IGNORE ‘PERFECT’ – IT’S KILLING YOUR HAPPINESS

FOR the first time in my life, I was a little nervous to wear a bikini.

A little more tentative and a lot more anxious than normal. Not like me at all in fact.

I was thirteen weeks pregnant when we jetted off on our summer hols the day after announcing our second pregnancy and I was just at that really awkward stage when you don’t look quite pregnant but neither do you look quite your normal self.

From one angle, to many it would be clear that I was ‘with child’, whereas from another well, it could look like I’d just eaten far too many pies. Or in my pregnancy case, Big Macs.

My breasts, larger and swollen thanks to all those lovely pregnancy hormones, looked slightly obscene to me, through my eyes, with my bikini struggling to keep them covered and at bay.

And my hips, much bigger than normal, felt like they belonged to someone else. Certainly not to me.

On the one hand, I cannot help but marvel at the changes happening to my body, through the miracle of pregnancy.

Whilst on the other, as much as I hate to admit it, there are times when I can’t help but grieve a little for the body I used to have too. It’s inevitable I guess to some degree.

So this year, although I couldn’t wait to dive into the pool or soak up some serious sunny rays on a Kefalonian beach, I most definitely had a few wobbles when it came to body confidence.

Many of you who have read my blog for a while, will know that I have often written about the importance of body confidence. The importance of loving what we have, making the most of ourselves and learning to be appreciative and comfortable in our own skin.

So when my doubts began to take up some head space, I gave myself a severe talking to, reminded myself of the words that I’ve often said to you, got a grip, popped on my bikini and headed to the beach.

And it was blissful.

I swam in the sea and occasionally floated. I collected sea shells with Elsie as we walked along the shore, the waves gently lapping at our hot and grateful feet.

When I got tired – that hit by a bus kind of exhaustion that pregnancy owns – I retired to my sun bed, sitting back to read a chapter or two of my book or more often than not, just people watching.

We’d only been in Kefalonia for a few days when something suddenly struck me. When something made me angry.

Have you ever really sat back and watched people on a beach? Have you ever noticed the incredible mixture of different shapes and sizes?

Perhaps you’ve spotted the people who strut and the people who cover up. Or the mothers that play with their children in comparison to the ones that hide away under an umbrella.

Because what I witnessed was a mixture of people just being people. Authentic humans, relaxing and playing, away from the strains of their everyday lives. People enjoying the sunshine and the glorious turquoise Meditteranean Sea.

I looked and watched really carefully but not once did I notice anyone commenting on someone’s body shape or staring at anyone who was slightly bigger than the norm or different.

Nor did the waves stop coming or the sun stop shining when an older lady walked down the beach in a teeny tiny bikini, even though she was much bigger than a ‘perfect’ size ten.

Amazingly, and contrary to what the media and advertisers like us to believe, there wasn’t one person I saw who seemed to care one bloody jot about what anyone else looked like because well, everyone was far too busy enjoying themselves to care!

And it was then that I became angry.

Angry because I couldn’t help but think of all the many, many magazines which have had ‘how to get bikini ready’ headlines splashed across their covers over the years.

Or the many times that a woman I know and love has been too nervous or embarassed to wear a bikini or swimsuit on her yearly holiday that she’s worked so hard and saved so long for.

Remembering made me livid.

Because whether we realise it or not, we’re all still sold this lie of ‘perfection’, a lie that tells us that we somehow don’t have a right to enjoy life if we don’t have the perfect body, relationship, career or family.

When we don’t look how the airbrushers say we should. Or live our lives in the way we are expected to.

Perfect kills happiness

And this lie is killing our happiness.

It is this lie which stops mums having their photos taken with their children on holiday or prevents women from wearing something that they love.

This lie which is stopping so many of us from truly living our lives, from feeling the sea carry us gently as we float to enjoying the heat of the sun on our almost naked bodies.

And it is just utter bullshit.

There are too many women covering up, hiding away, slinking into the shadows because they don’t feel or believe that they are good enough.

Too many women, feeling so ashamed of their bodies that they won’t don a swimsuit in public and play with their kids on a beach.

Too many women always stuck behind the camera capturing memories, instead of being the one making them.

And I refuse to be the same.

Perfection is nonsense. But when it hits a nerve or speaks to one of our insecurities, it’s frighteningly powerful and insidious, taking a sledgehammer to our confidence and brilliantly shaming us so that we lurk around in the dark shadows of life.

But you and I were not created to hide away. We were created to live. To bloom. To soar. We are here to feel and see and hear and experience everything that we possibly can.

So as imperfect as we are, that’s exactly what we all must get on and do.

Even, and especially, in an itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikini.



 

 

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8 Discussions on
“IGNORE ‘PERFECT’ – IT’S KILLING YOUR HAPPINESS”
  • Perfectly said lady. I feel like this all the time I make sure my bikini shots are me laying flat or hiding behind kids and I don’t like when friends are around to take the kaftan off even though I am a relatively small person. I hate magazine they make us feel ugly and awful about ourselves when most of the world doesn’t look like any of them without a chef, personal trainer and starving! You are always beautiful inside and out and I love how honest your post always are.

    • Thank you darling. And please, please don’t feel like this any longer. You’re also beautiful (inside and out), you’ve absolutely no need to hide whatsoever. x

  • Spot on as ever. Men get affected by this body image issue too, especially those of us who look like we do our training in McDonald’s rather than the gym. (Not me, I do my training in KFC …) But it is definitely worse for women because we are sold a norm that is anything but normal. And, sadly, it only seems to be getting worse. I really worry about how Kara will cope with this pressure to be perfect as she grows up. It’s just not fair.

    • It’s just outrageous Tim and I can’t help but get angry when I think of all the times women lurk in the background or cover themselves up instead of just getting on with life and enjoying themselves (Which is what we’re all here for.) As a mum to a daughter too, I really worry also, but I think the best thing I can do is be the best example possible.

  • Great, honest post Kate. I am going on my summer holiday next month (and I can’t blooming wait!), but I must admit that lately, I’ve been beating myself up by thinking that my body isn’t quite ‘beach ready’. This post is a reminder that I’ll be there to relax and enjoy myself, and I won’t be doing that if I’m worrying about my bikini body! x

    • Absolutely Jen! Stuff the ‘beach ready’ body, your body already IS beach ready as long as you take it there. Have a wonderful holiday x

  • I once read somewhere about someone not having any photos of them with their mum because their mum hated her appearance and never had her photo taken with her children. This really made me think and when we went to Portugal last year I donned my bikini in pride and let my husband take as many photos of me in my bikini playing with Luca as he wanted. I have some amazing photos from it of us playing in the pool and the sea and despite my body not looking “perfect” they photos and accompanying memories are absolutely perfect! Perfection just is, you can’t craft or create it, it comes in so many forms and is different to us all. Xx
    P.S that photo of you with the hubby is full of love and happiness, it shines through.

    • Gosh isn’t that sad! :( I know too women who are exactly like this which is just awful. So glad you wore your bikini with pride and have both magical memories to think back on and treasured photos to look at X P.S Thank you!

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