This is the first guest post on my blog, and I am absolutely delighted that it’s been written by Zara from ZaraLouU. When it comes to positivity, this lady is an example to us all, and the first person who came to mind when I thought of the concept of Feel Good Friday. She’s someone I am happy to call my friend. Today, she’s tackling the subject of body positivity and I don’t want to give anything away, so all I’ll say is: everyone needs to read this.
Isn’t positivity a beautiful word? I mean, think about it. Close your eyes and say the word positivity to yourself (go on, I dare you).
I bet a smile crept onto that gorgeous face of yours, didn’t it?
Yet, if I coupled it with the word ‘body’ some of you will find the smile fading. Right?
Just why is that?
It’s tough living in today’s world. It’s even worse when you’re a 5’ 3’’ overweight size 16 woman such as myself. Every day, I’m subjected to magazine covers as I shop in stores with ‘LOOK AT THIS JELLY BELLY’ or ‘Oh no! Someone’s hit the biscuit tin again!’
Yet when I look at these people… they seem to look like they’re living their best life? I’m not getting this. In fact, I don’t get it at all.
I will gladly admit I fed into this sham of a culture time and time again, hook, line and STINKER (not sinker because most diets stink… No literally, I’m not kidding). I did the ‘fasting’, I did the ‘Weight Watchers’, I did the laxative like coffees (and even at one point was an ambassador… never again) and even took slimming pills, which after having insane heart palpitations whilst working a shift one day… found out they weren’t entirely safe.
Dieting has wrecked my body, and guess what? I’m still that somehow negative descriptor word, ‘FAT’
Then came the ‘Body positive movement’
This movement has educated me (and still is) enormously. This whole overview, insight, crashing down upon the system and stigmas that ‘fat is bad’ and ‘thin is good’ has been life-changing. It’s also allowed me to accept that bodies are bodies!
#Saggyboobsmatter #Tigerstripes #effyourbeautystandards #bodyacceptance – all these amazing movements compiled of women and men learning to respect one another for being them.
And in turn? My journey of body confidence began to emerge, like a phoenix from the ashes baby.
So what’s the difference between posi and confidence?
Body Positivity (to me) is the acceptance of others and an appreciation for differing body types. Be they tall, short, petite, slim, bony, curvy, jiggly, hairy, scarred, abled or disabled – you accept them and appreciate them all. Any race, colour, sex, sexuality, identity, religion included. It is an all-inclusive package (sounds like an amazing holiday to me, sign me up!)
Body confidence is for oneself. For a belief, respect and love for your own body and its journey, and it’s here where I’ll explore a little more.
I grew up in inner-city Birmingham. Life was good, as an innocent child would only see it that way. I was your little chubby, confident, happy soul. I loved food, I lived for it, and I asked my mom repeatedly for food.
I was part of the ‘MOOOOM I’M HUNGRY’ squad.
Don’t offer me a banana, mom, only Skips will do!
The thing is, I can’t quite pinpoint where my emotional attachment to food came from. I do however remember eating a lot of it. My sight was poor, and still is; with a barely functioning right eye, I sat most days with my left eye hidden beneath a patch. Those tortoiseshell brown spectacles made me look like Ronnie Corbett’s secret love child and the tag along asthma inhalers polished off the perfect ‘dweeb’ look.
Yet, I still smiled.
Doctors have always had their fair say on my body. They’ve ranged from ‘It’s just puppy fat, it’ll melt away in a few years’ in regards to my fupa, to the extreme ‘I’m disgusted that as a mother you’ve allowed yourself to become so big, I wish I had scales in the room so I could take your weight’
I wished I had reported this bigot.
And yet! I still smile.
I’m not going away, my laugh (as loud as it is) isn’t going away, my body and all 15 stone of it is. Not. Going. Away!
So, instead of fighting against myself, I work with myself. Of course, I do have dreams to lose some weight, but it doesn’t define me and nor should it you too. The thing is, it’s like a flower. A flower ideally needs to bloom, attract bees, and of course continue its cycle of pollination with the bees, yadda yadda – It needs to be loud and proud!
To get there, it needs to do some things first. It needs to feed itself, hydrate itself, get into those ‘sunshiney’ rays of goodness. To help it more, it becomes louder with its choir, or should I say cheerleaders, snuggled in with some gorgeous bright friends, sharing this food, drink, sunshine… see where I’m going with this?
Loving yourself doesn’t come from a diet pill filled with crap that may end you up in A&E. It doesn’t come from a magazine telling you how to be their drone, baby – it comes from you. It comes from within you, and it grows, blossoming, blooming upward and outward for all to see, hear, feel and vibe…
If there’s something I am learning on this road, it’s that, when you begin to invest in yourself good things come your way. This doesn’t necessarily mean like, ‘oh sheet if I say I love you to my stomach I’m going to win the lotto tomorrow bab!’
When you execute a positive mantra to yourself, projecting more on the positives rather than the negatives – and trust me, I’ll admit it isn’t easy – you find that you attract good souls too. Negativity can be a poison that runs coarse through the veins, if that gets into your flower, it’s going to wilt… You are deserved of love, you are allowed to appreciate and love yourself despite what the media conforms insist is ‘right’.
A bikini body doesn’t always have to consist of a thigh gap that can feel the breeze tickle it, it can be met with mermaid thighs too! A bikini doesn’t have to have bazooka sized, gravity-defying boobies thrown into it, hey, smaller beautiful boobies, GET IN THAT BIKINI TOO!
And guess what? Each one of those bodies described in the above paragraph, They’re all acceptable! They are all beautiful, enhanced or not.
You have waited long enough for the moment where you can look at yourself and say ‘I am beautiful’, you can promise yourself that ‘when you get to that ideal weight it will come’ – and hey, that’s perfectly fine. However, understand that your body got you to where you are today. It got you through childhood, those rough and tough teen years, it may have gotten you through college, University, renting your first place, buying your first home, your first job (oh those feet, how they ached!) babies and much more. Appreciate this vessel you reside in, love and appreciate the warrior-like things it has done, for it has walked a path like no other. And, it’s always worthy of the love it requires to carry on.
Whilst this whole vibe of self-love is much more than a bath bomb and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s, feel free tonight to give yourself some damned good loving and respect. There’s only 1 of you on this planet, bloom beautiful, let your petals tell your story and your scent linger on forever, in this now newly, positive, radiant world that you can explore.
You are amazing.
Interested in guest posting? Find all of the details here.