Tis the night before Christmas, and I am having a bad body moment - let's call it a body negativity attack. A BNA? Can we make it a thing? We can use the banana emoji as a secret code.
While I think it's important to model self-acceptance and body positivity to the women around you - the more we see other women accepting themselves the more free we feel to love ourselves after all - I also think it's important to acknowledge that body positivity isn't a switch you can flip and suddenly make everything ok.
Body positivity is having a bit of a moment in the limelight right now. Plus size models are gracing the cover of Vogue and unconventional looking people are popping up in popular culture more than ever, which is great. But with all the media attention being shone on the movement, you could be forgiven for thinking that body positivity is a pretty simple deal. Particularly on social media, it's often delivered as a simple message of fluffy happy clappy self love (not really my jam) or an angry defiant feminist f*ck you to society (much more up my street). And while solidarity and consistency within both these messages can be helpful - and a great pick me up for little confidence dips - the devil is always in the detail with these things.
You can't be 100% body positive 100% of the time. There are a lot of hurdles to jump, and lots of messages pulling you back to that body-hating I should really start a diet on boxing day omg I hate my upper arms place. Despite what our favourite instagram influencers might say, a lot of us can't just choose to love ourselves and accept our bodies the way they are and then be fine and dandy forever more amen. This stuff plays into our identities as women, our place in the world and in our families, our sense of self. It's political, it's economical, it's entrenched historically. As I said in this post, this is some seriously insidious sh*t. It cannot be conquered with motivational quotes alone.
Which is why I am writing this in the midst of a BNA. I feel fat, and not in a badassly-reclaiming-the-word way. That's the honest truth. It's going to happen. I want to bring the message of body positivity to as many people as I can, and I want to model self-love and self-acceptance to the women I reach in real life and on this blog, but I can't do that by pretending to be perfect all the time. That's just giving everyone who reads this another bar to reach, another unrealistic standard to live up to. So yeah, I feel fat right now. I had my dinner, I feel full, and I don't like it. I also weighed myself yesterday, acting on an impulse and then instantly regretting it.
(The scales make me cray-cray. I should throw them away (way)
But I'm not starting that diet on boxing day, and that's the important bit. Before I discovered all this stuff I would have been straight onto google to find some onerous, joyless eating plan to follow or 72 hours before 'falling off the wagon' and berating myself accordingly. Now, thanks to a lot of reading, podcast-listening and soul-searching, I'm able to see that this is just a blip. I'm not going to jump at the slightest chance to get back on the dieting hamster wheel. I'm going to have a bath instead. Tomorrow is another day.