Hi, I’m Katie. I’m 27 years old and for most of my life I have been affected by body confidence issues… haven’t we all?
It all began when my friends at school started wearing bras, and as I had nothing developing in that region, I experienced my first taste of feeling like something was wrong; I felt like the odd one out. But when I look back at it now, I bet there were many other girls in that changing room that felt the same way about some part of their body. We just can’t seem to help but compare ourselves to others and find fault with our own body.
As we started taking an interest in boys and they started taking an interest in our breasts, my self-confidence dwindled further; I didn’t want anyone to find out just how flat-chested I was. I dreaded every PE lesson in case someone saw whilst I was getting changed. I hated going swimming. For years it prevented me from wearing certain clothes that I would have loved to have worn. I remember the sinking feeling I would get as I was searching for a new top. I would find one I loved and then realized you couldn’t wear it with a bra, so it was a no go for me. As you’ve probably figured out by now my main body confidence issue was my lack of breasts. I can only speak from this experience, but I know that the list of body confidence issues is endless.
Most of my friends would regularly complain about various aspects of their body not being up to scratch, something I still see today. And now that we’re older and having children, we have stretch marks to contend with too. But why are we feeling like this is something to be ashamed of, there is nothing WRONG with stretch marks, nor is there anything wrong with being taller, shorter, bigger here or smaller there. However, society would like to have us believe that there is something wrong with us, often so they can make money off of our insecurities. I don’t know about you, but I have had enough of it. When I hear people say “oh my legs are too short”, “my boobs are too small”, “my hips are too big”, I ask, “says who”?
There is no sole human prototype which we must compare ourselves against. Just as we all have individual and unique dreams, ambitions, and aspirations, our ideas of perfection are all different. Who says that your “butt is too flat” or your “nose is too pointy”? No one, that’s who. If anyone does say those words to you, then remember that they are only words, not fact. And truthfully, they have no right to pass judgement on your body, they do not speak from a place of authority or expertise on your body, or anyone else’s body.
When I see people putting themselves down it makes me feel sad, I look at my children and hope that they will not let body confidence issues control them the way they have affected me. I have reached a point in my life where I have decided to stick two fingers up at my society induced body confidence issues. I am fed up of it holding me back. For the first time in my life I went out without wearing a padded bra the other day and it felt so invigorating. No one pointed or laughed, but even if they did, it would be them with the problem. All that matters is our own opinion of ourselves and we need to protect that from the media influence, which may I remind you is frequently edited or cosmetically enhanced. Embrace yourself, be kind to yourself (no negative talk), let your confidence grow and shine through, because it’s far more beautiful than those long legs or bigger lips that you think you need.
We can all do our bit to encourage body positivity, to stop society from creating a generation so dissatisfied with their body’s. We can do this by saying no to Photoshop, by uplifting and supporting our friends, thinking before we speak, and learning to love ourselves.
You see, the body is an amazing thing. It has taken you places, it’s kept you running when you thought you could go no further, it has fought disease, and repaired itself. It has grown hair to curl and nails to paint, it has allowed you to taste chocolate, smell the sea air, feel the sun on your skin, show emotion, cuddle your loved ones, and one day it may help you to create new life if it hasn’t already. So we need to show it unconditional love and respect, for there is no one else who will look after you like your body does.
Find me on Twitter: @MustBeKate_