“Are you ready?” I’d ask myself as I stood in front of my bathroom mirror, 17 years of age staring into the eyes of a girl about to torture her self. I was on the merry go round of bulimia. I was a little overweight, I was depressed and the only thing that could have made everything better was to be skinny. The kind of skinny where you get noticed.
I grew up a tom-boy. I was athletic. I was always thin. Till then…
I had been through a lot of emotional stuff. My first serious boyfriend break up, change of school, unhappy parents, new friends, loss of old friends, alcohol, and buckets of self sabotage. I trashed my self in a cycle of destruction. It was my post-punk, pre-Cure & Grunge phase (I measure my age in music genres). Besides that I was lost, invisible to my self, I had no connection to the woman I was paving the road to become. I didn’t give a bollock!
Mostly I regret the denial that clouded my purpose and importance. Because fat is not the heaviest weight to carry through life. There is plenty of weight to be carried as we trundle a long the tracks of life and girls need a sanctuary of self esteem to retreat to in those times. Mine had to be built over time, and sometimes much later after the fact. Hard lessons.
I notice that girls are more open about their body shape these days; I judge this by their shorter shorts, shorter shirts, tighter seams, and plunging neck lines. But is this a true acceptance of female body ideals? Are our younger generations still being lead by popular sexualised standards? Are they bearing skin to be noticed? Are they stalking the gratification of desire? Or do they simply not give a bollock?
I told a friend the other day that “as soon as I say the word diet I get fat”. She chuckled agreement (I do not believe in ‘dieting’ for that reason) but I am still alarmed at how many patients I see in my clinic with Weight-loss at the top of their health goals. It is still a big issue. I believe we are wading in a world of packaged calorie indulgences, we socialise around food, we go for quantity over quality, we eat because we are hurting, we hurt because we are eating and around and around we go.
And dieting is a bit like self-love and acceptance; easy some days and bloody impossible others. That is why I choose to eat with self love and when self love doesn’t cut it I move into space that is educated but forgiving.
I am in a healthy weight range for my age and height but I still sometimes slink down to the waters edge in my swimwear hoping to be shrouded in a veil of disappearing fog. I don’t like the way my butt becomes my thigh, the few-too-many folds in my belly, and how my arms increase their size three-fold when they press up against my body (truth). I am forgiving of these bodily limitations because my life is good, I am happy and healthy but self image can be a real bitch. I desperately want to be that confident rubenesque beauty frollicking by the shore but I am too busy planning my moves because *Cosmopolitan magazine once said that walking through the water can make you look 5kg lighter. And that is always my strategy when I am swimming – less of a walk and more of an Olympic stride. No one has commented on me gaining that 5kg once I hit the sand slinking back to my towel over the years, so maybe I’ll take up snorkelling?
The fact is that I still have those conversations in my head about self image. I doubt I will ever be fully embracing of my lesser than Miranda-Kerr-ness, but I am fully embracing of my humanness and humility. I am completely engaging of the woman I am to be become and that is my anchor. I eat to nourish 1st, to love 2nd and forgive last. I celebrate the squish of my arms when my sons hold that soft part of my skin and press their lips to me. They don’t see the three-fold increase in size, they feel a three-fold loving mumma. And that rocks!
*I don’t buy Cosmo magazine….
Melanie Robinson ND BHSc
Nurture Magazine, The Natural Parent Magazine, Naturopath, Gaia Health, Real Foodist, Herb Hugger, Mother of 2 Rockin’ boys, and thinks Miranda Kerr has got a looong way to go to become Megan Gale.