The Lauren Messiah Love Your Body Challenge is here. Day one is all about thinking back to a moment that has negatively effected your relationship with body and style.
I always remember appearance being a huge thing when I was growing up. Not fashion – looking neat, presentable and not really standing out. Heaven forbid you put weight on, wore trousers that were too long, had your hair too long or too short, put too much or too little effort into your hair or makeup, the list goes on. Blending in and looking clean were of utmost importance. I had always put my lack of confidence growing up down to this pressure I’d felt to be a truly impossible version of a person.
Digging deeper than that (and with some help from other people’s stories) I have realised my main body hangups have even deeper roots. For as long as I can remember I have been told a few choice anecdotes dating back to being a baby in my pram. Mother’s friend – look at those legs, you can tell whose baby she is. This may sound weird but fairly innocent, but always followed the multiple stories of my mother being told she wouldn’t blow away in a hurricane because of her chunky thighs, or she’s always had a belting pair of legs – one belting the hell out of the other one. Great start to a super healthy relationship with my legs. My next favourite story, when I was two or three I had extremely bad eczema pretty much all over my body but joint areas being the worst areas. My delightful ‘uncle’ decided to nickname me the scabby donkey. To top off my insecurities about damaged skin, I also received the comparison to corned beef on a regular basis when I had my legs out because I don’t have perfectly clear skin basically anywhere on my body.
That all sounds a bit woe is me. A lot of people receive much harsher comments and I’m not trying to compare myself at all. When I was younger, the biggest issue was more the relentlessness of the comments. It’s hard to think positively when every change or new style you try is met with scrutiny. It’s not all doom and gloom. While I’m not completely free from all self dislike just yet, in the past few years I have come to realise that worrying about comments made by adults who criticize children is a complete waste of time. I’m very lucky to have a body that allows me to do pretty much whatever I want. I’m also quite happy to accept that life is far too short to worry about having perfectly clear skin and a thigh gap. It’d be nice, but it’s really not the end of the world.
Reflecting on the past can be very helpful in my opinion, learning from it especially. Thinking back about these things does kind of make me want to show off all my ‘flaws’ as a middle finger to anyone who had negative opinions on a body that frankly had nothing to do with them.