Hello everyone! This is my first instalment of What You Don’t Say. If you missed the introduction to the series you can read it here. But here’s a quick summary anyway. What You Don’t Say will be a series of blog posts written by various people about topics people don’t talk about very often or topics I feel people need to talk about more. The writers will share their story about a particular issue and how they overcame or learnt to deal with the issue and offer advice to other people who may be going through the same or similar situation.
Today is one personal to me and it is about how when you’re feeling down and stressed, it’s easy to pick out the things you hate or don’t like about your body. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve cried about my body, and the worst part is, it’s all in my head. Hence the title, Unhealthy Mind, Unhealthy Body. I am going to share some things that at different periods of time, I have disliked about my body. Parts of me that have caused me sadness, stress, anxiety, anger and frustration. They’re parts of me I don’t always dislike, but at some point in time, they have stood out and made me feel really negative emotions about my body. Most of the time I love my body as a whole but, yes, of course, every now and then you’re going to have a low moment and that’s what I think a lot of people will relate to. We’re all human, I don’t know many people who at some point or another haven’t looked at themselves and pointed out something they don’t like. I am so lucky to have people in my life that remind me that the things about my body that I think are bad, aren’t actually as bad as I think, and that is why I don’t hate my body all the time.
This is actually quite nerve-wracking for me, talking about the things I dislike about my body. I’m having a ‘holy shit, I am sharing my most personal dislikes about my body for everyone to read‘ moment. This is going to be on the internet forever. Oh. My. God. Yes, it’s quite personal but I’m doing it to help others and who knows, I might end up helping myself in the meantime. But anyway, here goes nothing…
Something I regularly point out and dislike about my body is my boobs. I have saggy boobs that point downwards and for my age, I always question myself and my body when I see other girls my age with perkier boobs than me. It’s like I almost get jealous. My partner does like to remind me that they perfect for breastfeeding (when I have kids) and this does bring me some calm and contentment but when I’m feeling down, they’re usually the first thing my brain picks out. I know boobs come in all shapes and sizes and it’s completely normal for them to sag. I guess it is mostly a jealousy thing and who knows what they’ll look like after having kids! Let’s hope they don’t reach my belly button… Ha ha!
Stretch marks… They’re the bane of my existence. I have talked about my own stretch marks a couple of times recently and how I feel like my body is taking its revenge for not having an awful puberty stage. It’s more of an adjustment thing for me, something a lot of girls have to deal with when they are in their teens, but for me, here I am at 21 dealing with those bright red and purple stretch marks. The stretch marks I got as a teenager were always white, I never got the coloured ones until last year. Now, they wrap around my hips and thighs and even across the tops of my boobs. Stretch marks are something pretty much every woman I know and some men have and they’re something hundreds of companies are trying to get people to get rid of. The problem I have is that the stretch marks people call beautiful are the ones that women get when they’re pregnant, they’ve earned their stretch marks. The ones that people like me get, aren’t beautiful or worthy of being shown because they aren’t caused by growing a baby. They’re caused by growing in my own body. I even just had a look at some Instagram hashtags and you know what a lot of them are. – #stretchmarksbegone #stretchmarkscream #stretchmarksnomore #stretchmarkssuck #stretchmarksremover – They are all negative. Companies play on people’s insecurities to make money, and that is not OK with me.
My body scars and bruises easily and I think that is the reason why my body has done this. This is something I have never heard other people talk about so it could be something only a few people get or it’s just something people don’t talk about very often because it’s pretty personal. The skin between my legs has discoloured many shades darker than my actual skin. It is something I have been so self-conscious about for years and I remember the exact comment that made me feel bad about them. “How’d you get those bruises between your legs?” I could’ve died. It was some girl at school when we were doing swimming. I was so embarrassed about them from that moment on, all the way through to adulthood. They were something when I first started dating my partner I didn’t want him seeing, i.e. no lights on during sexytime. But now, I couldn’t give two shits about them because they are just part of my body and my partner has helped me feel much more comfortable about them.
As many of you know by now I have IBS aka Irritable Bowel Syndrome. When I am having a flare up, I can have some really negative emotions about my body. I bloat, feel uncomfortable, I’m in pain and I tend to get really emotional. When I have had a really bad flare up I have actually said, I hate my body. I. Hate. My. Body. That is something I never thought I would say. I feel like my body is turning against me and doesn’t love me in return. Flare ups are something I really dislike about my body just because of the way they make me feel. But they are nowhere near as often as they used to be because I now know what causes majority of them so I am able to avoid them.
Last but not least, the big one, anxiety. Anxiety is something I have been struggling with for the past 10 years. Yes, way back in 2007 is the first anxiety/panic attack I remember having. I call it an anxiety attack when I have really strong anxious/fear feelings, when I start crying and hyperventilating, I call that a panic attack. They can usually go hand in hand but if I am able to manage the anxiety attack, I can prevent the panic attack from setting in. 2016 was my absolute worst year for anxiety and it caused me to be anxious and on edge for a lot of the year. I was anxious about work, what other people thought about me, my health and of course my body. Stress caused my anxiety to get worse and now that I am out of the stressful situation, my anxiety is almost non-existent. It comes around every now and then to remind me that he’s still there, but I definitely don’t struggle with it nearly as much as I used to. Anxiety can make you feel like you’re not enough. That is something my anxiety planted in my head many times last year. ‘You aren’t enough.’ But through seeking help from my Doctor and psychologist, removing myself from an awful and stressful environment and being surrounded by those who love and support me, I learnt to manage my anxiety enough that I am able to cope with it by myself now. I am able to recognise anxious feelings when they first start and I know what to do to prevent them from getting worse.
I’ve learnt how to overcome a lot of these negative emotions about my body by placing positive affirmations around the house (check out my Pinterest board for them here). For every negative things I say about my body, I say two positive ones. For example I love my eyes, I love that I have thick, healthy hair, I am strong, I am hopeful, I have soft, caring hands… etc. And finally when I am feeling down, I keep a gratitude journal. Yes, I know it is something I should do everyday but I am quite forgetful. I know when I start writing down the things in my life that I am grateful for, my mood improves, I start looking for the positives and I can easily ignore the negatives.
So there it is, my first instalment of What You Don’t Say. I hope you enjoyed it, or that it helped you in some way. If you think it will help someone you know, please share it with them. Remember, if you would like to be involved at some point with What You Don’t Say, please leave a comment or send me a message as I want as many people as possible to be involved. Don’t be scared about your story, I will help and guide you and you may help so many more people than you think. That’s really the big goal with this, it’s to help people and to write posts people can relate to. It definitely was scary writing this blog post and I have no idea what kind of feedback I will get for it. If you’re still reading, thank you and I appreciate all the time you put into reading my work.
How do you deal with negative emotions about your body?
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