You really are. 

It’s no secret that I’ve always struggled with body image. From my highest weight of 19st 10lbs to my lowest of 10st 7lbs, the turmoil has been never stopped and has always been too real for me to ever truly have under wraps. But just lately I’m trying this new thing, where I try to listen to my body, and follow her cues for what she wants to eat and how much she wants of it.

I decided within a few weeks of having Eryn that dieting simply didn’t work for me, that restricting food groups or going on insane crash diets simply wasn’t going to cut it when I was feeding Eryn at the breast, but more than that I did not and do not ever, ever want either of my children to feel the way I do about their bodies.

I noticed more so than before that now I have a baby girl, I am determined not to let the way I  feel about my body (which subsequently leeches into how I feel about me, as a whole being!) be passed on to my kids. I do not want to compete or commemorate about weight loss with my daughter, I do not want her to feel she is measured by how pretty or thin she is, nor Eddie how toned or handsome he might very well be..instead, I want them to attach their worth to their qualities. The qualities I have given my whole being into creating, into making them good children and hopefully even better adults.

I want Eddie to understand that his physical appearance is not the reason people want to play with him. The fact he is exciting, different, kind and loyal, that is what makes people want to be around him, breathe him in and soak in his authentic joy. They are not just his friends because he is lucky to have his beautiful hazel eyes or ruffly auburn hair. I want him to understand that although his behaviour sometimes makes him seem odd, and even scary at times, that it is okay to be himself, that he still deserves respect and compassion, even if he at times finds life difficult to navigate among the rules and practices we determine as as “normal”.

I want Eryn to understand that she does not have to wear floral prints or pink pastels to be or feel she is feminine. I want her to know that she does not need to be thin, or accentuate her curves to be respected or of value.  I want her to understand, because women are still mistreated, that she is worth the world and should not stop until she feels she has achieved it. I want her to know she does have such huge, blue eyes, and doll like features but that they do not define her, she defines herself with her behaviour just the same as her mother.

I want both my children to understand that though they are equally as beautiful as one another, not everyone is as able bodied as they, and that not everyone will look the same as them, and that is so importantly okay. That we all have different bodies and abilities, and one is no more superior to the other, that respect is something everyone deserves, regardless of if they meet societies requirements of either aesthetic or productive value.

I have been looking through my photos lately on my phone, and each month I see selfies  from this year, from last. And I know why I was taking them, it wasn’t for attention on social media, oh no.. It was for me to zoom in on, to observe, to manipulate and critisise in my own time. Some of them “fat” and some of them “thin”.

You’d think when I saw the ones I classed as thin, I’d feel this overwhelming desire to be there again..and  while I felt that desire, the more overwhelming emotion was sadness. Why didn’t I know when to stop? Why couldn’t I see how lovely I looked, how small I had become? Why wasn’t it enough? 

The truth is for someone like me, it is never enough. I would have dieted myself to death in the end, and I truly believe Eryn saved me. I was obsessed, I still am to a degree but I see through it for what it is, and I am steadily making my way away from that awful destructive mindset.

I am no longer afraid of my body, I want her to be healthy and so I’m working on what I put in her in terms of food and water and I’m upping my exercise. But it isn’t to get “Beach ready” it isn’t for all those pointless, empty compliments, it’s so my joints no longer ache, so my hair no longer sheds, so my body is at peace with itself and she is healthy.

I surround myself with positive social media, I seek out those who appreciate their bodies are different to the status quo and still manage to find confidence and joy in the bodies they have been gifted.

I hope anyone who has felt as I do and did, finds comfort in that they’re not alone.  That the social construct we see around us for men and women regarding physical shape and perfection is exactly that, a construct. It is not real, it is not worth your precious time by allowing it to worry you. You are beautiful, beyond your physical being. Every one of us is a good, valuable person and at the very least has the exciting potential to become one.

Here are the photos that will help illustrate this post and give it some meaning.

Over and out,

Expatting Pom.

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