It’s 22 degrees outside. For those of you outside of the UK, this is a pretty big deal!
Just one more degree and we’ll be complaining en masse about how it’s far too hot and we can’t possibly survive it much longer. We’re a fickle bunch. We don’t know how long this sunshine will last so we’re all over it straight away. Sun cream is being liberally applied. Paddling pools are being filled with ice cold water. BBQs are being dragged into the garden and that dusty bottle of Pimms are being pulled out of the cupboard.
SUMMER IS HERE!
That means only one thing.
No, not bronzing in a beer garden without a care in the world. Not frolicking through a meadow in a swishy white dress and a straw hat with my children by my side. It means fretting about my nowhere near ‘Summer ready’ body. It’s that time of year where it’s too hot to wear clothes so the cardigan is relegated and the bingo wings are out. (Boots have been warning me it’s time to prepare but once again, like every year past, I just left it too late. )
I hate it, really hate it.
I love the summer. I love the warmth on my face and the fact that life is just that little bit brighter in the sunshine. What I hate is the feeling that I’m either hanging out all over the place or slowly cooking inside.
The sunshine also brings with it the Summer wardrobe. An interesting and eclectic mix of fashions.
There are those who are wearing jumpers, fleece jackets, scarfs and cardigans as if it’s 5 degrees outside and then there are those wearing next to nothing. Topless men and women in little more than bras as if that suddenly became acceptable in Waitrose (Oh how terribly posh).
I scorn at these people in all their fleshy goodness. I say to myself “really, is that really school run attire?” but the reality? I’m jealous. There, I said it. My name is Anna and I am jealous. I’m jealous of those ladies with a thigh gap and boobs that probably stay right there even without a bra and those lines on their stomachs. I believe they’re called ‘Abs’. I’m jealous of their short shorts and strappy vests and slightly bulgey bits at the top of their arms (or ‘muscles’).
Then I’m jealous of those larger women. The ones with the muffin top over their skinny jeans. Their back boobs. Their bingo wings, their cleavage that looks a bit like a leather bike stand.
In both cases it’s not the bodies I’m jealous of, it’s the confidence that those women ooze. The confidence in themselves and their bodies that makes them feel so utterly comfortable dressing for the heat and in a way that makes them feel happy and cool.
Take Tess Holliday as an example. I am so jealous and in awe of her. I don’t look at her and think ‘I’d like a body like hers’, not because there is anything wrong with her body, it’s fab, I just figure if I’m unhappy with my body as it is, then gaining weight won’t make me happier (I’d have her face though! She is one pretty dame). It’s the confidence she exudes that I’m jealous of. It’s immense. She is so genuinely happy and comfortable being her. She absolutely does not give a shit about bingo wings, flobby thighs or what people think.
Where does this confidence come from? Is it innate or can it be learned?
I asked this question a few years back on Facebook and my lovely friends who would never say mean things to my face (but probably say mean things behind my back because, y’know, that’s how people are) all commented on how I should be proud and confident as this body had made, carried and birthed children.
It had done exactly what it was designed for and it has the badges to show its achievements. The stretch marks, the kangaroo pouch, the deflated boobs (I can’t blame the bingo wings, fat arse and thighs on my children, they’re thanks to crappy genes, wine and chocolate).
My lack of confidence in my body isn’t due to having children. It’s something that’s lingered since my dawn of time. For as long as I can remember I’ve been aware that I was fat and felt uncomfortable in my body. When I met Rory I was probably the slimmest I’d ever been (I oft feel sorry for him, he must feel a bit conned at times, he fell for a fitty and now has a fatty) but I really thought I was fat. It was wasted on me. Today, I’d give a limb to be that slim again, heck if I actually lost a limb I still wouldn’t be as light as I was then!
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been doing slimming world, I lost nearly two stone* (stands and bows). On the one hand I was very pleased with myself, on the other I saw no difference and felt as big as I’ve ever done. Though, rather sweetly, Aoife tells me ‘mummy you’re not fat, you’re beautiful’. *heartmelt* This almost counteracts the times when she pushes her hand onto my tummy declaring with delight “look mummy, it goes really far in”.
Thing is, due to this stupid lack of body confidence, I’m sat here sweltering in the heat in a pair of cropped jeans, upstairs in a drawer I have a pair of jersey shorts that I bet will be lovely and cool but I won’t go and put them on in case I gross Rory out when he gets in and he realises that (shock, horror) I gained some weight in the last 8 years! Plus side, I may sweat the pounds off!
So, how do I get me some body confidence? Is it available from Amazon? Is it just the hand we’re dealt? Like they only had 70% confidence to dish out to humans and I was in the loo so I missed out on it?
More importantly, how do I make sure Aoife and Seth grow up with body confidence? They have tonnes now, they both love to run around naked and think nothing of how they look. Since birth both have ‘enjoyed’ comments like “Oh isn’t s/he heavy” “How much does s/he weigh” “Isn’t s/he big” “S/he looks like s/he eats well” from loving family members and I’ve managed to counteract that by saying “They’re just old and silly” But what if it leaves a mark? What if that’s the chink in the armour that can be slowly chipped away at by media, society and peers? My worry is they will become, overtime, body unconfident. Somehow, it’s my job to stop that happening……
So, while everyone else is enjoying the sun, feeling cool and wonderful, I’ll continue to feel rather awkward with my arms out and rather warm with my jeans on and fretting about my ‘Winter ready’ body.
Admit it, come winter those with the short shorts and the thigh gaps will be envious of me with my blubber to warm me up. I’d also be very useful in an ‘Alive’ situation, I could feed a small group for quite a while.
*and put the best part of one back on. Booooooooooooo