t recognise you with your clothes on!’ have become kind of common place amongst some of my dearest friends and family. I suppose, in a way, seeing pictures of me prancing about in my pants (almost daily) has given people an image of a confident, bouncy, twenty-something who feels both empowered and an at one with herself.
For the large part, this is true; I have always said, and maintain my belief, that there is far more to life than a number, whether that be my weight, my clothing size, my age, or my salary. We all put far too much value on these things and we shouldn’t let them dictate our lives.
That said, I am human and I have down days. Currently, I feel like I’m in a down year. I’ve not really felt well for a while now; a mixture of personal and work stress coupled with a string of viruses and living with a neurological condition has taken it’s toll and so my confidence in myself and my body has fallen.
I have also gained a lot of weight and lost a lot of my physical ability. In the near 18 months since losing a child and having a neurological procedure cause me long-lasting problems with my left side I’ve struggled with both my mental and physical health. Working full time and travelling a lot with works means eating out a lot and being exhausted and over emotional often results in emotional eating. I’ve also been unable to exercise and I’ve lost a lot of the stamina, flexibility and physical prowess that I’d grown to pride myself on. Rationally, I know this shouldn’t matter – I am here, I am getting better, and I am strong. Irrationally, I feel like I’ve lost a lot and at times, I scarcely recognise the girl in the mirror.
Recently, I was trolled on Instagram. A sad and lonely person felt the need to tell me that I’m not beautiful, I’m fat. It didn’t actually bother me – I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. I see beauty as being something within (to use a cliche). Beauty to me is passion, intrigue, kindness, loyalty, understanding, an inquisitive mindset … it is a smile, a laugh, a raised eyebrow. Beauty is character – not looks.
What does distress me though, is comparison to others. Online, I exist in a world of plus size bloggers and models, body positivity and body confidence. For the large part, this is a supportive, creative, and fostering empowering community.
That said, it is often that community that distresses me and makes me question my own worth and my own body. The front girls of this movement are toned, curvy, cellulite and roll free women … yes, they are larger than your average size 4 model, but they do not represent a plus size market. In fact, many of them tell us that plus size is a dirty word that shouldn’t be embraced. How can us fats, even us smaller fats, really be expected to glide high and not doubt ourselves when even the women who are meant to represent us, tell us that our bodies are not worthy – that a word we have claimed as our own, is dirty?
And where am I going with this?
I’m not really sure, I just feel it is important to be honest about my feelings – to show that, despite the glamourised images you see here, I am human. I have doubts and issues, I will strip off and show all my lumps and bumps but, sometimes, I feel like shrinking into the corner, preferably behind a curtain or blanket where I can’t be seen.
We all get down sometimes and being different is hard. We are preconditioned to pull holes in the fabric of our being – to criticise ourselves for not being the person we follow on social media, for not being perfect, for not being thin, or curvy, or for not having cheek bones. And that’s okay – we are only human.
I think what is really important is to remember that we are strong and that we are beautiful and it is our imperfections that make us this way.