On Becoming Anna

Tag: fitness

A letter to my fourteen year old self 

So I’ve just moved into a new house to begin my postgraduate study and with my graduation just around the corner and 21st birthday last week I am suddenly feeling, understandably, incredibly nostalgic.
Whilst I have always been someone to get things ultimately wrong, someone who generally stumbles through life with little or basically no control, I do believe that I have learnt a lot throughout my teenage years and have got a lot of things, inevitably, right.

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New year, new body image

One of my many resolutions is to blog more this year, and in the spirit of the new ‘post-christmas, post-new year diet’, I have decided to write about body image. Of course, like every other girl in the entire world, an aim this year is something to do with losing weight, or tone my tummy, or make my bum look like whatever it should look like nowadays – should it be big or small? I just don’t know anymore! But I’m having some issues with it.

It has taken me 19 years to be able to look at my body and not completely hate what I see. I would love to be skinny and petite, with a size six waist and legs that don’t end where my knees should be; but I am finally at the stage in my life where I quite like my curves. I like how I look. It has also taken me this long to realise that I don’t actually hate myself in the way that society dictates I should – as females we are conditioned to feel like we should despise what we look like, if we are comfortable we are vain aren’t we? Yet at the same time, if I am self-conscious, or think I’m fat, or say that I’m fat, or that I’m going to start working out to lose weight or tone, people throw you the old – Why can’t you just be comfortable with how you look? Why don’t you just accept who you are and stop trying to look like everyone else?

Well what the bloody hell am I meant to do then?! What am I meant to look like? How am I meant to feel about how I look?

I am a girl who has always relished my carbs. I’ll eat crisps like I should eat grapes, I don’t always get my five a day. I squeeze into size eight jeans and I think my nose is chubby cute. I like the way I have a triangle of moles on my tummy and I pick icing off cakes and eat sugar cubes. I like that I’ve had boobs since I was seven, and that they aren’t by my knees yet. I like that I fight with myself about not eating a fifth yorkshire pudding on Christmas Day because I’ll get fat, and I like the way that I know I’m going to eat it anyway. And I like that when a boy grabs my arse, he’s got more than a handful to grab on to.

But I also am trying to be the perfect version of myself. I buy extortionately priced skin products so that I can embrace my natural face. I also invest in designer make up brands because a woman should look flawless. I try and eat primarily vegan during the week so that I can control my tummy bloating. I wear huge jumpers and jeans that don’t fit me, and will throw a dress the size of a bin bag over me if I’m having a ‘fat day’. I am hugely insecure about my body, my hair, my face, my clothes, the thought of stripping off naked sometimes scares me to the point where I toy with the idea of moving to the sea side and buying a thousand rabbits and spending my life alone writing weird poems and watching Desperate Housewives on repeat until my rabbits eat me.

And don’t lie girls, I know you’ve all thought about it too.

I think that the most common reaction to a girl wanting to look different, whether that be loosing weight or wearing makeup, is that she is trying to impress someone; and this is the major problem. I do not want to be skinny or perfect because I want to impress anyone, I control what I look like so that I can get to the stage where I can stand in front of a boy in my underwear and think, hell fucking yeah, this is my body and I look damn shit hot.

People tell us to be thin and curvy, and have an arse but have no arse, and wear makeup but be naturally stunning and to work out but actually not work out, and to eat clean but also eat whatever the hell you want because it’s only insecure girls that order a salad instead of a burger when on a date, and it’s not because it might make her feel better about herself but because she is attention seeking because she is already perfect. But if she wanted a burger she would have ordered a bloody burger.

I don’t want to be confused every time I look in the mirror because I don’t even know what a ‘real’ woman looks like any more. In my head, a real woman is whoever can look at herself and accept that her body is perfect because it is hers. I’m not ashamed of my insecurities, but I’m also not ashamed of what I like about myself. This year my aim is to be comfortable with my body and to be proud of my flaws, because every one of them is mine, and every bit of me is a real woman.