Last Friday I was lucky enough to enjoy a spa day with my friends and sister, we had the best day. Ever!
As we chilled in one of Blythswood Square’s amazing thermal rooms I took note at how relaxed and comfortable we all were. We were as close to au naturale as we possibly could be in public, we had de-fuzzed, polished nails and wore bikinis other than that we were hiding nothing. We talked about and pointed out the things we usually liked to hide, cellulite, stretch marks, arms, tummies and thighs but we didn’t worry about any of it. It felt amazing and my two friends and sister looked as beautiful as I’d ever seen them.
I painfully, remember a time when I would have starved myself for weeks/months before wearing a bikini and here I was in a 5star hotel with no make-up on with my cellulite and wobbly bits out in all their glory.
We live in a society obsessed with looks and comparison, blame is most often pinned on the media for photoshopping unrealistic expectations or the fashion industry for using size specific models. However the first time I ever felt self-conscious about my body or how I looked was long before I’d even flicked through a glossy magazine or scrolled #bikini on Instagram.
I was 4 when another kid in nursery class refused to hold my hand, I had really bad eczema as a child and the skin on my hands was more than often dry, broken and bleeding. I know my nursery chum wasn’t being nasty it was her natural reaction to something that didn’t look like it ‘should’ and I’m sure the outcome would be the same with role reversal but what her reaction did do was make me think I looked different. I noticed that the other kids had soft, smooth skin, I thought they were all beautiful. I was angry that I didn’t have what they had, I remember praying for good skin and pretty hands (and feeling guilty that I wasn’t praying for starving children, like my sister was).
By the time I was 10 my eczema was gone (I like to believe my prayers were answered) but my self loathing continued through the years, too short, too thin, too fat, too flat chested, my nose was too small … I was ‘too’ everything. I hated everything about how I looked from my height to my teeth. Add low self esteem with high school(survival of the prettiest boot camp) and you end up in a dark place. I could write a whole book about how I let body image take over some aspects of my life.
*Cue my favourite TLC song – Unpretty*
I’m not sure if there was a specific moment of realisation but I guess my Dad had something to do with it. The whole time I was hating my body for not looking right, abusing my body with binge eating and starvation, his body was deteriorating through no fault of his own. He has MS. He used to be strong and fit. He is wheelchair bound. He is almost always in pain. His motor skills are slipping away and I have NEVER heard him complain. Ever. So how we looked or rather how we think we look is kinda trivial when you look at the bigger picture.
Running has taught me so much about mind over matter and body image is no different. There are people who can’t bear to look at their own reflection (I was one of them) I want those people to know that self hate has nothing to do with how you look and everything about how you feel and how you think. If you think positively about about yourself, you will then feel good about yourself and with that happiness comes true beauty.
Today, I have whole new respect for my body. A body that amazes me every time I push myself further during a workout or go for a run. My body, your body and every body is amazing, unique and beautiful and deserves to be appreciated and celebrated.
Of course I do still have insecurities and wobbly bits I’d like to work on (damn you love handles) but I will never let it become a priority or restrict me in any way.
Spread the LOVE for your body, leave a comment saying everything even if you can think of just one thing that you LIKE or LOVE about your body.
Thanks for reading ❤ Have a great day!