‘A body is something that should never be described’ she said firmly.
‘That way lies insanity. A body is a thing that should do’
Caitlin Moran ‘How to be famous’
Bodies. They get talked about a lot; assessed, analysed, critiqued, judged, loved, admired, disgusted by, obsessed with.
Most of this is quite distant from me if I am honest. I have moments where I have moaned about it, begrudged it’s lack of elasticity in its skin and gutted I am not more naturally athletic. But generally I have not thought about it much.
At a young age I remember feeling acutely aware that I was not what the world deemed stunning or beautiful, and that even if I put in A LOT of effort (got up early before school to do my hair and makeup, ate less and exercised more) well it was unlikely to change that much and therefore the effort seemed not worth it.
So when it came to my body, I didn’t dwell on it.
And actually that has served me quite well. A defensive way of looking at things maybe, but I also knew that the aesthetic was not the be all-and that I would say was fairly healthy. (My slight addiction to pic’a’mix sweets, toast and chocolate-less healthy).
But in trying to ignore my body I have done it a bit of a disservice.
I have avoided anything that might make me actually look at my body. (Bar childbirth which actually led to lots of people looking at my body, and in my body…that mental image is a gift for you…no need for thanks).
There is a world of things that our bodies can do, that are life giving, adrenaline creating, joy filled activities. Regardless of how we look, of how good we are at the activity…we should be able to enjoy them.
I am now in the process of trying to change some of that stuff…hence the sea swimming post.
But actually for this to be a different story for my daughter, I think we also need to change the narrative. To stop commenting on looks and seeing our bodies by what they can do.
I recently watched Jameela Jamil be interviewed for Channel 4, which you can watch here:
Jameela’s i weigh instagram account is brilliant and a reminder that we are more than simply what our bodies look like. I really encourage you to check it out.
And maybe join me on the challenge to comment/congratulate people less on what they look like and more on what they have achieved.
This is not that easy…bloomin heck for someone who thought she stayed away from the whole body image thing I am embarrassed to admit that when someone suggests I am looking ‘slim’ and ‘have lost a lot of weight’ a little flutter of joy is in my heart. But is quickly followed by wondering what I look like normally as I usually haven’t changed shape/size, and then the slightly guilty feeling that I haven’t managed to tone up.
I want my daughter to know she is the sum of lots of parts, not simply to judge herself on her outer shell.