Monday

On body positivity and maintenance


Body positivity is a funny old thing, isn't it? As much as I think of myself as a champion for body confidence, the truth is I, like everyone, have some pretty substantial body hangups. It's odd because I've reached a point where I feel afraid to mention my insecurities. If I do, is somebody going to think I'm faking the whole body positivity thing? Or am I going to be criticised again for mentioning my flaws? It feels very black and white: If you promote body confidence, you have to be positive in all areas of your own body. But, of course, real life isn't like that.
When I was a young, between the ages of 10 and 15, I was horrendously insecure but there was something that prevented me from doing anything about it. I hated my frizzy hair, my discoloured teeth, my body hair and my glasses and yet I felt changing my appearance was something to do "when I'm older". I was always thinking about how I would change my look when I was old enough, without realising that I could have changed all of those things at any point.
Once I hit 16, and fell heavily into my emo days, style was everything. I was desperate for straight, black, sideparted hair. My glasses and braces let me down and prevented me being the emo babe I'd envisioned. Yet there was nothing stopping me from using hair straighteners and getting contacts. I was resigned to these insecurities, thinking there was no way out of them.
Of course, the whole emo thing faded and once I started this blog I was influenced by all those amazing, positive girls who own their appearance. They're beautiful and confident in their own skin, and that's what I wanted too. I couldn't change my appearance. That would be cheating, right?

It wasn't one particular epiphanous moment that changed my thinking but more a slow revelation. It started with my contact lenses. I first got them in 2009 but gave up after a couple of months before returning to them in 2012. I was so happy and confident with them and loved the benefits of swimming, going on rollercoasters and doing my make up with the ability to see. Then I started straightening my hair and discovered that my mood is hugely amplified with freshly straightened locks (more so when I eventually get round to a trim!). At the end of 2014, I got my first acrylic nails and I couldn't believe how much of a difference they made to my confidence. Finally, a few weeks ago, I got my eyebrows waxed and I am obsessed with them!

Now I have a routine that includes weekly hair straightening and getting my brows and nail done once a month. Next I'm looking into teeth whitening, laser hair removal and keratin treatments. 
I feel like I'm finally, at the age 26, coming out of my chrysalis. I've realised that it's ok to have beauty treatments and promote body positivity. If you don't like something, you can change it. Body confidence doesn't have to mean living with something that makes you miserable.  

16 comments :

  1. I'm glad you're coming into a more confident stage of your life :) I hope it continues! I agree with you, it's a very difficult subject matter.. I guess what I'm really keen to see is a more rigorous debate around body image, media portrayal and the rhetoric of "free choice" in modern beauty practices. For example, girls who feel they can't leave the house without a full face of make up don't actually have a free choice in the matter despite all of the marketing campaigns that work to fully convince them they do; in reality, the alternative for those girls is to feel disgusting and judged. I'd really love to see an end to that by challenging beauty ideals and raising self esteem so that when we do choose to use products and practices to play around with our look, it really is a choice xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua

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  2. Wonderful post! I had a similar journey to yours (for example, I only started wearing make up this year, at 29! And it's done my confidence the world of good). My reasons for not partaking in things like makeup and beauty treatments were mostly because I was afraid of coming off as "fake" or unnatural somehow...I sort of felt that I was betraying my true self by taking steps to cover up or change the things that made me self conscious. I'm still not completely over that, but trying one thing at a time really helped me come round to the idea that enjoying yourself and being happy in your own skin is about supporting and loving yourself, not abandoning yourself :)

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  3. Such a great post, and I think it's fair to be both confident but at the same time recognise your insecurities. You make some really salient points.

    I've only just found your blog through your Benefit Brow Bar review (the first paragraph of that post is basically me - and you've convinced me to book an appointment at the Brow Bar for the first time ever) and I've really enjoyed reading your other posts. Plus, I'm fairly certain you live in a town fairly close to my little town! It's always nice to find internet people who live in Hampshire :) So hello!

    Melissa - Untold Blisses

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    1. Another Hampshire girl! Let me know how you get on with the Brow Bar!

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    2. PS: My town starts with an F and ends with an H if that helps ;)

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    3. Mine starts with a F too and is next to yours on the train line :)

      I keep staring at my untouched brows and thinking that they're not long for this world!!

      Melissa

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  4. Lovely post :) I can actually relate to your beauty journey. At some point you realize you could be so much more, and that you're actually entitled to it. It's all about revamping your mental image of yourself I guess.

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  5. This is a wonderful post, Becky. I completely agree with you - if there is something which is causing you anxiety or making you uncomfortable I think you have every right to do something about it. I've been wearing glasses for a few years now and recently had to turn to wearing them all the time as my vision has gotten worse but for practicality reasons I'm going to be trying out contacts as soon as I can because as you mentioned, it frees you up to do so much more! I also agree 100% with your last statement about being body positive whilst being true to you and what makes you comfortable and I think that's the core of it all - loving yourself and taking care of yourself go hand in hand I believe and it's something which I've only recently come to see, so I relate to this post so much. Sorry for the very long comment! - Tasha

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  6. I relate to so much of this. I spent the majority of my 26 years feeling badly about my bangs that were cut in a straight line across my forehead & always got messy & oily. Finally got rid of them a few years ago & thought, what the hell held me back from doing this ages ago? I still have plenty of insecurities to work on but if I step back & look at myself they way you've stepped back & looked at your younger self, maybe I'll see things in a different light. Thanks for this!

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  7. Thisis a fantastic read which really resonated with me, Becky. Between the ages of 11-14 I was bullied quite badly by my so-called friends, including some horrible looks ratings where they gave each other 7s and above for all of their features, and me a 5 at the highest for anything, including my eyes which are my best feature. This sent me into a 4 year spiral of loathing myself and having the worst glasses and hair style possible for myself, because hey, if I'm ugly, what's the point of trying? I am so thankful for the contact lenses I started wearing fullltime aged 15 and that I started growing my hair out aged 16, and of course that I made friends with some lovely people who made me feel more confident in my own skin. It really is never too late to discover the real you, and I'm so happy for you, Becky, that you're coming into your own x

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  8. Such a great post, too much in the media about looking a particular way in the present day. I think people forget everyone is different, everyone has different insecurities and things they aren't happy with. I love how you have mentioned these small changes that have made you happier. Nothing wrong with this if it makes you feel better about yourself x

    Amanda / Amanda's Escape

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  9. I really love this post. Liking myself is something I'm working really hard at right now, hopefully I'll be comfortable at least some day

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  10. I have to agree! It took me until I was 29 before I figured out how to define my invisible blonde eyebrows and to invest in whitening my teeth. I have no idea why because I was so self-conscious about both of those things without even realising it, and it's made such a difference to my confidence!
    Jen x

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  11. Isn't hitting your mid-20's amazing? I am so much more body confident than I've ever been in your life! And yes - it's okay to be high maintenance because taking care of yourself shows that you respect your own body!

    COOCOO FOR COCO

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  12. true. change your body to what you can to be the way you want but never change your soul.

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  13. This is such a good post! I think being comfortable in your own body is wonderful for some but it's alright for someone with no body hair to say that when someone else considers themselves the yeti. Or if someone with straight teeth says that crooked ones aren't the end of the world when someone needing braces is desperate for them to be fixed. There's no shame in altering appearance at all as long as you don't put anyone else down for not doing it!
    Megan x
    London Callings

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