This Summer, Allow Yourself To Take Up The Space You Deserve

11 May 2018

Summer is rolling in, like a big scoop of sexy ice cream. And so then must the ‘get ready for summer’ campaigns the media just love to inflict on us. Women; you know the drill. Head in the direction of razors and diets and fake tan: it’s peak season for all your insecurities to explode out of your sweaty (too big) pores.

It’s hot, you’d rather not boil alive in a pair of black tights - I mean, who does? So skin is on show and suddenly you’re worrying about all the things you’d managed to bury in the back of your mind whilst in the midst of chunky knits and winter coats. Pale legs, stomach rolls, unshaved bikini lines, unpainted toe nails… blah blah blah. Already, you’re missing the ease that winter brings; that ability to hide your entire body under mountains of clothes. Jeans and jumpers have a crackin’ knack of looking dandy but not revealing the fact that you haven’t shaved or ate a slice of Christmas cake for breakfast. Summer dresses? Not so much. Although I’d be interested to know why you’re eating Christmas cake for breakfast in August (interested, but not judging).

My relationship with my body sits somewhere in the middle of the spectrum with full-on love at one end and full-on hate at the other; I imagine that’s the case for a lot of people. I am all about adapting body positive ways of thinking but I am not immune to the skinny-is-best mantra forced on us from so many angles, and it’s hard to unlearn twenty-six-years worth of body insecurities which are deep-rooted in the crevices of my brain.

The journey to embracing my body is very much on-going. But I’m moving forward every day.

I recently read the book Dietland by Sarai Walker – a novel which, at its core, is a massive fuck-you to the weight loss industry, to gender inequality – and it was utterly, brilliantly, punch-in-the-air delicious. It’s still sat on our coffee table because I can’t move it to the book shelf just yet. I keep picking it up, flicking back through the pages, re-reading paragraphs, sentences. I want half the novel framed in quotes around my flat.

It’s lit a fire in me. Or, I suppose, added a lot of fuel to a fire that was already flickering. I am so determined to banish those deep-rooted thoughts in the crevices of my brain and reading a book like Dietland has pushed me to keep going. From an impressionable young age, we are drip-fed this idea that a slimmer body size means you are attractive, successful and worthy of celebration. And whilst we are slowly seeing changes in attitudes and in the media, it’s hard to truly unpick and rewrite those messages.

But I’m sure as hell gonna give it my best shot.

I want to eat well, to exercise regularly. To truly enjoy food – broccoli and cookies – and feel the power of my muscles as I run. I want to give my body the best I can give it; fuel it, energise it, indulge it.

The shape of it is irrelevant. I believe that more now than I have ever done.

When those pressures of the summer season come along and chip at you to be smoother, blonder and, mostly, skinnier; quietly – or loudly – tell those buggers, the insecurities and the media bullshit that put them there, to go fuck themselves. You do not need to be preened or plucked to be the best version of you. And you certainly, categorically, do not need to be smaller, to take up less space in the world. Take all the space you want and deserve girl, you’re fucking fabulous.