Ok so first of all I have to point out that you may be offended by the post you’re about to read … Then again, as it’s aimed at the ‘normal’ people in this world (a’hem – most of the population) so it really shouldnt, but if it does – Hey, I did warn you right!?
So earlier this week Kimberley Henderson (article here) posted a pic of her ‘normal’ looking stomach and wanted to show that she was normal, with her stretch marks and slight flabby belly.
Now it really stuck a chord with me (in a good way) and it got me thinking about how we (women in particular) see ourselves. I was in two minds whether to actually post my response or not. My fear wasn’t because I could end up getting negative feedback, it was more that I didn’t want people to think I was jumping on the publicity bandwagon … Anyway after some debating I thought that what I felt I had to say was too important for me to just disregard, and I know that there are other people out there who will agree with me (once you see where I am coming from!)
I am a lover of Kimberley’s post, it was wonderful and warmed my heart to see a woman being proud of her body – so many people in this day and age are striving and killing themselves (ok not quite literally but they are killing their spirit) trying to look like the (airbrushed) photos of celebs in the magazines. I’m also thrilled to hear it’s had a huge positive impact on moms with normal bodies, jiggly bits and less toned parts – looking past those ‘flaws’ as they were once seen and celebrated for they are the result of babies.
However it struck me that there’s another angle to be considered by this topic and I would be very surprised if people were to disagree with me. It made me think what about the ‘others’. Surely you don’t have to be a ‘mom’ to be accepted ‘warts and all’ (as the saying goes)…?
When I say others, I mean the other people with normal bodies that don’t in fact have children but may have jiggly bits, are not toned or have stretch marks. Because they are out there and they should be Included. I myself am one of these ‘other people’ and I believe that’s why I have another perspective on this topic.
First of all meet the ‘too busy working people’ …
Over six years ago before I was diagnosed with ME I used to work full-time (Mon – Fri, 9-5) but it didn’t stop there, because being solo meant that I had to also work weekends (behind a bar in a rugby club!) and any other extra shifts I could get in order to pay my rent, council tax, utility bills and all those other costs that come with having a home. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining – I loved it. I loved my little flat, with my little cat and dog, working and having a routine but it meant that work came first. Because work = more money which meant if I was lucky, I would be able to afford something nice for myself other than it all going towards bills.
This rigorous routine meant that time was limited (as well as money) so my work out was walking to and from work, I joined a ramblers club with my friend (hello Lou-la-boo!) for the Sunday’s I had the energy to go and I did exercise DVDs in my own flat. Joining a gym was always too pricy to maintain and it would cost to get there and back both money wise and energy wise. I realise I was lucky because I managed to have those spare minutes to work out, but consider the people who don’t have those extra hours to fit in exercise or can’t walk to work because it’s not feasible…
I should point out that there will be moms and dads out there (yes – men are included in this topic) who are also included in this group ^^ who will be whooping because they too are juggling all of these things plus a child or two!
Then this begins me to the other ‘other group’… ‘the ‘sick’ people…
So after years of a crazy routine, working all the hours I could, trying to keep fit and spreading myself too thinly, I ended up ill. like seriously ill – sleeping over 18 hours a day, suffering terrible infections, colds, being run down … And so on and so on until I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) … That’s when life changed for me.
One of the things with ME is that you don’t always look ill. Usually if I am out in public I look really well (and get told so) but that’s for two reasons, 1 I make an effort to look human because trips outside the house are rare so it’s like a big thing for me! Secondly I usually ONLY go out when I am feeling a 7 or 8 (my hubby has a scale that measures how I feel) so I probably will look well…. (Anyway i digress)… There are other people out there who will be dealing with a health condition – whatever it might be (mental, emotional, physical) – exercise might be anything from off-limits (like it is for me) to not yet possible (and maybe even never possible) so it can be pretty tough for these people (believe me – I’ve been there).
I hated that I couldn’t exercise and feel good about my body, and when people would post their ‘workout’ session info on Facebook or social networks it made me feel a failure, angry, frustrated and just so many other negative things! I know it’s not their fault but there does seem to be an obsession this day and age with people wanting to look perfect (I blame the airbrushed photos and all that ‘photoshopping’ that goes on!) and that can really hit you hard when you cannot do those things.
There may well be some other groups that I haven’t considered but I’m hoping you’ll get my point. Basically I don’t think it should just be ‘moms’ celebrating their normal bodies, it should be each and every one of us for we are all fighting some kind of battle and trying to do our best.
I know it might sound like it’s an easy thing for me to say (as I am at peace with myself) but I have been at the point where I hated everything about myself and my life so its taken me time to get here.
Just before I met my (now) husband I was in a pretty dark place – health, work, life all felt frustrating because it all felt so Bleugh! But I had what you could sort of call an epiphany (I got my mojo back) because I realised that I had so much going for myself and that actually things were changing for the better. Since then I have become (without sounding airy fairy) at peace with myself. It’s taken a lot of soul-searching, support and love from a wonderful husband and changing my perceptions towards battling my health. I have had wobbles where I lose my mojo for an hour or so but it doesn’t last long and it’s usually a frustration about my health.
So rather than focus on the fact that you may not be toned, skinny, slim, curvy or whatever it is you are wanting to be, take a minute. Focus on all the things you DO have, all the things you ARE able to do, the small simple things in life and concentrate on those. Because focusing on the positive can help you to learn to love yourself.
So, on a final note, here’s to being ‘normal’ tall, small, fat, thin, toned, wobbly and everything in between – love your body because you only have one one, and one life for that matter – so live it!