Body Image

Look closely. Deep inside. Can you see yourself? Really see yourself?

Look a little closer. At your physical being. It’s a strange casing, made up of fibres, muscle, water, skin. So why do I feel so uncomfortable looking at it? Why does the mirror torment me?

These questions have always plagued my mind. Growing up I was an active, sporty, very bossy creative little girl. I can’t actually pin point when that changed but one day something inside of me disintegrated. I hid. Took my inner pain out on my body, abused it. Disrespected myself, ran away. All these painful feelings of self hate surfaced and I was angry. Angry that I had to be given a sensitive nature, one that doesn’t understand why people can be cruel for their own gain, I was cross that I had huge teeth, lips, a bony chest, narrow hips. Not womanly. I hid my chest under baggy clothes, ate to try and “grow” boobs. Stopped exercising, started smoking.

I woke up one day 4 stone overweight, covered in hives, out of breath. Alone. I remember looking at this monster I had created. Scarred, tired. Empty. I remember crying looking at my reflection and thinking who are you?

I remember thinking I can’t carry on this way. My body is being forced to live in such an unhealthy way and it’s making me ill.

The sad truth is I have always battled with my insecurities about my looks. I never liked what I saw. I compared myself to other women and asked why don’t I have that? Why don’t I have longer legs, a larger chest? Then the real question came, why am I so bothered?

It’s taken me over 5 years to accept that I have an illness. I am still not out of the woods but my self acceptance is growing. I now know that my weight fluctuations throughout my teenage and adult life are a direct reflection on my mental health.

These things are IMPORTANT to discuss. More and more young women and men find themselves comparing to others. More and more they change themselves. Sadly because the internet has made it more accessible for other people to be DISGUSTING.

You find images stating ridiculous tag lines “Real men, like women with curves” “Only dogs like bones” “Thigh gaps aren’t natural” – I honestly could go on… We are all DIFFERENT. Thank the lord for that.

It’s never acceptable to abuse others about their appearance just to make your own sad soul feel better. You have NO IDEA what someone maybe going through. I now fully accept my body. I am happiest eating well and exercising.

However – it’s come at a price. It’s going to be something that never leaves me. An emotional attachment to the one thing you cannot quit. Food. You eat, you cry. You stop. You purge. You cry more. You starve. Nothing is filling this empty feeling. Not even this delicious cake. Not even hunger strike.

The sad truth is so many women and men have struggled with body image issues, eating disorders and the like. SO many people are so quick to assume that because I am of a small frame I must not eat. I eat extremely well. I balance myself. But it has taken YEARS of abusing food and not eating and over eating to reach a point where I can understand that my relationship with my body wasn’t right.

So it will take time. I chose to work within an industry that can help people feel incredible about themselves and celebrate INDIVIDUALTIY. I honestly believe that no matter what you look like, what size you are, colour, gender, religion if you are genuine and you are honestly someone who cares about humans YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

Having suffered at the hands of severe depression and contemplated all kinds of ways to make the pain go away I have reached a conclusion that I can only talk more about these difficult subjects and hope that I could help even just one person to feel better in their flesh. I would never want anyone to feel the way I have in the past. It’s tortured me and it’s something I have to deal with forever. Suffered at the hands of other people’s insecurities – worn too much fake tan, worn too much make up. Been afraid to have skinny legs and a little belly. Being told my collar bone is disgusting because it sticks out. These words are damaging. I felt bad for liking my bones, felt bad for having an athletic frame. Why should I? It’s the way I was made. I can’t help it. So I forced my body into an unnatural state and I did this for nearly 10 years.

With support from family and friends I have managed to balance myself a little. The saddest thing for me is living with the reality that I have also had to make them suffer in the process. No one wants to see someone they love disintegrate. Change who they are because they worry about other people’s opinions. We are all individual – but humans grow with a mutual understanding of this and by encouraging each others strengths; instead of picking out something you dislike in yourself. Then to reflect it on them to make yourself feel better.Just try to start being more understanding. Realise that not everyone is the same.

I’ve got to say I now have a pretty thick skin. I no longer give too hoots about what people think of me. I like running, I like my bones and I like my body. Now.

It’s not something I write easily – I am not one to blow my own trumpet. Nor am I someone who thinks I look beautiful when I look in the mirror. I avoid looking at my reflection when I am low because all those negative thoughts come flooding back and I pick myself apart until I no longer like myself. That is sad. So I have chosen to start campaigning for a better quality of understanding that mental health and body image go hand in hand.

I also think it’s incredibly sad that now people value themselves purely on their looks. YOU ARE NOT YOUR REFLECTION . Your soul is who you are, no amount of make up would cover a dark heart.

We shouldn’t have to justify what we eat, drink do just to make others feel better. I may be “boring” cause I don’t like fast food or fizzy drinks. I refuse to buy into anything that will in the long term be detrimental to my health. So I make food, I drink plenty of water and I exercise. That for me is a little piece of therapy. So is writing. If you ever feel like you aren’t perfect or you aren’t worth what society tells you, or that you haven’t got the latest “thing” take that cruel thought and shout it out. Away from yourself. There will always be someone who doesn’t like you. But you can like yourself and with love, understanding and compassion it will come.


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