Body positivity is the acceptance and appreciation of all human body types. It has become a social movement which is rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image, plus be accepting of their own bodies as well as the bodies of others.
For some body positivity comes easier than others. I have to admit I have struggled most of my life with body image and harboured critical negative thoughts about it.
Over the past few years I have struggled with weight gain issues due to medication and illness. Everywhere I looked I saw people with slender figures and a level of confidence I envied.
This year has been a major turning point for me, I have utilised the help of a mind coach and hypnotherapy as well as other more mainstream NHS avenues. I am currently moving forwards with a physiotherapist who specialises in my conditions and who is hugely supportive and sympathetic to my issues.
I have signed myself up to working towards improving my pain and health with the physiotherapist in a hydrotherapy pool, along with 9 other patients. Something that fills my chest with dread ~ serious fear, not just a little anxiety.
First job, buy a swimsuit ~ blimey, how on earth can I find something I feel reasonably comfortable in? Can you buy a full body suit with body con suck you all in properties?
Finally, I found this swimsuit on Amazon, I scanned through all the reviews which were very high and praised the “flattering” lines of it ~ so I purchased it.
Now it looks very pretty on the website but what would it look like on me?
This morning I was chatting to my eldest daughter about my fear and, as she hadn’t seen my swimsuit, she asked me to put it on for her. I obliged.
I was amazed by her reaction, she could see my weight change ~ I’ve been very slowly, at a tortoise pace, releasing weight. She told me it was flattering and that I looked good, I found it hard to believe.
With my phone in her hand my first born took a succession of photos and then passed me my phone.
Isn’t it strange how your mind tells you that you are so much larger than you really are? I had trouble seeing the images because, yes, I am still a very sturdy girl, but not as large as I feel I really am. My mind and eyes tell me different things ~ some days I see myself the size of a small planet and others not quite that large.
I can see the loss of timber from a few months ago, yet also see a large woman in front of me ~ but one who has a sparkle in her eye (despite feeling horribly nauseous due to a virus or PEM and dizzy, very dizzy).
I am a larger lady, I have been through many battles in this body and it has carried me through despite floundering now and then. Sometimes we have to accept that changes are inevitable, medications carry side effects of weight gain which becomes a huge challenge to revert and change the trajectory.
On the other side of the coin there are people who have the same issues regarding being underweight, desperate to have curves and envy them in others.
Body shaming affects everyone of every shape and size. We worry about every aspect of our bodies. Are we big enough, small enough, tight enough, soft enough? Are my boobs too big, too small, lopsided? I wish I was shorter, taller. I wish I had dimples, freckles, bigger lips, smaller lips ~ our self criticisms are endless and fruitless.
We are what we are, it is best to learn to love who we are, when we are and how we are. To stop comparing ourselves to others. A confident person is a beautiful person ~ if you love yourself then others will love the you that you love. You can be anything, do anything and wear anything if you do it with confidence and self belief.
To that end I am uploading the photos below; I am nervous about it but if I hide behind my concerns I won’t be able to fully achieve body positivity. I must love myself as I am now, next week, month or year. We evolve, we change throughout our lives and we have our highs and lows, our wobbles.
I intend to practice what I preach, I am saying my positive affirmations and refuse to accept critical observations from others. I will not let their words hurt me.
So, here I am in my swimsuit..
I have wobbles and bobbles, wrinkles and crinkles, stretch marks and scars. I have boobs that have been suckled and nourished three babies, I have a stomach that carried my children safely until delivery. I have legs that walked with me, arms that carried for me, a brain that ~ well yes, we’d better stop it there!
I saw this video on youtube and it spoke to me, the message conveyed very simply ~ we have to learn to love ourselves just as we are to be happy. If you criticise yourself constantly to others then you are making them see you in that way. However, if you are confident and love yourself just as you are you enable your personality to shine through instead of your insecurities.
So I leave you with this..