This week I have been writing about body image for mental health awareness week. I’ve written about how we let body image affect us mentally, the shocking facts of how our appearance affects our minds, and finally how filters and selfies are helping us tell self-lies. But I think it is only right that I also discuss how my body image has had an impact on me.
Recent weight issues
Ironically I’ve been more conscious of my body image this week than I have been in a long time, because I’ve noticed that recently I have put on a little bit of weight. It all began when I was performing in a show and we had some photos taken during the dress rehearsals. It became obvious that I wasn’t as slim as I used to be, and this has knocked my confidence about my body.
I’ve never been the type of person that obsesses about their weight, I don’t tend to weigh myself or get caught up in calorie-counting. I have been fairly lucky that during my teens and early twenties, I had a quick metabolism so I could get-away with not eating as well as I should have been. But this is catching up with me now, and I was shocked to find that according to the NHS weight chart, I am now one stone overweight – great! So this week I’ve been eating healthy and making sure I at least get my five-a-day. In the next few weeks I will attempting to shift these pounds, but I’m trying not to let this overwhelm me.
Other issues I have had about my body include having a small ridge in my nose. This used to really bother me and I hated side-profile photos of myself. As I have got older, I have learned to not let the effect me as much. I read an article about a girl who had a similar nose to mine and she got a nose job. She spoke about her regret of getting this plastic surgery because when it was too late, she realised that this is part of her family’s identity, and it made her unique. I like to remind myself of this when I start to get all self-loathing about my nose.
This was the number one thing that affected my confidence as a teenager. I had barely no breasts – I once heard the phrase, like two aspirins on an ironing board, and I thought, that’s me! I was tall and slim and I felt unattractive. I would constantly tell myself I had the body of a boy. When I wanted to date, I felt insecure because I thought no-one would be attracted to me when we live in a world where big breasts is seen as sexy. It really got me down. But in reality, this was never the case – boys I dated were attracted to me and none of them ever said the horrible things I would tell myself. Once I began to realise that people saw me for more than just my body, and it wasn’t an issue for them, I stopped making it an issue for me. I like the way I am now and have made peace with that niggling voice in my head that would tell me that my smalls boobs weren’t attractive.
In my family we have what is known as the ‘Colley gap’ in our front teeth, it’s not huge but me and my dad both have this gap. I hated it growing up and really wanted a brace. My bottom teeth are also slightly wonky and I really don’t like them. All this combined, I never smile with my teeth in photos, in fact I actually don’t even know how to now.
I was told by the dentist as a child that my teeth weren’t “bad enough” to get a brace on the NHS, and my family didn’t have the money to pay for one – so now I still have the same teeth, and it is one of my biggest physical insecurities. One day when I can afford to pay for a treatment, I will get a brace, but for now I have to accept them.
Overall I feel so much more confident in my own skin in general, I know I want lose a little bit of weight, but I just want to be healthy. I no longer obsess as much about my nose, teeth and boobs like I used to, there’s so much freedom in accepting yourself for who you are because we’re all unique in our own way.