I'm writing this for my daughter, who is nearly 17. And who has become re-obsessed with her body image again. At 7 her paternal grandmother called her fat. A couple of weekends ago, her paternal grandmother again implied that she was fat. To say I'm furious is an understatement.
This is me at 18.
This is me now at nearly 43.
As you can see it has undergone a lot of change in those 25 years. My body has grown three children inside it, delivered them via Cesarean section, fed and nurtured them from it, undergone knee reconstruction.
I am lazy. A great spectator. I wish that I had been more active in sport. Not so that I had long sinewy limbs, but so that my core muscle strength was stronger to support my back, which I now I have ongoing problems with.
Until I was pregnant with Aston, I ate what ever I wanted. Then I developed gestational diabetes, and now have to have annual tests to check my blood sugar, as I am pre diabetic, or glucose impaired. I wish I had been more mindful about what I put into my body. I drank too much through my teens and early twenties. Smoked and partied hard.
Here's the thing about bodies. They are all Different. All of them. And each and everyone of them undergoes changes. Constantly. They grow older, fatter, healthier, thinner, taller, shorter... constantly changing. From environmental factors, from each year passing, from what we put into them, from what we do to them. Change. ALL. THE. TIME.
There's another thing I know. This body of mine, the external shell that everyone sees, is just that. A shell. It is not the total sum of my body. My body is my brain, my heart, my blood, my feelings, my soul.
And now my body is telling me... To love it. To take care of it. To nourish it. To celebrate the wonderful things that it has done, and can still do.
There are women all over the Internet today celebrating their bodies in the I HEART MY BODY 2012 campaign. I love this. It challenges the "norms" that are shoved down our throats every day in every medium. Beauty is not, as popular media would have us believe, what is on the outside. The most beautiful people in the world are because the light of the beauty of their souls shines so brightly you can't help but see it, and say, Wow, they are so beautiful. That's true beauty.
When I was 40 I had tattooed down the side of my body an Ralph Waldo Emerson Quote:
PS - sorry I didn't ask if I could wear your bikini in this photo. I love you. xxx