For the first 10 years of my life I didn’t give my body a second thought. How it looked, what others thought of it, none of it came into my head, none of it was a consideration, it was just a body, my body.
For the second 10 years of my life I questioned everything about my body. I studied every aspect, every emerging bump and lump. I compared myself to absolutely everyone, the model in the magazine, the girl next to me in class, the woman in the restaurant who seemed so at ease with herself, so beautiful.
I hated so much of me. I hated the stretch marks on my boobs which had sprouted from nothing to a D cup in one summer. I hated my hips, they were bigger than everyone else’s. I hated my curly hair, it made me stand out and it wasn’t as stylish as the girls with long straight hair. I hated my stomach, I believed it had massive fat rolls. I hated my nose, it was too fat. I hated my round face, it made me look chubby and young. I felt insecure in myself, I felt insecure in my fashion choices, I felt insecure in my skin and I compared and compared and compared.
For the third 10 years of my life I began to compare less. The negative fat and ugly comments from teenage boys who later said they thought I was “fit”, the comments which I carried, which shaped my self esteem for the best part of a decade, began to leave me. I grew in confidence, I began to embrace who I was.
I was shown what my body was capable of, I watched it grow three babies, two at once. I saw stretch marks appear, I saw my stomach almost touch my knees following a c-section. My breasts leaked milk and took on a new purpose, to sustain the life I had brought into this world. My body often didn’t feel like my own and it changed drastically. I often felt frumpy or fat but I gained a respect for what my body could do, I gained perspective.
In my fourth 10 years of life I have finally fallen in love with my body. I don’t compare it to anyone, this is all mine, all unique to me and aren’t I lucky to have it. Aren’t I lucky to be here, to be a mother, to be a wife, to be happy. Every scar, every deep red stretch mark, my emptier saggier breasts, my c-section scar and the pouch of fat which sits above it, every piece of cellulite, every perceived imperfection or flaw, I love them all.
I don’t have a daughter but many of my friends do, some of them are teenagers deep in the questioning years of their second decade of life, If they were to listen to one single thing their mother and her generation tell them let it be this. You are more than what a boy says you are, you are more than allowing their comments to pull you down or relying on them to build you up. You are more than what your friends say you are, what they say they like and don’t like about you, your personality, your clothes. You are more than what you will later understand to be jealous comments or disguised pubescent lustings.
You are fierce, you are unique, you are a perfect flawless version of you. No one else can even begin to come close to that. You are beyond enough, beyond beautiful, beyond powerful and beyond whatever you think yourself to be right now in this confusing moment in time.
Love the skin you are in, love everything about yourself, compare yourself to no one, you will never and should never be anything other than who you are and every aspect, every single piece of who that is and the body which incases it is absolute perfection.