One of the things that I want to write in this blog about is body confidence and empowering women. I find joy in being able to help people to achieve their best, to feel better and really take charge of their life. I study the subject and I converse it with others, but then I feel a pinch of guilt. Can I really be talking and promoting body positivity and self-empowerment if I don’t feel like it myself? Is it lying if I don’t feel confident myself? Is it misrepresenting the message that I am trying to present? Is it being an imposter?
Throughout my childhood, I was doing a lot of sports. All of my evenings were filled with some sports or musical hobbies and you can imagine that I was skinny. This image of myself got so ingrained in my self-image, that when I stopped the competitive sports and exercising every single day and my body started to change I got very self-conscious. I had always been known as the skinny girl and now suddenly I had curves and I had gained weight. Not only did I not feel like myself, but I didn’t want anybody to see me because it was like failing their image of me. I am lucky to have friends who don’t care what I look like and a boyfriend who adores me, it helps a lot with the body image that I have of myself. However, I still can’t help looking into the mirror occasionally and not seeing what I feel like.
The one thing that I have noticed has a big influence on why the change in body image is so slow is the lack of examples out there. I used to love browsing through fashion magazines and watching 90s and early 00s tv shows, which are filled with super skinny models and actresses and that is the body type that we think as “normal”. I didn’t see a person who had been skinny and then gained weight, without the following judging comment of how that person had gained weight. It is seen as a failure to be a woman in the society.
I know today there are a lot more positive body image examples and I am trying to focus on them. Partly the reason why I want to write about it is to help myself as well. I find it so inspiring to see women of all sizes and different histories who are making something out of themselves, who are being brave, who are being gracious and who are confident! Why wouldn’t I share that with others? I know what the staples for a positive body-image are. My mother used to make me go in front of a mirror and tell the mirror how beautiful I was, that helped the teenager who apparently had some problem with the body image when her body was changing. I still talk to myself in front of the mirror, but I do cringe. I try to tell myself what I find beautiful about myself and I still cringe. At yoga when we are told that we should cherish our beautiful bodies, I have to force myself to think of all the things my body does. And you know, it really does. I can tell with confidence that I love my body, but still I find it stopping me from so many things, such as wanting to buy clothes or even trying on clothes, going to public spaces to do any kind of sports, I try to hide when I am at a public gathering and make myself as small as I can. And I know I shouldn’t do any of it. It is like my body-image has affected my self-image and it is hard to build back, but I am doing it, although most days it feels like I am faking it till I make it.
I am no longer trying to get back to my teenage weight and body style, there is no point it that, I am a woman now and I want to look like a woman. Now I just want to keep myself healthy and feel good in my body. Most days I do!
Do you feel body confident?