I wanted to share a bit about my own experiences. I started buying lingerie…I’m not really sure when or why anymore. I can say, that like most femme humans I originally bought them for my partner, because, well, they’d be the ones actually seeing them. And then not too far down the line, I bought lingerie just for myself. It was my money, after all. Why should it matter if someone else saw what I was wearing?
As I’ve grown up I’ve realised I’ve been very, very lucky. Bulimia or anorexia were not diseases I directly experienced. While I had my dark moments I never self-mutilated. I also grew up in a home that had very little negative self-talk. My mother is an amazing woman who is one of the most down to earth people I know. Like most good parents, she embarrassed me massively when I was a teenager because she was silly – in pubic – and didn’t seem to care what other people thought of her. I’m happy to say now that I’ve grown into a version of her that I’m happy with.
And so when I was in my teens and diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) I took it in stride. And when, after I graduated college and started working a desk job and gained 20 kilos (about 40lbs) over the course of 3 years, I realised that I needed to lose weight. And I tackled it rationally.
I had moments where I ate my emotions – that’s human. I had moments where I drank too much or gained weight or when I should be losing or skipped the gym or was in a bad place mental health wise. So I kept moving forward and kept forgiving myself. And I lost those 20 kilos. I deliberately put back on 5 or thereabouts after getting to my lowest weight since high school, because otherwise I wasn’t going to be happy eating the calories I would’ve had to eat to maintain that lowest weight.
This year, I’ve gained back a bit of weight that really shouldn’t be there due to my PCOS. Because I don’t want to have to tackle bad skin and terrible cramps and pain when I’m having sex. And the additional health risks of holding fat in my stomach as I get older – which is where I hold my weight, always. So I’m going to re-focus and lose about 5 kilos. I have a body, you have a body. We can manipulate it in a way that’s healthy for us when we need to.
Wrapped up in all of this is the fact that I really don’t give a damn what other people think of my body. It’s mine, not yours. And if my stomach offends you, don’t look when I wear one to the beach. Or the cellulite on my ass. Or my small-ish breasts. Or my big shoulders. They’re mine, not yours.
If there were a few things I could say that would hopefully help some people, it would be:
- Everyone is more self-absorbed than everyone else realises. While you’re there worrying about what other people think of that weird little noise you made in the meeting, they’ve all forgotten about it already.
- Learn your body and talk to a doctor about what is and isn’t healthy for yourself. You can be healthy or unhealthy at any size.
- Destroy your self-doubt. Whether it’s self-affirmations, a journal, a therapist, prescribed medication, do whatever you need to do to find that balance and security in yourself. It’s there.
- Remember balance. Stress is terrible for our bodies as well as our brains. Find your coping mechanism(s).