My hips have widened, my thighs touch and my belly… well, it’s a mass of wrinkled, puckered and stretched skin.
I’ve started sprouting my first grey hairs and a beautician told me recently that my face looked like it had been through some sort of ‘trauma.’ Thanks for that.
I’m 32 and I’ve spent more than 20 years frowning at my reflection.
Too fat, too short, too hairy, too curly, too pale, too freckly, too plain ugly.
On my wedding day as I took a final look in the mirror before walking down the aisle I thought: ‘If only I’d lost another five kilos…’
It doesn’t matter how many times you’re told as an adult that you look good. If you’ve been told enough as a child that you’re chubby or not quite as pretty as the others, then it will stay with you forever.
One of my most vivid memories is sitting with an adult as a nine-year-old and showing her my Year 3 class photo. I listened as she critiqued the appearance of each girl saying, ‘she’s tall and willowy,’ ‘look at her beautiful hair,’ ‘what a lovely complexion.’ When she came to me she said, ‘what thick ankles you have.’
Now grown up, by media standards, I’ve never looked worse. By my own standards, I’ve never felt better.
When I gave birth to my second child six months ago I felt an empowerment like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
Something shifted and I began to appreciate my body for what it could do rather than what it looked like.
Around the same time I found this blog and it has inspired a nightly ritual in our home.
After her bedtime story, I whisper to my daughter:
“Wriggle your toes – you’re so lucky to have two feet for dancing.
“Wriggle your legs – you’re so lucky to have such strong legs for running and jumping.
“Wriggle your bottom – without that you wouldn’t be able to walk or sit down… or poo (cue giggles).
“Wriggle your belly – how lucky you are to have somewhere to store all your yummy food to give you energy and help you grow.
“Wriggle your face – how lucky you are to have eyes for seeing, a nose for smelling and a mouth for smiling.
“Wriggle your arms – and how lucky I am that you have two arms to give me a big cuddle.”
And she does.
“Night, night beautiful.”