‘Oh my god, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75 and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forget to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and and radical silliness and staring of into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen’.
This quote resonated with me more than any, ever. It hit me like a tonne of bricks. The words just so true to today and the standard that is set for ‘being you’. The most perfect you. You can, you really, really can be your best self without being camera ready all the fucking time. Guys, it’s going to be one of those posts. Go grab yourself a beer.
Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Scrolling used to be a whole heap of highlight reels. The pressures to stay gorgeous and more worryingly gorgeously slim. Thank fuck there has been a movement. I’m watching the social media stage from a far, opening up the floor to everybody and I have to say, it’s so refreshing! Pretty doesn’t mean perfect. This is such an important statement. A line that I believe gets lost in translation. Lost in layers of filters and facetune. Lost on social media, in magazines, editorials, and worst of all on reality tv. It takes guts, confidence and bravery to be comfortable in your own skin these days. On and off with how I feel about myself, it’s taken years, some maturity and some not giving a flip to feel fully (ish) settled in myself. A comfort level, so to speak. An acceptance of my look, my body, my wobbly bits, the parts that I don’t like so much and the parts that I love. Believe me, it’s never going to be a work of art. Spanners always get thrown into the mix here and there. For me, it’s been a combination of a new contraceptive pill and a few emotional bumps in the road. I’ll say it, out loud and proud. I’ve put on weight. And so what? Because honestly, I’m probably at the happiest I have been in a while. Accepting that no matter how many trips to the gym I try and squeeze in the working week, no matter how many slices of delicious café cake and glasses of wine I politely, and begrudgingly say ‘I’ll pass, thank you’ to, it doesn’t make me happy. Wobbly bits, tits and wine. I’m always going to be that girl. It’s not in my make-up to have a perfectly flat, toned stomach. Of course, I’m sure it can be achieved with lots of dedicated work but I’m so much more than my look, I’m about my life and I’ve learnt that happiness serves far more than any strict diet regime can offer me. Thinking of that quote up there and looking back on all the time I wasted worrying about these little things, a touch of weight gain here and there, in the grand scheme of things and life itself, it’s not worth the worry.
It was a little bit of a shock to the system when my favourite jeans would not, for love nor money, get over my butt. When my regularly worn blouses would not button up around my chest. I’ve always had a lovely little chest, in my mother’s words. Stayed clear of the ‘boobs over butt’ guys ’cause it would always end in disappointment, disappointment for them, that is. I don’t know where this pair have appeared from. I’ve never had to deal with a man staring at my breasts before, it’s a whole new experience for me. I even got catcalled last weekend by a rather tanked up young lad who decided to shout at me across the train station ‘those are the best looking sleeping bags I’ve seen all night’. Flattered? I actually wasn’t. At one point, I even started making jokes that there was a bun in the oven, popping a pregnancy test into my trolley along with the avocado’s and the usual weekly groceries. Disclaimer; there is not. It’s been difficult to know what to wear with my ‘new shape’ (multiple heatwave ice cream induced binges to blame) and I didn’t want to give up my favourite go-to top and skirt combination, especially in this freakishly scorching summer. Then I simply realised, just because I have put on a few extra pounds doesn’t mean I can’t wear whatever I want. I’m mindful that a discussion on size is a sensitive one. Talking dress sizes isn’t always a comfortable topic. But, having said that, shape is different for everybody and dress size x is different for dress size y. Just for clarity, when referring to my size, it’s just my thoughts on the subject that are relevant to me right now. Over the past six years, I guess, I have been a regular dress size 6-8. At the moment I’m on the larger size of a 10, at a push possibly a 12. I’ve always had my woes with being ‘slim’. Worrying that I’m shapeless, not womanly. So for me, admittedly, I’m feeling good about myself. In fact, I have been really enjoying picking weekend outfits again and if you follow me over on the ‘gram, you’ll probably have noticed an old school style streak coming through. Vintage tops, jumpsuits, Levi denim shorts, crops tops, silk scarfs and hair accessories, lots of linen, you name it and I’m rocking it. I’ve fallen in love with fashion all over again, a more casual approach, a more ‘me’ approach to clothes and I think that stems from a new wave of confidence in myself. Putting on weight has been a blessing in disguise, if I can say that.
So, these photos would normally make me panic, get thrown into the trash icon on my laptop. But I’m not worrying, I’m really not phased. Putting on weight comes from being happy. It’s also really important to highlight that putting on a few extra pounds doesn’t all of a sudden mean I’m unhealthy or lazy. This topic, the topic of weight, is something I haven’t ever covered in full on here, or really felt like I had to. And as I said, it is a sensitive subject. Dress sizes, weight, scales, inches, numbers, it’s all irrelevant. Putting on weight can always feel frustrating because it is change. I don’t always cope that well with change. Since putting on weight I’ve still had days where I feel like utter crap and days where I’m feelin’ fleeky af but that’s nothing new because I had that when I was at my ‘normal’ (for ease of referral) weight. The best thing I have learnt is not to get stressed about it, about any of this. I put together a blog post at the end tail of last year titled ‘2018 and making small gestures count’ those gestures being a slice of cake with a friend, that kind of thing. Seven months down the line and like I said, a slice of cake here and there never hurt anyone. Interestingly, that’s been my focus for the majority this year. Putting happiness first over anything else. Life can be confusing, crazy, and short, it’s not under any circumstance worth the stress. Lead a happy lifestyle, and a healthy lifestyle that suits you, that works for you, not busting your gut comparing yourself to every tom, dick and harry on social media, because between you and me, tom, dick and harry probably put on a front.
(Shots by Elise Bloom)