Prior to my honeymoon, I packed and repacked my bag 4 times.
I tore outfits from the suitcase I had packed and re tried them on to make sure I didn’t look *fat*. To make sure I would look acceptable.
I cried in front of the mirror, wishing I looked like I had a two years prior. The skinner me. The version of myself that was allowed to be seen in day dresses that skim my upper thighs.
Why did I have to enjoy eating food now?
Since having emergency laser surgery inside my stomach at Christmas. I have struggled to love my stomach.
It hurts and it swells. It is large and disproportionate to the rest of my body. It is a tyre upon two slim legs. It sticks out like a sore thumb. It serves as a reminder for a scary time. An event that had no rhyme or reason – an “unlucky accident” as described by countless physicians.
I bend and feel the metal within me. I move and the discomfort is a physical representation of the unease in my own mind.
My body does not feel like my own.
My eBay addiction has led to my accumulation of thousands of ill-fitting and shitty, second hand clothes. Cheap bikinis from China – which were clearly not made for my body – the fabric laughed at me, distorted the way I saw my body.
I threw them all out.
I arrived in holiday and sadly the sun didn’t burn away my anxiety. Does anyone else get ridiculously bloated on a plane?
We rushed to get ready in time for dinner and I felt embarrassed that my body was coming with me. My expanded stomach an unwelcome +1. Why was it following me, attached to me, bringing me down?
Any hotel poolside is guaranteed to be adorned with women you think look much better than you. Whilst I fully support all women – I am aware I let comparison thieve my own confidence. Why can’t I look like her? I bet she’s really happy because her body looks good? Reality check needed.
After leaving the pool, I’d feel so cute in the outfits I’d take, then be mortified to look at the version of my body my husband had captured. Is this how the world sees me? Am I one big catfish? What a fraud!
I did what any self respecting 20 something woman does – and I whatsapped my buddies the moment I hit WiFi.
There is no better support network for women – than other women. GRL PWR.
My friends always offer the most empowering and wonderful advice. They are the true heroes of my life. They talk about their own bodies in the most raw but honest ways. They shed wisdom on the fact that everything is normal. Bodies are normal. Bad angles are normal. Everyone has photos they hate. Your body has just been through a medical ordeal. You paid for your holiday so enjoy it. The picture isn’t even that bloody bad. You’re still shit hot! No one looks perfect 24/7 yada yada yadaaaa (you know who you are and I love ya!)
I woke up the next day and felt so happy to be alive. Waking up in an exotic foreign land next to the love of my life.
If it wasn’t for my body – I wouldn’t even be here.
If it wasn’t for my body – I wouldn’t be able to make memories.
My body is my own vessel through life. It deserves a holiday.
Up in the sky our worries seem so small. The sun does not mind the shape of my body – it will continue to beam down upon me no matter what.
My body may have changed. It will no doubt change throughout my entire life. Just as all bodies do. How magical. How natural. What a wonderful thing it is for bodies to form and grow and adapt.
I should not fear taking up too much room. I should not fear imperfections.
We are all so perfect.
It’s incredible how many moments you can live in, how many memories you can create – when you just accept yourself, love yourself, and pay more attention to the world around you than the folds of your skin.
So whilst I didn’t lounge around the pool all week looking like a picture perfect Victoria Secrets model, I did find happiness from the world, and from within. And I would say I fancy myself quite a lot now – waheyyy.
Sure – loving your body and healing is not a straight forward process. You will have good days and bad days – and this is only exaggerated by an event such as holidays, weddings, parties – times that we hold such important over looking our best. Aren’t we always our best if we’re just being ourselves?
Whilst my writing is very self reflected, and focused on my own experience. I hope some of you may find comfort in knowing that everyone goes through these journeys in their mind. Everyone has up and down days. Everyone worries about being “bikini body ready” which actually is total bullshit.
Be however you want to be.
Your skin and it’s colour and shapes do not pre determine how much fun you are allowed to have.
Be radical & love yourself!