This is me. On the beach. Nailing life by having fun with my family. In my clothes.
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks hanging on to this post. Should I publish it? It’s a different tone but something that is playing on my mind and I think is an important topic. A conversation that I would like to add my voice to.
There is so much in the media (with social media probably being the worst offender) every summer about body confidence. Women baring their bodies in bikinis to prove that they are cool with their body hang ups. I salute them. I salute you. You should be proud! Every woman and every man should be. Whatever is going on in our lives we are living them and that in itself is an achievement. Just forgive me for nailing my body confidence in clothes.
Here’s the thing. I have grown and stretched and changed during each of my pregnancies, physically and emotionally. I am grateful, so grateful, to my body for getting me through. The pelvic girdle pain nearly defeated me, the sickness wasn’t exactly rock and roll and losing the sight on and off in one eye wasn’t quite the disco light effect of a party. But I pulled through and gave birth to my three wonderful boys. The youngest was huge, weighing in at just over ten and a half pounds. His arrival created a saggy belly that over three years on has still not gone and is largely (no pun intended) excess skin. Great. Pretty much nothing to be done apart from surgery and that’s not a road I’m going to go down. I’ll just tuck it into my marksies pants and ignore it instead.
The pregnancies also brought (several) love lines as some people call them. I refer to my belly as looking like a cauliflower but each person sees them differently and I respect that. Basically in plain English, I’m talking stretch marks. Lots and lots of stretch marks. My cauliflower reaches from my nether regions right up to my boobs. I am proud of what my body went through and created, but I don’t particularly want to gawp at the long lasting physical effects that pregnancy etched into my skin.
Toning up is tough. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Chronic Pain. They’re the ones that nobody really understands or thinks are particularly problematic until you meet someone who has it and realise how utterly debilitating it can be. My arms look saggy. They are saggy. I also have reduced function in them and rounds of physio is keeping them from getting worse but not making them any better. I’m still grateful for them though, even in their bingo wings glory.
So what I am getting at by writing this? All people are biologically wonderful. That we are here is pretty special and what we go through creates the characters that we are. I’m cool with however anyone wants to display their confidence and live their life. Just don’t tell me to slip into a bikini to prove anything, because I’m not going to do that, even though I am body confident. I will never, ever, wear a bikini again. I don’t want to see my stretch marks. It really is that simple. I don’t want to see my excess skin either. It shouldn’t matter. It doesn’t mean that I’m less of a person because I’m not baring my flesh.
Body confidence, like bodies, comes in all forms. Mine happens to be in my head and if people want to judge what I’m wearing to deduce how I feel then that’s ok. But does my lack of a bikini equal a lack of confidence? To me it doesn’t.
What do you think? Do you feel pressure to assert your confidence in one way or another, or do you largely duck away from the subject all together? Let me know!