Body confidence is something I’ve struggled with on and off throughout my life, in both my childhood and teenage years. It’s something a lot of people struggle with, both men and women, and it’s not something to be ashamed of at all. Everyone has those little things that they don’t like about themselves, and that’s okay, it’s completely natural. I don’t really know where I’m going with this post, I just want to sit here and write. It’s something that I’ve wanted to write about for a while, and I hope my story and my thoughts/feelings surrounding the topic are interesting to read or perhaps even helpful if you can relate to anything I discuss.
When I was about the age of nine, I put on weight. It sounds strange, but this wasn’t to do with eating an unhealthy diet or anything, suddenly I just started to appear bigger. It was just really the ‘puppy fat’ stage that some children go through. Plus, I am very short now at only 5ft, thus was an even shorter child at probably just above 4ft, which therefore made me look even more dumpy. It was something that I was a little aware of at the time, but being a child this wasn’t really my biggest worry. I didn’t really get bullied, however I remember a time in year seven when I kind of fancied a boy in my class and then was told that he didn’t fancy me back (middle school romance struggles). As the news spread to my classmates, I overheard one of his friends call me ‘fat’. Year seven was the time when I started to become self-conscious about the way I looked, so that comment hurt me a lot. I used to stand in the mirror and ask my Mum when my belly would ‘go away’.
At the end of year eight, so when I was nearly thirteen, the puppy fat seemed to fall off almost all at once. I had a growth spurt, and it was as if my height and weight had evened out – think of it as a squashed Coke can, shorter and wider, stretched up again to become taller (only a little) and thinner. No crazy healthy eating and exercise plan, just bam and it fell off, haha. My Mum said it was hard at the time to notice that I did look different in terms of my weight, however when we look back on old photos, we realise how much of a difference in my weight there really was. So many people noticed – my school friends, family and my dance friends. I would get compliments about how good I looked and as a newly turned teenager this made me feel so good about myself.
My weight has been a bit up and down ever since. Nothing as physically noticeable as the puppy fat stage. It was more of a case of looking back on old photos and noticing that I looked slightly different, and the whole fitting into clothes one year, not fitting into them the next and then fitting into them again the year after kinda thing. My slight weight changes do revolve around eating habits and my anxiety. There have been times in my life when I have been really ill, most recently last year, where my anxiety was so bad that I didn’t eat properly and I threw up at almost every social event I went to. It was truly awful. However, it was at this time when I felt like I was happy with my body, which is quite sad when you think about it really. At one point, I did get a bit too thin, and it wasn’t healthy, especially when I look back on certain photos. Now I’m so much happier, I’ve controlled the sickness and I just generally feel so much better in myself. I can’t thank Aaron enough for how much he supports me, and he makes me realise that I can do what I want to do and that my anxiety doesn’t define me.
Since I’ve been a lot better, I’ve been eating properly, and occasionally eating maybe a bit too much crap here and there. So, I have put on a little bit of weight. I notice it most around my tummy because I don’t have much going on in the boob area so I find my tummy is the main focus of my body. I’ve always felt a little self-conscious about my boobs, but I’m learning to accept and be proud of my small boobs and feel womanly and comfortable in my own skin. At the end of the day, I’ve got a boyfriend who loves them and the rest of my body, which makes me love myself for who I am too. I’ve also learnt on my own that even with putting on a bit of weight, that it’s just life, and it’s going to happen sometimes. I’m not going to stay as little as I once was, but what I tell myself is that I was so so unwell when I looked like that. I can’t have everything, and I know I’d much rather put on a few pounds than be in the bad place that I was just last year. I try to wear things that I feel comfortable in and that make me feel sexy and womanly. Curves and lumps and bumps are natural and we all come in different shapes and sizes.
I’m slowly learning to love myself for who I am and it feels kinda great. I am determined to tone up a bit, but right now I’m pretty happy because my anxiety isn’t giving me too much grief. Occasionally yes, I do look back on old photos and wish that I was as toned as I once was, but then I realise that it’s just silly, because there was a reason, and not a good one, as to why I was that thin. A happier and healthier state of mind is so much more important than a slight change in the appearance of my body. I’ve grown as a person so much in the past year and I’m doing things that I never would have done before, one step at a time. My anxiety is a part of who I am, and no matter how annoying and upsetting it can be at times, I’m getting there and I’m accepting and loving myself for who I am. And same goes with my body. It gets me down sometimes, but it’s mine, and learning to love it is something I am working on for sure.
I hope this was interesting to read, despite it being a bit rambly and long, so if you’re still with me then I really appreciate it. Let me know what you think and if you like, feel free to share something about your journey through body confidence and learning to love yourself.