I cried on the beach today.
It felt like the rain that catches you off guard on a sunny day. It came without warning and I didn’t have an umbrella.
In my bikini, as one often is at the beach, I wanted a picture to represent how I felt on the inside, to accompany a blog that I had been writing that day.
Like jumping off of a cliff into water, I had to build myself up. Count to three and just leap. I don’t like asking for pictures. I don’t like having pictures taken of me. It undoes all of the work I do everyday to feel beautiful. To feel worthy. To feel like I truly believe in what I preach.
‘Your body is a vessel, no matter it’s shape or size, it is beautiful as it is carrying you through this existence. The perfect body is not an aesthetic, this is just created by society for many different reasons which do no benefit the individual looking in the mirror.’
I know all of this. I believe all of this. I tell my friends this. I tell myself this. I know that within this blog I have something to say, a message to relay, I just don’t have a lectern of which to speak on. Or if I do, it is only to a very small amount of people. (I am grateful to every single one of you for reading.)
Naturally, I would like a platform. A following if you will. I write not only to express myself but to help others, To relate to others. To say: ‘You’re not alone. I feel like that to. I do that to. I felt like that, but now I feel like this.’
So, I use Instagram, and with Instagram comes pictures.
How funny, I can write about masturbating on planes, or taking back a skirt covered in cum to the shop, but I cannot post a picture of me in a bikini. In a body. In a vessel. A healthy, happy, tanned amazing vessel.
The time came to jump off the cliff. To stand on the shore and to ‘pose’ for a picture. I froze.
I am in a better place with my self love and confidence than I have ever been before. I have spent time licking the wounds left by those that I have loved who have judged the way that I have looked. I have silenced the words that came out of secondary school. The whale, the fat, the ugly. I have looked in the mirror and thought about all that I do not like and why I do not like it. I have decided it is unimportant and unhelpful. I have found the beauty in nature. I have cried in changing rooms and come back stronger. I have stopped myself every time I went to say something demeaning or self critical. I have laughed at my chaff. I have fuelled my body and nourished it; rather than starving myself and later binge eating. I have loved myself and taken my self confidence from within, not from anyone else. I have felt happy, comfortable and confident.
But I did not realise what a stepping stone this would be. To show you all that vessel. To indulge in the idea of needing to show my body to Instagram, whilst not feeling like I could ever make the cut.
It came like the rain that falls from a bright blue sky.
I couldn’t even stand to have the picture taken let alone look at it after. I don’t need to post a picture of my body; I thought. I don’t need to feel fake and write a caption like ‘life’s a beach’ when in reality I would be checking my phone every 2 seconds and zooming in on the roll under my left boob.
But then I thought about the platform that I want. I thought about the things I want to say. I thought about my younger self, my friends, my god daughter. My message is not about flaunting yourself or following the crowd. That isn’t why I wanted to take that picture. I wanted to take that picture because I felt happy in that moment, in my skin, in the company I was in, in my environment; my body didn’t matter.
The pictures we are bombarded with of bikinis and beaches are usually of bodies that are deemed as beautiful by society. Don’t get me wrong those bodies are beautiful. Those people are beautiful. But when the caption attached to it is about eternal happiness or manifestation or overcoming insecurities, as a regular woman who does not experience societies benefits for ‘thinness’ I feel excluded. I feel like saying ‘that’s easy for you to say.’ This isn’t a fair comment because those beautiful people will have insecurities too. But imagine the insecurities if you are on the outskirts of society. Plus size, trans, disabled or any other category of society which feels excluded from the mainstream.
This is changing. I want to change with it. I desperately want to throw caution to the wind and practice what I preach.
Hard to do when you’re sobbing and snotting on the sand.
I look silly, uncomfortable and a bit try hard in the pictures. Not the aim! Not empowering. Not inspirational. But also it’s not fucking easy to do. Especially not when the half an hour walk to the beach made your thighs rub together, your swimming costume has turned a little grey because you’ve been away for three weeks and there are people trying to sunbathe looking at you blocking their gorgeous view.
What I’m trying to say is that this journey is not easy. I can talk the talk but I’m perhaps not ready to walk the walk. I am not freed of the chains that self loathing has inflicted on me. One by one I am breaking them down and I intend to keep hacking away at them one naked dance in front of the mirror at a time.
It’s about looking at how far you’ve come and being excited about where you want to be. I no longer avoid mirrors in the bathroom when I’m naked. I no longer wear clothes to hide or distract. I look at myself in the bath. I get into sex positions that feel good regardless of whether they make my boobs hang low or my stomach spill over the bed. I hold my head up. I care for the vessel I am in.
Do I post pictures in which I show my body in it’s natural state. No, not yet. But I have to feel completely ready to do that before I can share with you how important it is to forget about what society thinks is beautiful and start to look at what you think is beautiful. I cannot tell you to ignore the unfairness of the world whilst I am still struggling to do the same.
I can keep trying. I can keep sharing this journey of self acceptance with you. I can let you know that I will write and talk and cry and laugh my way to a place where I am confident and comfortable enough to show you that you can be too. Because I for sure won’t look like an Instagram model whilst doing it.
Thank you for reading. This is my therapy.
Note to all of us: Remember that there is a force bigger than us, more beautiful and more powerful. Remember that this force can make life changing decisions at any moment, in which our physical appearance will be the least of our worries. Enjoy the body you are in. Dance in the mirror and walk around the house naked. Confident is the sexiest lingerie that you can wear. At the same time, remember that we are undoing years of conditioned thinking, Years of images not meant to make us feel good about ourselves. Be kind. Be patient. Be fucking proud of who you are.