I hope you’ve been doing well and being your sassy self! I’m finally back, after not posting for AGES. I’ve set myself the goal of blogging at least once a month but we’ll see how that goes!;) Today, I want to talk to you about CHRONIC BODY CONFIDENCE (my term for body confidence with a chronic illness – quippy, I know;)).
I know for so many people, feeling body confident can be a struggle. I consider myself lucky because, until recently, I’ve always been a confident person (sometimes, maybe too confident). However, over the past year, my body confidence has absolutely PLUMMETED. I’ve put on a fair bit of weight as a result of having multiple surgeries in the past 18 months or so, and the pain means I haven’t been able to exercise much at all. Also, I don’t know about you but I’ve found I often can’t be bothered to eat healthily when I’m in pain and very much enter a ‘fuck it, have a burger’ mindset. Of course, nothing’s wrong with this when you’re treating yourself but I have been banqueting like Henry VIII a lot of the days.
Something I really struggle with is my stretch marks. I’ve always been a full supporter of owning your stretch marks (or tiger stripes, as some legendary people call them) and while I still fully support this idea myself, sometimes it’s hard to match what you practise with what you preach. Until last year, I only really had stretch marks on my hips, but as a result of my endometriosis, I’ve now got them on my stomach. Anyone with endometriosis will be able to tell you that your stomach can swell to a surprisingly impressive size without being pregnant. I struggle with them because they remind me of what’s happened and all the pain that’s come with it – ironically, this is the same reason I got my first tattoo. I guess the difference is that a tattoo is a choice, but changes to your body aren’t necessarily!
One day I was thinking about some of the things that have happened to me and how lucky I am that I’m still here, having made it through lots of shitty times! I don’t know where it came from but it really made me think about what troopers our bodies are! Now, I try to look at my stretch marks as a reminder of how strong I’ve been. A reminder of what my body’s endured and managed to survive. Even though there’s more of me to love now, my body has carried me through some absolute battles!
When you think about it, even on a daily basis, your body is an absolute tank, getting you through all sorts of crazy shit without you even realising. I think it’s easy to hate your body when you have a chronic illness, sometimes in a ‘for the love of god, can’t you just work properly?!’ sense, but when you think about it the opposite way – it’s the reason you’re still standing.
Another thing I’ve been thinking is INSTAGRAM INFLUENCE. Instagram is full of people promoting their flat tummy teas or fat burning gummy bears (honestly, I’d rather have Haribo, thanks pal). For me, instagram doesn’t bother me too much (fortunately, like I said, I’ve ordinarily been quite confident) BUT for one of my best friend’s it really is a killer (and she’s BLOODY gorgeous anyway). However, one thing I’ve noticed, is that women with health conditions are REALLY underrepresented, or perhaps they just don’t talk about their condition. One person who I really admire is Michelle Elman (find her here on instagram) who has lots of scars and is absolutely fab! You should also check out Megan (BodyPosiPanda) if you haven’t already – she’s always encouraging us to love ourselves! Above all, when you’re on the gram, try to remember that you’re NOT gorgeous like HER, you’re gorgeous LIKE YOU!
So, next time you’re thinking you look like Roz from Monsters Inc, try to remind yourself of how much your body has carried you through, you bloody gorgeous thing, you!
I hope this helps a tiny bit! Thinking about my body as a battle tank has really helped me.
Stacks of love,