Attractive to whom though? Men, women, society in general, the media, fashion designers? Or to ourselves?
What is “attractive” to us, to ourselves, to the holder of this most amazing living breathing entity in which we live?
What is body shape fashionable has changed so much over the decades, how can any woman possibly keep up with it when it comes to what the media says we are meant to look like. From a waif to having curves to being ripped to toned to fit to boyish aarrrrgggghhhh. What are we doing not only to ourselves, but to the younger generation growing up?
We can’t be all that the media says and why should we be?
I have had an ongoing love/dislike relationship with my body for years, since I was about 18 when I started to work in a pub. I started to get more attention, particularly from older men as opposed to the ‘boys’ the same age I was used to at college. For whatever reason I didn’t really like the attention although I couldn’t tell you why - self-esteem, introverted (ish), not used to it, not worthy of it…? I remember shopping for clothes one day with my mum I said “I have boobs and hips” - “Yes dear” she replied “You’re a woman…”… Humph I didn’t want them. I started to watch what I ate, count calories and worry about my belly size for the first time ever in my life.
What’s sad is that now girls as young as 12 worry about these things - what a loss of childhood.
Over the years my adult body has changed shape and size, as low as 54kg to as high as 71Kg. I didn’t notice the increase in weight until I put on an old pair of jeans - well I didn’t put them on as they didn’t fit me! Had I gained weight because I was happy or sad or just living? Was I content with my new size and shape? Given the fact I hadn’t really noticed the weight gain - what did that mean?
When I tried those jeans on, I became unhappy with my size - or was it that my attention had simply been brought to something I hadn’t noticed?.
Regardless, I cut back, trained more and the weight came off.
Was I happier? In myself yes, I preferred to be (and still do) on the slimmer side, did my relationship with my boyfriend improve - no, did my relationship with my self and my esteem improve? - No.
I don’t believe size equates to happiness in life, it can certainly play a part but we are excellent at blaming our size for our unhappiness when it might be something else that we simply don’t want to face.
I have put my body through hours of training, completed 2 IronMan (11-12 hour races), endless workouts of many a sort, eaten and drunk to excess, binged (I was a binge eater for a number of years), been toned, been less toned, I have loved my body, chastised it, looked at it in disgust, beaten it up and myself up for not being good enough - and all to what end?
When was I at my happiest with my shape? As an athlete who could race well and looked toned, or as a non athlete who wasn’t so toned? Neither actually.
I became the happiest in my body when I became happier within myself, faced some demons and lived my life more in accordance with my values and with the right people around me. When those things started to come into place, then my body settled into its shape, the binge eating became less as did the amount I trained. I am grateful that I come from good genes, but it doesn’t mean staying the way I want to be is easy and just happens, and nor does self confidence and belief in oneself - they all take on going effort and attention and awareness. I write this in the knowledge that yes I have a lovely body and am fit and healthy - but it doesn’t necessarily mean I am confident in who I am and what I look like and it is easy to forget that when we look at others.
As a society are we putting too much emphasis on how someone physically looks, as opposed to who they are and how they see/feel about themselves and how you feel when you are around each other?
Real beauty is way beneath the skin. It is in someone’s being, how they are, their energy, their very essence, their confidence and acceptance of self whatever size or shape.
What if we were more accepting of each other in this way? And more importantly accepting of how we are?