My view on body image.

‘Am I healthy for my body type?’

Hello all,

Recently I have been seeing a lot of accounts, Instagram and Twitter, talking about body image and mental health. There have been some embracing curves, some showing off their toned physiques and others sharing some very hard truths about their struggles with body image.

All these accounts have got me thinking about social media and how body image is portrayed. My personal belief is that everyone has different body types and all should be embraced, as long as they are healthy. I would like to point out that although I am definitely pro this point, I struggle with my own body image and am definitely in the majority that looks at models and fitness accounts and thinks ‘if only’. I would like to point out that I am aware that there are different causes for eating disorders and body image struggles, I am merely focusing on social media due to its prominence in our lives.

As much as I enjoy reading different people’s stories and journeys it really saddens me that people will voice their opinion in the wrong way. Yes, everyone is entitled to an opinion and it is, in most circumstances, good that everyone has their own mind but the comments people make on accounts or images based on body image really truly shocked me. An account I follow features a curvy girl, hips, boobs and bum, a Kim Kardashian type figure, the desirable hourglass. Yet the comments I saw featured the words fat, unhealthy, lazy and disgusting. Flip this over to another account featuring a girl documenting her struggle with anorexia and people are telling her that she needs to be a better role model like she used to be, she needs to eat more and stop struggling against her feeds, she’s too skinny. WHAT??? I am so disappointed in the people posting these comments that it genuinely made me angry and upset. I started thinking about my body image and my thoughts.

I am a petite 5,2-3 and have an hourglass figure. I have boobs and smaller waist, bigger hips, and not a massive bum. There are, of course, things I really want to change, mostly tone up my stomach and bum so I feel more comfortable in myself. I am not fat but I am by no means toned, yet it has taken me a long time to truly believe this myself. It is then it struck me that for me and my body I am bigger than I used to be and than I have been. This just means that I need to put more work into my body and do more exercise. It then of course dawned on me that instead of promoting a certain body type and portraying a version of ‘healthy’ the media and clothing brands should be portraying healthy figures as we all come in different shapes and sizes.

For those who are struggling with their body image because they think they are too fat or too thin, look at yourself and ask ‘am I healthy for my body type?’ That is the question we should be thinking about. My sister for example is taller, skinny and is pretty much straight with a good bum. Some people have said she’s too skinny, however, she has always been like this, she eats, she loves chocolate and is perfectly healthy for her and her body type.

My point being is that there are girls and men alike who are naturally more curvy, bigger, smaller, skinnier, taller, and quite frankly are body types we can’t have. For example I will never be able to be my sisters body type, I am simply not built like that, although I wish I had her bum it is just no possible for me to become as skinny as she is and if I ever could I think I would look ridiculous! Just the same as she can’t magically move her hip bones to make them similar to mine. IT JUST WON’T HAPPEN!

Of course we all have days where we look at ourselves and thing ERGH! but I want you to go away from this post and think ‘am I healthy for me?’. If the answer is yes then good! If the answer is no then think sensibly about what you need to do, do you need to eat more? do you need to balance your diet more? exercise? It’s important to recognize what you need to do for you, not what is portrayed in the media.

For me my fitness journey begins with a small amount of cardio then toning up the areas I wish could be better for my figure. I eat a balanced diet but do snack a lot so I will try to cut as many snacks out of my daily routine. I also like pizza way too much so that will be monitored too! Maybe I’ll buy one instead of getting a Dominoes 😉

What do you guys think of this? Do you agree?

A Little Piece of me…

Today I received my last Birchbox before I ended my subscription with them and in it was a little card with a quote that said,

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say” – F. Scott Fitzgerald. 

I feel as though in some of my more recent posts I have forgotten why I started this blog in the first place! I wanted to be honest in the way I felt about things to show people that its ok to have bad days, its ok to feel vulnerable and even though it feels wrong to be so that doesn’t mean you are being silly or weak etc. I started it because I wish someone had told me that before I learnt it myself! I feel as though recently I have been hiding and skimming over what I’ve actually been feeling or wanting to say and just writing for the sake of writing. The last couple of weeks have been pretty rubbish and although my new years theme is optimism that doesn’t mean I have to sugar coat everything!

From now on I am going to write my post as I intended them to be written and how they started off being written, honestly.

Muddling through | 2017 Goals

I wish I could tell you that I know exactly what I want from this year and how I’m going to get it, unfortunately it’s the opposite. Instead of feeling empowered at the bought of a new year I feel confused and muddled. 

Those of you who have read my previous post will know that my theme for the new year is positivity, no this doesn’t sound very positive but….baby steps! Or so I’m telling myself….

For the past couple of years I have written down goals for the year and have tried to fulfill as many as possible. Some may be long term ones and that’s ok, others I find easier to achieve and fulfill. However, when I sat down to write my goals for the year, my pen poised, ready to go…..that’s pretty much where it stayed, hovering over the blank paper. Crap! Was my initial thought, my second thought was how can I not think of anything?! 

In actual fact I can think of lots but at the moment my main goal is to work out what I want my future career to be and that is quite frankly all the goals put together! I feel so muddled around this I can’t think of anything else! Everyone has different opinions and I’m sat here wondering if curling up in a big puffy duvet for the rest of my time will suffice? 

I’m sure at some point I’ll manage to figure it out but in the meantime if you need me I’ll be under my big puffy duvet…

What are your goals for 2017? 

A sense of Community…

Communities appear in everyday life and whether we want to be or not we are all part of one. Being in a tough work environment, community to me feels really important, whether its the long hours, difficult shifts you need that sense of community to be able to push through and help you develop.

Of course at points there are going to be times where people don’t get on, it’s part of life, we clash, we fight and we make up but whats really hard is when you don’t feel art of that community. In an already difficult environment not feeling part of that community, a ‘rota filler’ as I describe it, feels very isolating and degrading. It can leave you feeling like your’re worthless and it wouldn’t matter if you aren’t around. So how do you overcome that?

In all honesty sometimes you can’t but simply accepting that people will let you down and disappoint you makes it easier. Expecting too much of people doesn’t help the feeling of not belonging. Just accept that no people are going to let me down, its what you do with this that counts. I have to say I learnt this the hard way, getting wound up about the lack of support isn’t going to help how you feel. Accept it, man up and deal with it yourself, not only will this help you be prepared for the next let down it’ll give you a sense of achievement that you have managed to sort whatever it is through yourself no matter how annoyed you are!

So if you are one of those people who value that support, look at what support you already have, it may not be the support you want but its there…

Tell me what you do in this situation? How do you manage this?

Stereotypes, Self Harm and Suicide…

At work the other day I worked with a self harmer and she read me a passage from two books. One was around self harm and the other a contemplation of suicide. Her passages were so different that we ended up in a discussion around the stereotypes. She is only young but had a lot to say! Because she reads these types of books a lot and has recently been heading towards the teen section she has noticed a big difference in the way suicide and self harm is depicted. The younger book had very dramatic scenes every now and then throughout the book but focused on harm to a girls stomach and how her ‘friends’ dealt with it. It seemed like it was used as a way to make the book more exciting and dramatic which in turn made the topic insensitive and unrealistic. The girl I was with explained how she used to identify with these books but now she sees that it is not discussed well. The other book was a teen book and discussed a scene where a girl stopped the school bully from committing suicide. The question that was asked in the book was ‘do you really want to kill yourself or the crap around you?’.

After looking up some statistics we actually discovered that males are more likely to commit suicide and females are more likely to self harm. we discussed that actually usually girls are depicted as both trying to commit suicide and self harm and the ones who do so are usually being bullied. Whilst I appreciate that this is a common cause of suicidal thoughts and self harm it is important to note that anyone from any background can have these thoughts. The second book even used the ‘bully’ as the one trying to commit suicide and the ‘victim’ the one who helped her in the end. Although this isn’t out of the stereotype role it was written in such a way that made you really think with the characters from each side. Comparing this to the previous book whose response to a character not knowing about what self harm is was ‘google it’.

The girl I was with was actually really upset by this as she spoke about how it undermined those who self harmed, making it into a dark humor scenario instead of facing it. This really got me thinking about how much awareness and discussion there really is. There are so many people who have thoughts about self harm and suicide and there are many people who carry these thoughts out. Yet in this day and age it seems as though it is something that people still sweep under the rug, maybe they don’t want to hear it or don’t know how to deal with it, but whatever the reason there are people out there with these thoughts that maybe just need someone to support them and not judge them, no matter what the issue is. Even the girl I was working with explained the feeling of release and the sense of control it gives you when you can’t control anything else in your life yet afterwards it doesn’t feel any better, but it’s your only release. She did however say that no it’s not that she wants to die but she just wants the crap around her to go away so she can start a new life and not feel like she does.

To all you out there who feel as though self harm and suicide are your only options, is it really you or the crap around you that’s made you feel so low about yourself and life?

World Mental Health Day!

Hello everyone!

It’s world Mental Health day so I thought I may as well do a post thats relevant!

Although Mental Health awareness has increased over the past few years it still isn’t where it needs to be. There are so many people who suffer with forms of mental illness, anxiety, depression, stress, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia just to name a few. Whether you suffer severely or minimally it shouldn’t make a difference, mental health is mental health and just because it can’t be seen, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be heard.

Having a mental health disorder can be such an isolating thing, feeling as though you can’t or have no one to talk to in the world around you has a negative effect. For all of you suffering out there. Stop. I don’t mean stop suffering, I mean stop listening to stigmas and people who’d rather ignore it because they haven’t experienced it or are scared of it. It’s NOT something,thing to be ashamed of.  Whatever you ‘suffer’ from, own it. Make it yours.  Find that person you can rely on and that solution you need. You are your own person and having a mental health disorder doesn’t change that.

Personally I think that it will only make you stronger. You will have more experience of highs and lows, more experience of overcoming hardships in life and experience of fighting through the low to come back out stronger the other end. It may not feel like an achievement going through a low, especially if you are currently in one. But think about it, you have been that low, had dark thoughts going round your head, potentially done dark things, but…you are still here. 

If you suffer from any mental illness, own it. Make it your own strength, your own super power. 

Writers Block…

I have it… I keep looking at my blog post ideas book and thinking ‘nah’ to Every. Single. Idea. It’s something that’s really annoying because normally I have so much to talk about! 

The more frustrated you get with it the more you feel blocked! And the harder you think the more nothing sounds or feels right. It feels as though nothing right is good enough, that everyone’s going to hate it, no one will read it etc. It’s such a strange pressure to put on yourself when it’s something I do, and others do, as a hobby. There isn’t a deadline or expectation yet we create one. I always try to get mine out on the days I set at exactly the right times, I put the pressure on myself to do that because I enjoy writing my blogs. 

True it’s not like I get a lot of readers but I enjoy writing and I like interacting with all of you out there, it’s a nice space of the Internet to be in so when the dreaded writers block happens it’s like a countdown of a ticking bomb to get a blog post out and find it in the depths of your mind! It’ll be in there somewhere, won’t it? 

Does anyone else get this? What do you guys do? 

Mental Health | The Good the Bad and the Ugly…

This post is actually going to be based on a BBC News link that my mum sent me and if I’m honest I was pretty frustrated when I read it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-37504679

The Good side to this article is that there are ways in which you can receive help and with thanks to the NHS (if you live in the UK that is), help is more accessible than ever. So WHY have things not improved???

It makes me frustrated that people still feel as though they can’t talk or seek help. Maybe some don’t want it or aren’t ready to seek it yet but for those who do there is a huge waiting list for counselling/therapies when applying or being referred through the NHS. This may not be their fault directly due to budget cuts etc but I feel as though there are things that could help. The media for example could help to prevent depression/anxiety over body image etc by promoting a healthy figure instead of models who look like skeletons. Yes there has been progress with plus sized models etc but companies are so reluctant to support a ‘normal’ size model in their campaign. Of course the recent Calvin Klein ad featuring a ‘plus size’ model who was a size 10 caused uproar….I wonder why! Unrealistic expectations of body image can kick-start the amount of young people suffering from depression/anxiety and I’m not just talking about females!

The stigma of having a Mental Health disorder, common or not, is still present which in this day and age makes it worse considering how prevalent the topic is. There are those which don’t understand the feeling of having anxiety or depression who think that its something which will just ‘go away’ and don’t want to think about the problems that come along with it. I have to be honest and admit that although I am, or try to be, an advocate for mental health and increasing awareness there have been times where I’ve been embarrassed to admit that I suffer from anxiety. This shouldn’t be the case for ANYONE, no matter what age, gender or beliefs. I feel as though sometimes people view it as an excuse and there have been times where, personally, I have felt judged and have received that ‘this girl is crazy’ look. Not a nice feeling.

So as not to end this post on a sour note those who do and don’t have mental illness can still be supportive which really does make you feel like you’re not alone and crazy! Since writing about anxiety and my own experiences on here the support that I have felt and comments I have had made me feel so much better and so more normal than I actually feel. I only hope that my blog can do the same for some of you out there as having a mental illness, no matter how big or small is not something you should feel ashamed of.

Being just ‘ok’…

The premise of being ‘ok’ has caused an ongoing debate between me and my partner. Whenever anyone asks me how I am the answer is always, by default, ‘I’m ok thanks, you?’. Standard response no? According to my partner this is not an acceptable response from me…he knows me too well…. but as I explain to him having anxiety generally makes me not good but not bad either, so surely I am ok?

Whether you have anxiety or not being ‘ok’, in my opinion, is one of the most mysterious replies you can give. Why? because there could be so many meanings behind it. You could genuinely be ok, nothing spectacular has happened but you aren’t feeling rubbish, you are simply ‘ok’. You could also be spectacular but want to hide it for some reason or another, on the other hand you could be hiding the fact that you are feeling spectacularly shit and don’t want anyone to know or talk about it. Or you just can’t be bothered to talk to someone…

For me I use the term ‘ok’ because normally I genuinely have no idea how I’m feeling and it’s easier than having to explain what numb, lost and confused means or put so much energy into feigning that I’m the most joyous person in the world! Surely ‘ok’ is a better response than pretending to be happy? It takes a lot less energy I can tell you that. 

However…coming from my partners point of view it must be so hard and frustrating when all I say is ‘I’m ok’. For someone who genuinely cares about you surely more effort should go into answering how you really are not just the answer you would give a stranger in the street? 

In summary I think you should give people whatever response you would like, however, for those who truly care putting that little bit extra into the answer of the dreaded ‘how are you?’ question might just help both sides out, yourself for being able to explore how you are feeling more (a scary and impossible thing I know) and allowing them to feel respected and needed. 

Being ‘too sensitive’…

As I have spoken about before school life wasn’t exactly what I’d call fun. When I say this, I am aware that there are many people out there who have had it worse than me but speaking from my own experiences I will say that it is not something I would like to relive.

If I had the chance to go back ad do it all again one of the things, and perhaps the main thing I would change would be to have more of a backbone. Even I admit that when I was younger and started my senior school years, I wasn’t the most hardened and was overly sensitive to what people thought (or what I thought they thought) and how they acted towards and around me. This was always a sore point for me as I hated it, everyone used to say ‘stop being so sensitive’ or ‘you’re so sensitive’ if I ever got upset when anyone said something that I deemed, unnecessary or mean.

Surely though everyone’s different? So what if I was sensitive? Surely that should mean that people should respect my feelings more? I, personally always try to be more aware of what I am saying when around people who I know are more sensitive, or when I am talking about a sensitive topic.

I guess my point is that just because I was sensitive, does that mean I should have got picked on? It wasn’t just me either, those who were deemed unpopular and sensitive often got picked on more than those who weren’t.

I would like to say that those people didn’t have an effect on me, but, if I am being 100% honest they have. Along with my school experience and other experiences I got to a stage where I felt weak and unimportant, like nobody listens or cares, as a result I slowly became numb to my emotions and in order to stop myself getting hurt or upset by comments, I took on a persona. My persona became someone who I thought was the opposite to me, strong, brave, independent and most importantly at the time, someone who had a backbone. I kept building up my walls and defenses until I just felt nothing, instead it bothered me in a different way, I became so full of anger at the unfairness of these comments and angry at myself that I ended up becoming extremely anxious and depressed.

I don’t want to make this all about people who appear to be ‘sensitive’ as there are many who are strong because they have been through so much, however, maybe, just maybe, people will eventually think about what they are saying to others whether they appear strong or ‘sensitive’.

Everyone has their own story…