This morning I got out of the shower and looked at my naked body in the mirror. As I wrapped a towel around myself, I realised a tiny detail for the first time: I was smiling to myself.
My first impressions of my body were not those of hate and criticism. Changes I wish I could make.
I looked at myself, slightly embarrassed by the bloating from last night’s takeaway, but I thought my boobs looked pretty nice. Good size, not bad to look at. I liked the curves of my bum, hips and thighs. I thought that I actually had a nice figure.
Once I realised what I was doing, how positive I was being about my body, I could have jumped for joy!
I no longer felt disappointed and underwhelmed looking at my naked reflection.
For the majority of my life, I’ve always been the tiny one – both in height and build. Shortest in the class. Small boobs. Small bum. No hips. Jeans needing to be pulled up all the time whilst also being too baggy, searching in store for a petite range, searching for anything that didn’t make me look flat.
I’ve also always been the foodie.
The first time I went out to a restaurant with my now boyfriend, I ordered the big burger and he warned me I probably wouldn’t finish it; he was right… but only because I finished his chips instead. People tend to be surprised that a tiny person like me has such a large appetite!
I was one of the lucky/hated ones who could eat without gaining any weight. An unchanging size six.
During a period of depression, I stopped eating so much. Skipping meals or forcing myself to eat them. I never stepped on a set of scales during this time, but have no doubt in my mind that, if anything, I lost a bit of weight.
It took me a while to get proper enjoyment out of food again.
And then my boyfriend happened. My mum has previously described it as ‘the happiness complex’ – when you are so happy and comfortable in a relationship that you start putting on a bit of weight. It happened gradually at first.
I didn’t realise what had happened until trying on my summer clothes during lockdown, and realising they no longer fit. That’s fine, I thought, I’ll just buy some new ones. As it turns out, I had gone up two sizes in less than a year! Where had all this weight gone?
My hips and thighs.
My figure had gone from being a simple up and down line to an extremely curvy pear shape. Playsuits were now out of the question, and dress shopping had to become much more tactical.
Of course, this was all new to me. I had no idea how to dress for curves! All I really needed was to try on some different outfits, and see what complimented my figure.
Except… this is 2020. Changing rooms are all shut!
Sigh… of course they are.
I cried a few times out of sheer frustration. For the first time in years, I had to pass on my clothes after physically growing out of them, and couldn’t even go on a shopping spree to make myself feel better.
Eventually, I accepted that I couldn’t shop in the same way anymore, starting to actually look at the size charts for items (why are they all so different??).
It’s taken some time… but I now feel positive about my new hips. They are a sign that I am happy. That I am healing. That I am becoming the woman I always felt like I was on the inside. They resemble the new experiences I’m having at university, and the independence I am finding.
Most of all,
I have gone from hating myself, inside and out, to seeing the beautiful person my boyfriend sees.