I’m 42 and totally in love with my body. Let me tell you, it has been quite a journey to get to this stage! Growing up I spent three years in the Swedish Royal Opera Ballet School, where I learned to loathe any body that wasn’t super skinny, strong and flexible. Daily posing in front of huge mirrors, constantly checking for things to correct taught me that there was always something not quite right with my body.
And this is why I chose to not put my own children through ballet training. It might teach you good posture and make you more flexible… but at what cost? My feet are ruined for life too.
I went through phases with more or less serious eating disorders and a couple of my friends developed severe anorexia. None of us were truly happy, constantly striving toward some unreachable goal of bodily perfection… always told to push ourselves harder.
At 5 ft 6, I always imagined that I should be no bigger than a UK size 8, even long after giving up on my dance dreams. Size 8 is not quite skinny enough for a real ballerina, of course, but it would do among civilians. I mostly managed a size 10 but was one size away from my ideal most of my adult life, constantly feeling as if I could only lose those last 5 stubborn pounds, I would be happy or at least somehow… worthy.
Because I wasn’t happy with myself, I was insecure and incapable of radiating beauty from within – looking to my partner to confirm to me what I was unable to validate within. That never worked. Anyone who has tried to do the same knows the feeling of never being able to receive enough validation from the outside to feel completely satisfied.
It wasn’t until I put on weight during my last pregnancy and stubbornly stayed a size 14 long after my miscarriage at 15 weeks that I learned to love and appreciate my body and its natural curves.
My partner left not long after the miscarriage and needless to say that did nothing to boost my confidence levels. But I was so busy grieving that I honestly didn’t care much what I looked like any more.
Some time after my double loss, I briefly dated a man who was thoughtless enough to ask me if he would ever see that sylph-like figure of mine. I was so gobsmacked by this rude remark from what I considered a civilized human being that it took me a couple of weeks to finish with him. I mean, did he actually really say that!? In hindsight, did me a huge favour because he made me see through the misogyny that motivates the female beauty ideal we see everywhere in media today.
Essentially, it’s Barbie. The media ideal promotes curves on a stick figure that no woman at size 10 or smaller can sport without implants. They want us to constantly feel insecure so that they can manipulate what we buy. Two words: F*ck that!
Twenty-four percent of women say they would give up more than three years of life to be thinner.
Poll conducted by Psychology Today
Then it dawned on me that my ideal body shape for my height is exactly the size I am now. Yep, size 14 is better than fine… I love my curves! There was a time when I felt so fat if I gained a couple of pounds and no longer fit into my size 10 jeans that I would literally hide in baggy clothes until I had made the weight come off. Now I proudly wear tight-fitting clothes to show off my lovely curves!
Long intro to a small spread. But I hope and pray that it will help you to finally be happy with your own body if you struggle with this. We each have an ideal body shape and it may not be what we think it is! Allow this reading to inform you about what is best for you and how to be truly happy with your naturally gorgeous self.