I’m on the train on my way home from a birthday meal. I’m now a 41-year-old woman and a size 20/22.
Please make yourself comfortable while I tell you the story of a 16-year-old girl who was a size 16 and convinced she was grotesque.
I remember vividly wanting to look different. To be thinner. To look like the models in the magazines. I loved fashion and used to buy Clothes Show magazine and watch the TV show every Sunday. Do you remember it? Caryn Franklin, Selina Scott and Jeff Banks used to host it. It was very glamorous.
It was the 90s and heroin chic was all the rage.
I was fat. But actually I wasn’t. I really wasn’t. I was curvy but so what if I was fat. I wanted to be something I couldn’t be, not in a million years. I’m not built that way and, in reality, very few are. I was bombarded with images of “perfect” women, Kate Moss et al.
Christ! I wish I’d known then what I know now.
I wish the likes of Tess Holliday and Callie Thorpe existed. Maybe I wouldn’t have self harmed. Maybe I wouldn’t have made myself sick. Maybe I wouldn’t have used laxatives. But I did.
I hated the way I looked. In fact I hated the way I look until very recently. I don’t know if motherhood changed my perception of myself or having countless operations, but I now love my body. Don’t get me wrong I don’t love how I look, it’s more acceptance. Acceptance and gratitude to my body for keeping me alive. It does it’s job. It is functional, it doesn’t have to be easy on the eye.
I am now a mother of two boys and I already worry about their body image.
I worry that they might be like me and have a tendency to gain weight. I worry that they will be emotional eaters like me. I worry that they might be overweight and be bullied.
Writing this I notice that I am more worried about the emotional implications of being overweight than the health risks. That is sad. It’s sad that I am more concerned about societies ideals than the physical implications.
But. On our way to get the train home this evening I saw this on the one the cover of Cosmo.
It made me so happy I took a photo and shared it on Instagram. The tide is turning. And about time too. This isn’t about fat shaming, or thin shaming, or any other shaming. It’s about acceptance of each other and basking in our differences.