I Love My Body

Controversial right?

I grew up with my beautiful mother always telling me beautiful I was. I was somewhat in awe of her- being only 23 when I was born, she was young and cool and I had no reason not to believe her.

I made it all the way to year 8 (age 12) before I stopped to consider that perhaps I was not as pretty as I had always known I was. I went to a boarding school, utterly different from anything I’d experienced and my two closest friends had started talking about their diet. I knew what a diet was, but I knew I didn’t need one- people were always telling me how thin I was. Those two girls once asked me what I didn’t like about my body and my reply (which once ashamed me and now I am so proud of my young self) was ‘Nothing. I like my body’.

That is not to say that I thought I was the most beautiful girl in the world, I just was happy with what I had. I definitely did have imperfections and insecurities. I spent a few years from the age of eight covering my knobbly knees when I wore skirts, and at the age of ten I grew two inches in two months and acquired a zebra striping of stretch marks on my bum and thighs. I knew I wasn’t perfect, but those imperfections didn’t make me dislike my body. To me, they were just there, parts of my body that were unchangeable and that I was happy to live with because that was the way I was.

My friends told me that this was really narcissistic and full of myself. They were pretty mean about it, telling me that of course there was at least something wrong with me and that I must think a lot of myself if I didn’t think I had any problems. Of course I did, but they were unimportant to me- I would rather worry about how to pass my flute exam, or understanding the book we were reading in class. So I stopped eating, and dieted and obsessed about the gym because I didn’t want to be narcissistic, and I didn’t want my friends to think I was a bad person. I pretended to be unhappy with my body until I eventually was. I lost all self confidence and stayed that way.

I am now 21. My weight has fluctuated over the last 3 years, at one point last year reaching 10 stone, somewhere I never thought I’d be. I truly began to hate my body. I hated that spare tire, the cellulite on my legs, the fat in my arms. I gained some new stretch marks on my muffin top, bright angry red ones that are visible over my jeans. I saw those and despaired. They looked horrible, how could I get rid of them? I spent so much money on Bio Oil that didn’t work and so much time frantically rubbing my skin to remove them, that also didn’t work. I was fat, stretch marked and unhappy.

So how did I get back here, loving myself, in a few short months? I love the freckle on my collar bone. I love the ringlets my hair forms. I love the shape of my boobs and the size of my toes. I think I have perfect lips and a nice nose. What I’m saying is, I began to focus on the things I love and accept my body the way it is, loving the good and the bad. Yes, I am losing weight and happy about it, but we don’t need to lose weight to love ourselves. I am allowing the good things to lift me up higher than my insecurities are dragging me down. I focus on the good things because they are good. I’m not going to pretend to be modest and unhappy about them in order to make other people happy. Women are allowed to love themselves and be happy in the skin they inhabit. Sure, we all have things that maybe we’d change or that aren’t our favourite parts, but we’re allowed to celebrate the good and love ourselves regardless of what anyone else thinks.

 

P.S I hope I didn’t come off a bit Samantha Brick here..

 

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I Feel Good

I feel really really good.
I’m going through a difficult time at the moment, a messed up love life and a scary money situation, and a job that doesn’t guarantee hours. But there are always great things in your life that you can think of which make life and all its trials bearable. Since this is a rare moment of feeling good regardless of all my problems, I’m going to list the great things that are going on in my life.

  1. I have finished my first year at university. I may not have had the best grades, I may not have done as well as I’d have liked and I may not have achieved everything I wanted to, but I have finished. I’ve completed it, and I’m so proud of myself to even be here.
  2. A couple of weeks ago, when I was vegging out I watched a documentary on Netflix called Fed Up. That film has changed my life. As soon as I finished watching it, I made sure to check the nutritional information of everything I eat to reduce my sugar intake, and so far have lost 3lbs. I’m really proud of myself.
  3.  I just did a good set of leg and ab exercises. Seeing that scale slowly ticking down after months of resolutely staying at 9st 10lbs has pushed me to keep going harder. The first set of leg exercises I did 15 of each exercise, and couldn’t walk for three days. I kept going and kept exercising and today, I was finally able to do the whole set of 9 leg exercises twice and include 60 sit ups. I’m getting there and it’s making me so happy!
  4. I now have the entire summer to do what I want. I can finish reading A Game of Thrones (finally!). I can finish knitting my Lett Lopi Jumper. I can start learning a new language or coding. I can keep going with my goodreads challenge and book clubs. I can visit my grandparents and other friends. I have so much time to do whatever I want without feeling guilty and I’m so excited!

I’m really looking forward to this summer and I can’t wait to get started. Seeing the results of the hard work I’ve been putting in to my fitness has really really made me feel so good. I’m going to update more regularly here now, maybe with some more ‘current stuff’ if I get round to it!

 

So yeah, I’m happy 🙂

Walking 

Recently I’ve taken up walking. I’ve started walking into the city at least once a week, and just generally making more of an effort to move around. The walk into the city is long (about 45 minutes walking quickly), and mostly uphill, so I feel good after finishing it. It’s like an accomplishment and it’s an activity I really enjoy. I like that it gives me almost an hour of time outside to think while I walk or listen to a podcast (I’m listening to Hello Internet at the moment). 

Today my seminar was cancelled- no three hours of boredom to deal with. Since I was already dressed, I took a walk around the lake to get some air and try my new phone’s camera. I wasn’t too impressed- they don’t look sharp enough- but it was windy, so all I did was literally point and shoot. I didn’t mess with any settings, I just pressed the button, so maybe once I try and focus or change things up they might be better.







Regardless of how they turned out, it was still beautiful and so refreshing to have the wind in my face and see some nature.

Saturday

So yesterday I did a lot of exercise. I only wrote about ballet, but I also went for an hour long walk/run, and came home to half an hour of pilates.

The run was really fun. I love being in the woods and looking at raw nature, so running doesn’t bother me much. I love the quiet and the way the sounds and trees press in on you. I ran around the broad until I found a wooden path that ran back away from the ziggurats. It went on for a long while, with broken trees and smaller parts of the lake surrounding it. I reached a bridge and decided to go right, along a muddy path. At this point I had to stop running- it was too muddy and I slipped a couple of times. As I made my way around the winding water, there were two swans gliding up in the same direction as me. I followed them for about 15 minutes as they swam together. I reached a point where the ground was hard again and I ran ahead of them. I passed a male and female mallard duck dipping their heads in the water, their tail feathers upright. I ran past bridges and a dam until I reached a small opening up a hill which led to a road. As I emerged, there was a sign. I’d run to Cringleford! (It’s only 2 miles away, but I was still proud for my first run in months!) I followed the road (I was completely lost- my phone doesn’t work so I had no directions) and fortunately, the road I chose to take (out of 4 directions) took me straight back to the university. I could tell I was close because there were rabbits everywhere!

I’m really sad I couldn’t take any photographs- it was a beautiful run. My phone just isn’t up to it any more.

Now, my calves are killing me. I think that’s a result of ballet, which is good, because it means I was working hard!

Ballet!

Today I had my first ballet class in 8 years.

I stopped doing ballet when I was 12, because I needed a better education and couldn’t continue at boarding school. It was one of those things I always regretted not being able to do. I loved ballet shoes and the smell of those wooden floors and barre work and how beautiful those lines made me look. I was devastated when I realised I would probably never do it again.

Here at UEA there are ballet classes every Saturday. To join, it’s just £20 per year and then you can go to the sessions every week during term time. So I had a taster today and really enjoyed it.

I was expecting to pick up back where I left off- I had thought it would be easy.

I was so lost through half of it. Some of the exercises were different to how I remembered them, my body wasn’t working how I remembered it should and there were loads of people in the class which made me a bit embarrassed. I think back to my twelve year old body and I’m jealous- I didn’t realise how fit and strong I was.

Even though my arms were waving about all over the place and my feet weren’t always in the right position (although perfectly turned out, I could never forget that), I loved doing those old practices that I enjoyed as a child. I’m really really sore, my legs kept cramping when I tried to do the battement fondou, but it was so enjoyable. I really felt like I was working!

Also, the teacher was nice, which isn’t how I remember Miss Pam.

So I’m definitely going again in a couple of weeks! I might even buy some ballet shoes.

Resolution

I’m not making these because it’s a new year, I’m making these because I’d like there to be some positive changes in my life- and it just happens to be a New Year. So, here are my Resolutions.

1. Continue with a book per month. I managed one book between September and December, and I’d like to try to stick to it. This month I’m reading A Game Of Thrones. I’m halfway through (which is slightly cheating, but then it’s a really big book) and I love it.

2. Run. I make resolutions to run all the time, but I think I underestimate how lazy I am every time. So I am going to set the resolution that I run once every week. Just once, even for 15 minutes. I want to be fit, and it has to start somewhere.

3. Keep up with work. I put things off and put things off and never get anything done and it’s a last minute panic. Every single deadline is met with minutes to spare and I hate it. So this is also an anti-procrastination resolution as well.

These are things I’m going to work on all year. Even if I trip over and forget them for a while, it doesn’t need to be a new year to start again.