Honestly, I’m in a weird place right now.
Working more hours has really taken a toll on me, and I’ve become quite unorganised in all aspects of my life. My mental health is rocky at the moment. And thanks to bad eating habits I’ve gained a load of weight I’m uncomfortable with. Adding to that, I’ve been awful at blogging which is straining my relationship with brands I work with. So I’ve decided to put aside some time so that once a month I can sit down and talk some real life problems with you, like mental health and body positivity.
Welcome to Sit Crooked and Talk Straight — a new segment of the blog where I chat some shit and talk about slightly heavier subjects than just fashion. Today, since I’m having weight-related-troubles, I’m taking a moment to remember life before I loved my body.
My body is fat.
It’s always been fat, as far as I can remember. Maybe not fat fat, but I can’t say I’ve ever been a ‘normal’ size. Baby fat turned into chubby cheeks. Chubby cheeks turned into chunky thighs. And chunky thighs ended up as a “Body Mass Issue” category on my medical record.
I have lived in this body for 27 and a half years. It is fat, as it has been for a long time. And I love it.
But in those 27 and a half years, I haven’t always loved it.
There has been tears, pain, and shame. The severe depression that makes me want to hide my fat body to this day. The cuts across my skin from my anger at my fatness. The embarrassment of sores when my thighs rub. The fear of smelling bad. The wandering of my worth. The disordered eating, intermittently starving or bingeing. The drugs, the booze. The fact that I never took my fucking clothes off in front of another person until I was nearly in my 20s.
There has been the insanity that I believed that – as a fat woman – I would never feel the joy of being loved.
I wish I could say that there’s some special, sudden way of waking up and loving your body for all it is. And I wish that it was as simple as wearing some nice knickers, or posting up a great inspirational quote on Instagram and hoping for the best.
Like Rome, loving yourself isn’t built in a day.
In fact, it took me so many years to start loving myself for the body that I have — that I can’t pinpoint when I actually started. The likelihood is it’s around the same time I went to university, got into a serious relationship and then promptly lost everything I worked for in a single day. Depression, which I’ve talked about before, took over, and somehow in the end I gave up on that idea and wanted to be in love with me.
You see, my body has lumps and bumps and stretch marks galore. It has scars all over from happier memories such as falling down drunk with friends, and less happy such as being a self-harmer for many years. My bum is spotty, my boobs are small and I think I keep breaking my toe because it always hurts. I have adult acne, doctors can’t tell me why I’m still so tired or growing a beard, and I haven’t shaved my legs in god knows how long.
And I work on a daily basis to say that with love. Because these are all parts of my body, and I have to learn to love it for everything it is. Not despite of these things, and not because of them. They just are what they are, and I love them.
So how did your body positivity happen?
I took my clothes off for sex for the first time when I was 19. As much as I hate to say that my first real foray into loving myself was linked to a man, I can’t deny that being fat and being adored didn’t have a part in it.
After that, I learned to be naked. Now, being naked has been paramount to loving my body. Seeing myself in a mirror without shape wear, without hiding my stomach under high waisted skirts — it forces you to see you for you.
Honestly, if you’re reading this now, take two minutes to get naked and look at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself that you love that image, and if you don’t believe it now — repeat once daily until you do. That’s the biggest part of my journey, really. Taking something I hated — being naked — and turning it into something positive.
It’s not the only step, of course. And it’s not going to work for every single person in the world, either. But I personally think it’s the most important step. Loving yourself out of clothing gives you a better idea of how your body sits in clothing — of which some people use as a way of building confidence. Nudity is related to sex and relationships, and strong relationships that are supportive and loving will always give you a strong foundation. All of these things are stepping stones to the point where you love yourself unconditionally.
The most important part? Remember that it takes time, you don’t need rush your body positivity journey.
Find your own way — and work a little every day to change your mindset on your body. Nothing external can happen until the internal is sorted — as RuPaul says “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love someone else” (FYI, I hate Ru but that’s a great line). It works the same for changing habits.
Now go get naked in the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you are for everything you are right now!