AUGUST 21, 2018
I am a woman and this is my body.
It’s the belly fat. It drives me nuts. Only those closest to me know this.
And then Beyonce talked about her “FUPA” in Vogue and it pushed me further toward insanity.
Belly fat is like an annoying family member—no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem get rid of it, lol. Rocking oversized clothes keeps me looking like I’m forever channelling The Row, I pay for a nutritionist that I can't really afford and I’m in a very complicated relationship with the gym. I do all this shit and sometimes I just wanna give up. Sigh. Women. As far as we’ve come, no-one knows how to punish us more than we do ourselves. It’s also harder when everyone around you thinks you’re the most confident person in the world and the last thing you feel comfortable doing is revealing how insecure you are.
I can deal with not having a thigh gap—summertime chafing isn’t so bad now after discovering the oil trick. I can even put up with semi-flabby arms and I kind of think stretch marks are sexy (cue Kendrick Lamar's, "HUMBLE.") but this tummy trouble has had me twisted for the better part of a decade. I’m not even sure when it started. I’ve always had a small-ish frame and waist but I assume that those years at uni when I adopted a strict diet of cheap alcohol and carbs might have had something to do with it. Fuck, fuck, fuck. I never even thought to take care of my body then because I didn’t think it would ever change. Big fucking mistake. Mum, I know you warned me this would happen but I thought I was invincible.
The other day I asked Vick if had gained the weight I lost recently. I recorded his reply. “I love your body and I love making love to your body. But it’s not up to me, it’s up to you to change how you feel.” For as long as we’ve been together, I only wish I could love my body as much as he does. I want to be able to practice what I preach about loving yourself no matter what. But it’s hard.
When 2018 came around, I took a leaf out of Bridget Jones’s Diary and promised myself it would be the year I would lose weight, get into shape AND feel healthy. Pretty fucking ambitious right? My journey began back in May when I found myself a bomb ass nutritionist. I figured if I went back to the beginning and started to understand my relationship with food, I could make significant changes that would get me back into health mode. And by that I mean FEELING healthy and energized vs tryna be IG skinny. And while I’ve managed to implement and stick with most of the changes, save my addiction to pizza (I will NOT give up Roberta's), I’ve started to realize that my fluctuating weight is equal parts mental health as it is food.
Cue two topics that have played leading roles in my life: stress and trauma. Over the years, I’ve put my body through hell and now we’re both tired. Trauma on the mind and body requires immense strength. In trying to keep myself safe and push through, I ignore what my body needs and enter survival mode which ultimately screws us all. Now I'm trying to make a conscious effort to face stress head on, rather than holding it in my GUT which is where it has moved in, rent free for so many years. Cortisol is a real thing people, ask Google.
Last week, two significant events occurred that made me think of the female body in particular. Firstly, after 6 weeks I got my period and it was fucking agony. It was by far the worst pain I’ve had so naturally I made a huge deal about it on Instagram but really, it made me think about how taboo the topic still is. The most natural thing in the world still makes people feel weird and as a girlfriend reminded me, "It's not chic." Well not me. Last week I acted like the least chic Tampax spokesperson and a lot of you folk reached out and said "same". Thank you.
Thought-provoking event number 2 happened when I went to a creative gathering at a friend’s place and after 2 glasses of rose, a group of strangers dove straight into the topic of sex toys and orgasms. I can’t remember the last time I’d even had a discussion with any of my friends about my sex life but omg it was liberating af. It reminded me not to put our bodies on the back burner of our lives or on the bench of our conversations. People face some real shit and while my belly insecurities aren’t necessary life-threatening, attributing my relationship with my body to my mental health was an important discovery for me, if not an obvious one.
So where do we go from here? The answer is that I don’t have one but I think being grateful for your own body no matter what is a start and step two is to stop comparing yourself to everyone else. Even though we all do it. Step 3? Receive love. This is major key. In allowing my body to accept unconditional love, I’ve learned how to love the parts of myself that I've ignored and pretended didn’t exist. Now I acknowledge them, in my clothes and out loud, me, my belly and I.
PS. I decided to wear body-con today sans Spanx and I feel like a bad bitch.