In the interest of being more open and transparent with myself, the anonymous online world, our blogging community and to our nosy family members, I’ve shared on a small scale about my body woes (How R1 Will Live 2019 With Intention), but I figured it was a topic I should explore deeper because on some level- the appearance of my body crosses my mind on a daily basis in some form or another. I would like to clarify that I have never and do not have an eating disorder or body dysmorphia, this post is merely me opening up about my mental battle with my body. If you do suffer from anything remotely like that- it’s definitely imperative that you seek help. I needed to say that, so grab a cuppa and read along!
If you’ve been supporting or following the body positive trends or hashtags, you’ll know and in some ways probably support the notion that ALL bodies matter and are of value. But what does that really mean for us everyday folk? What does it mean for me when I look in the mirror and I’m disappointed or frustrated with its reflection?
I fully accept that one of the perks of growing up pre-internet and social media was the fact that I didn’t have a whole host of random people I felt I needed to impress. The youth today (I sound so old) are growing up in a world where 14-year-olds are beauty bloggers and masters at knowing their angles and seeking their “light”. Whereas I spent my time chasing my brother, biking, attempting to play basketball and I suppose being a tomboy in certain aspects. Even when I eventually hit puberty, I never really cared much less obsessed over my appearance, I was still a nerd, I was far too busy living and being a child (how lucky). Looking back at old photos and just thinking about it, I suppose I never stopped to think about it because on some level I had the body type people “wanted”- I had it and never knew. FML.
That’s not to say that I never wished I had a smaller this or a bigger that– it’s just that physical appearance wasn’t a prominent thing in our household, maybe it’s because I was surrounded by brothers until my sister came along, I was 12. My mother never hid her body away from us, we used to have extensive conversations with her as she got dressed, so I knew what a real body looked like. I never witnessed my mother say anything negative about her body, she moisturized like her life depended on it, but never wore makeup. Even in one of our blog posts, RnR Interview: Mama Bear, where we ask her what she loves about herself, her reply was everything! So all in all, I suppose that’s a pretty healthy foundation.
My twenties were spent equally not giving my body much thought I was too busy partying- 🙄, and maybe on some level under appreciating my body (healthwise). Spending 5 years living in the UK (from 21-27 years old), in a small town, where I made up 1 out of 3 Black people, trust me when I say my skin colour made me wish that I wasn’t so obviously from the outside and that was before I even opened my mouth (Canadian accent and all). On some level, I should have revelled in the attention it gave me because it made me popular, but it also made me feel othered- like some sort of novelty. I was never mistreated and never felt unwelcome, but I was certainly met with questions I’m sure others were not.
Being asked questions like if I was the same colour all over my body, or them oversharing that they had never been with someone who was Black before…yea charming. It’s then that I began to wonder what my life would have been like if I looked different, specifically if I had a different skin colour. I should note that I have never used skin lightening products and never will because throughout thinking about having an alternative skin colour, I fully recognised that the issue was how I felt people perceived me and not with the reality of the beauty of the skin I am in. On top of that, I have never been one to make any changes in myself based on what other’s thought- it was merely a seed planted.
Fast forward a few years later after having my daughter and thus my body changing into its post-motherhood shape. I don’t know if it’s the feeling of literally housing another human, but I had never felt more out of place within my own body until after I gave birth, I’ve touched on this previously on an older post re: Motherhood, but it hit me hard. This is when I have had a more prominent internal dialogue with said body. I began looking down at the stretch marks on my stomach with disdain as if they were imposters. I began to grumble at the fact that I felt I didn’t have a waist. And my breast, my most favourite assest…after breastfeeding, I needed gravity-defying bras to keep them perky. I know, I know- I am not alone and I know that I have a completely normal body, uneven skin tone, stretch marks and all of the saggy boobs. Despite seeing, understanding and fully supporting the body positive movements, I can’t help but look at these proud, strong women and still feel a pang of guilt and jealousy because sometimes I prefer their bodies to mine. How do we change the internal dialogue- if there’s a pill, I’ll pop it!
What have you guys done to give yourselves a boost of self-confidence when it comes to your body? And are you still struggling to do so? Do you find certain times of the year make it worse?