I don’t want to hate myself for what I look like anymore. So I’m not going to.

It’s so hard for women AND men in this day and age to stay true to who they are and not get sucked into feeling like they are not good enough. I feel super shit whenever I see those amazingly gorgeous celebrities and models mainly because their skin is perfection and they are, in my eyes, the perfect size, shape and weight. I feel so envious of them and then I look at my own body and I’m like: “urghhhhhh why don’t you look like those girls?!” The logical side of my brain knows that these pictures of these various men and women (although gorgeous) have been photo shopped within an inch of their lives and when they see these newly edited pictures they too probably have this weird love hate relationship that forms with the real them and the picture of themselves. So really they are in the same boat as me or perhaps a somewhat worsened….boat.

I don’t think this problem is going away any time soon but the good news is that more and more people are coming forward and saying: “this isn’t reality, real every day people in every day life do NOT look like this and showing these augmented pictures is not conducive to a healthy relationship with your body” but is it enough? I’m not sure.

It’s great people like Jameela Jamil and other celebrities are coming forward with body positivity but being a certain weight, size, shape (dare I say, colour?) is so deeply ingrained in our society I don’t know whether it will ever stop becoming a measure of worth.

I know that I battle with my weight and size every day more so now because I am unable to be as active as I was due to countless and continuous surgeries over the last 2 & 1/2 years. I used to look in the mirror and pull at various bits of fat on my body as if to try and rip it off off myself. I had a particularly negative relationship with my body.

That has shifted somewhat as of late. I’m not saying I’m 100% body positive and love myself all the time but I have come to realise what the actual issue is. It’s not what my body looks like; it’s what I THINK my body ought to look like. It’s the expectation I put on myself and my body. For years, whilst I was growing up I was told to not get fat and not put on weight in fears of becoming undesirable to the opposite sex and that fear has comfortable made its way into my adult life.

Maybe because I feel on same level still, even after a lot of therapy and self reflection, that I am not worth as much if I am slightly bigger. It’s frustrating because when I am by myself I feel like I am enough – enough for myself – but when I start to think about the opposite sex I start to question that thought.

Perhaps that’s because the men I’ve loved have always had something to say about my physicality and how the way I look was always and the only best thing about me. I don’t need to say that hearing those opinions from someone you love can really “fork” you up. I honestly thought I was past this; caring if people find me attractive whatever my size but clearly there’s still a charge there. I want to explore that and try and diminish that charge in a healthy way.

So how do I do that?

First and foremost is becoming educated! Understanding my thoughts behind this body obsession. I’ve been reading a book surrounding weight and it has helped. The book is called “Fat is a feminist issue” by Susie Orbach and although she doesn’t speak on the cultural and racial issues surrounding body issues; there are some pertinent quotes in that book which have really helped me to understand where the issue of “fat” stems from for women. By looking at this issue objectively and from the eyes of another woman it’s helped me to step out of myself and realise that this is a global issue not just a personal one.

Another thing I want to do is to NOT filter my pictures on Instagram or Facebook. This is something I have yet to do because 1) I’m fucking terrified and 2) I don’t want people (ex boyfriends and other romantic interests) to see the real me in case I’m not accepted. But then I thought about it and I thought by not filtering myself (in any and all senses) I am being the real me and hopefully that will allow me to accept myself fully as I am – which is the TRUE dream! Allowing for my authenticity to shine through allows me to attract the right vibes into my life and consequently the right people and the people who don’t accept me in my true state can fork off.

And lastly; I want to extend the boundaries of being kind to myself! A few months ago (possibly more) it was like I flicked a switch in my mind and I just decided to give myself a break. I didn’t extend that break into what I looked like or what I thought I ought to look like. I really want to do that starting now. I want to let my body do what it needs to which is to heal and rest and not constantly berate myself for not making it to the gym. I want to give myself a break and help myself to realise that I am enough as I am and to love myself NOW not when I lose another 5kg or when I fit into my size 8 jeans.

I just want to stop being angry with myself. I want to stop hating my body for not performing the way it should and for not looking the way it should.

I want to love myself and my body the way it is right now, a recuperating, still damaged but getting there, work in progress.

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