Talking Bodies: And Staying Positive About It

A conversation we need to have.

Illustration by @florencegiven

The other day I was scrolling away through Facebook (yes, I know, I still use Facebook) and an old picture of me at a high school party popped up in my notifications. And when I had finished laughing at my hair, reminiscing over my old favorite skirt which I’d proudly bought in the sale from Urban Outfitters, and wondering why I was so tanned in this particular photo, I thought, ‘God, why did I used to hate my body?’ Which was subsequently followed by, ‘I wish I looked like that now’. Well, minus the hair, obviously. And then it hit me. The problem. A problem I don’t think is exclusive to just me when it comes to how we see ourselves. We’re always wanting something we don’t have. Her legs, smaller boobs, a bigger butt, wishing that cellulite wasn’t there, one less roll would be nice, and so on. But it begs the question; if we could design our bodies to have them exactly as we wanted them, would that be enough? Sadly, the answer is probably not.

The conversation of body positivity and body confidence is one that has come a long away; with ‘plus’ and ‘real’ models walking the runways at fashion weeks across the globe and people like Tess Holliday on the cover of Cosmopolitan. And although I’m sure some people are tired of talking about it; it’s clear when I put myself down over a ten year old photo or when I hear my friends put themselves down when they’re nothing but STUN-ING— it’s a conversation we need to keep having.

I’m fortunate enough to be happy with my body at least for the majority of the time. My Mum laughs when I say things like, ‘how nice are my eyes’ or, ‘my bum is looking good in these jeans, you know?’. I always tell her I’m not joking. She says she knows, she just loves how confident I am. I suppose it is a novelty really. But the older I am getting, to be frank, the less I give a f*** about what other people think, and the more I appreciate just being me. Because learning to love your body is such a liberating experience, but battling the engrained narrative of wanting more, or something else, or something ‘better’, is very hard.

And this issue affects us all; people of all sizes, colours, and genders. Society wrongly associates lack of body confidence with those of a particular size but I’ve heard people talk about how they hate (not dislike but hate) their ears, feet, shoulders, skin, nose, the list really does go on. Things they biologically have no control over. That is why this conversation is so necessary. Because although we’re on the cusp of change, we still have a long way to go in terms of really accepting the concept of being positive about our bodies, no matter what they look like. So let’s keep talking about it, let’s keep challenging it, and most importantly, let’s keep lifting each other up in the process.