When I look at you I see an edge I don’t have. Metaphorically, and literally. My edges aren’t as defined as yours, and concave changed to convex on me many years ago.
You are everyone else and nobody else and you are the ‘me’ that lived and breathed many years ago…
If I find an old photo of me I feel sick. How could I have let my body go like this? How could I have been so gluttonous or lazy or careless?
I am in my 40s. My thighs rub together. My belly bloats out and wobbles like jelly and my sides spill over the top of my jeans.
In my 30s I was great, a few slight curves, but really, I was just right back then. Not too fat, not too thin.
In my 20s I was thin and athletic. Possibly too thin, in a way. I mean, it wouldn’t look right on me today, but then, for my age, it was great.
In my 40s I am obsessed with my body. I’ve tried Slimming World and hypnosis and Slim Fast.
In my 30s I was obsessed with my body. I was starting to get curves where they never used to be. Was this the start of the slippery slope to fat? I tried Slim Fast and exercise and ran A LOT.
In my 20s I was obsessed with my body. I worked out all the time, used fake tan to feel slimmer, smoked cigarettes and drank black coffee and even tried a colonic. I took drugs on weekends and danced and sweated all night, and some lunch times, to make up for any excess, I tried to mix those powdery Slim Fast shakes instead of having a pub meal…
I’ve never been happy with my body even though it’s been a myriad of shapes and sizes over the years. In fact, I’ve been a real bitch to my body. I’ve put it down, I’ve tried to shrink it and change it and shame it and hate it.
But when I look at pictures of body positive campaigners, embracing their curves and their womanliness and beautiful shapes. I look and I think – but I’m not like them. My confidence isn’t as high. My smile isn’t as bright. My personality isn’t as sparkly. My humour isn’t as sharp. My hair isn’t as thick. My presence isn’t as strong. My success isn’t as great. My style isn’t as edgy.
They look fabulous. But I’m not the same. I never could.
And then it clicks. I shouldn’t be giving my body a hard time. Because if I lost three stone I’d still not be good enough. Why on earth should a size 8 twenty-something ever need a Slim Fast shake or a colonic? If I fake tanned my skin I’d still not appear consistent enough. If I brightened my smile I’d still not be pretty enough. It’s never, ever, going to be good enough. And my personality is never going to be striking enough. And my words are never going to be funny enough. And my confidence is never going to be high enough.
For my standards.
For the media’s standards.
For society’s standards.
There’s only one way to deal with the misery of not being good enough. And that’s to change those standards. And forgive myself for being me.
But that’s going to take some serious confidence unless the editors and fashion designers and programme makers and casting directors and influencers and misogynists and photographers and window dressers and model agencies see the beauty that exists in reality.
It’s the media that’s ugly. Not me.
I just wish I could truly believe that.