I want to start this post by asking you one question that I want you to answer in a split second – Do you love your body?
What is the first impulsive answer that comes on top of your mind? Yes? No?
So, how about we talk about body image a little more.
I have a confession to make – I used to hate my body for years. Now don’t jump at me with judgmental remarks, but rather try to think of your own body and your present relationship with it. No matter your answer, I can tell you for sure that nobody in this world is ever fully satisfied with how they look.
To begin with, I was this normal kid who never felt anyhow particular about her body. I was not extremely thin, but I wasn’t chunky either. During my teenage years, I had a little belly, then I exercised and it all went away. I then started growing and so did my breasts. I developed a little complex about how I looked, stating that my chest looked too exaggerated. Boys started paying attention to me and I would always feel self conscious or ashamed of what Mother-Nature gave me. So, I began hiding my body under boy T-shirts and baggy pants. When I developed scoliosis and had to undergo months of physical treatment, I wanted to hide even more under even baggier clothes. It always seemed like a vicious circle of nowhere-to-hide.
Thinking back to those years, I don’t even know Why, in the first place, I felt ashamed of my own body! Because I was growing? Because my body was changing to a new form that I was not used to? Because we were taught to never show more than we were supposed to? Whatever the reason, I remember the feeling of some shameful state and timidity.
Couple of years forward, I started dating this guy with whom I eventually moved in together. We had a good relationship and all seemed fine, until I realized that I was losing weight, as if out of nowhere. And at that point in life I was weighing only 45 kg! Consequently, I realized that I was constantly being told phrases like “Don’t eat these types of foods, they’re bad/tasteless/don’t look presentable”, “Oh, you don’t look good in this dress”, “No, don’t buy yourself these clothes”, “To fit in this type of clothes you have to look X and Y”, “I don’t like this, I don’t like that”. I was emotionally consumed by all sorts of comments, so I subconsciously became picky with my food and looking at it as if it was just another thing in my life that I must be aware of at all times. I started losing weight so quickly, that from 45 kg I went down to 39 kg – and I was only 21 years old! 39 kg at 21!!! When my family saw me after several months since our last meet-up, they were all speechless – they couldn’t believe how I looked! My bones were showing through my skin, my skin was pale and I always had some irritations on my face. I developed skin allergies, my head seemed twice bigger than it actually was because of my shrinking body, you could literally count my ribs with your bare eyes. I was close to anorexia. Who would have thought, huh?
In a very short while after that I got out of the relationship and moved back to my home town. Life started picking up. But, in terms of body image, I started hating my dark body hair, from all over it. This time, though, I was paying a particularly hateful attention to my arm-hair. While I could shave the hair from the rest of my body, I was terrified at the idea of waxing the hair off my arms. Many months of battling with this idea, I finally bought myself a self-waxing kit. And, as with all beginners, shit just got too wrong in the process and I threw the whole kit out. I never finished that waxing session. Again, several months later, I tried Veet strips – the best gift of my life at that time! I worshiped this product and I finally started loving the way I looked. Sounds familiar, anyone?
Well, in the meantime I got married to my high school sweetheart after a separation of almost 6 years, and he always made me feel like I was the queen of the world for him. I, as always, still battling with past insecurities, gave him a hard time about it and would still remain somewhat reluctant to start the self-loving process.
Years went by and I got back to my forever-weight of 45 kg (my weight since 7th grade = 19 years of exactly the same kg!). In between, I got a child, got a little flab and saggy skin. Lost collagen and acquired some wrinkles under my eyes. I also have cellulite on my thighs and 2 tattoos on my body. And I got the tattoos long before they became a trend in my country of origin, while being perceived as a rebel and a wild person. Well, you could say I’m a rebel in a way, because I went out of the country 2 years in a row, to the same tattoo parlor to have both of works done 😊. I also have big visible scars on my body from 3 surgeries I underwent in the past, and I’m not even trying to hide them on the beach. The best part is that I love, I accept and I respect my body the way it is. And I learned it the hard way.
The entire idea behind this blog post was born several weeks ago, after having a conversation with my sister about bodies, and how she feels ashamed of hers after having had 2 kids. And she looks gorgeous! So, I set there thinking that we are all struggling with accepting our own bodies after we go through changes that time can’t revert. We look in the mirror disliking the image, then we put our clothes on and cover what we think should be covered. What about if we just look at ourselves and see what we really are – beautiful, perfect, and wonderful creatures. No matter what we think we are, it’s all only a perception we get about ourselves that doesn’t reflect our true nature and abilities that continuously transform our lives.
Don’t mind the looks and the words you hear around yourself of what an ideal body should look like, don’t listen to the mouths that disrespect, don’t take fashion as an example, but rather embrace your body, see how unique you are and love every inch of it! I know it may sound impossible, but self-love is a process we practice on the daily without realizing it. So why not do it consciously, admiring the beauty of you and flashing it proudly.
Those who know me might say “what does she understand about body image – she’s skinny and sexy” (note: not my personal words). I, for one, can state high that Size Doesn’t Matter! Insecurities exist everywhere, with everybody; the only difference represents the form that they appear in. So, at last, let’s stop hating, and start loving on what we have. Because we are the best we can be!