I just love four year old me’s confidence in this picture.
Teddy under my arm, handbag on my shoulder, orange in my cup and I’m ready to hit the pool. No body hang ups, no being self conscious about who’s going to look at my wobbly bits or think I’m fat. I’m just happy in my own skin. And that’s how it should be no matter what age you are, but sadly it’s not.
Fast forward 30ish years and I’m finally getting to a place where I’m happy to wear my togs again without fear, but it’s been a long struggle.
I’ve lived most of my life on and off diets, never happy with my body. Not even when I was a size 10. At one point I was completely ruled by clothes labels and if I had to ‘go up a size’ it would crush me inside and I would be incredibly hard on myself, scrutinising everything I ate, despite the fact that sizes vary incredibly from store to store.
In fact, there were periods in my life when I survived all day on coffee and cigarettes and just 1 meal.
Honestly at times it’s felt like I’ve been at war with my own body... and the idea of me wearing a swimsuit or bikini was a rarity and only ever done with a massive dose of uncomfortable, awkward, self consciousness.
It’s taken many years and strangely two babies for me to find a sort of peace with my body.
It’s more of an understanding than anything else. It’s an understanding that after growing and birthing two tiny humans my body is amazing... it’s an understanding that ALL bodies are amazing whether they bear children or not.
It’s an understanding that the ‘perfect’ body does not exist. All bodies have so called ‘imperfections’ - scars, wobbly bits, uneven skin and lines. They are the literal maps of our lives and a reminder that we really lived.
It’s an understanding that size on the label is merely an arbitrary number that says nothing about my body or how I feel about it.
And an understanding that those sizes are often plucked out of the air and are the opposite of uniform in every store.
It’s an understanding that bodies change throughout your life and that’s a very good thing.
It’s an understanding that every body is a beach body. That every body shape and size is valid and that no one is actually going to stop and think you’re too fat, or you’ve too much cellulite or you’re boobs are too small or too big or anything else because they are all too wrapped up in their own lives and too consumed with worrying about their own bodies to comment on yours.
It’s taken a long time, but I’m finally happy to wear my togs again.
Now, where’s my teddy and my cup of orange???