How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)

It all started when I chopped my hair off. This strange air of acceptance about who I am. I won’t lie, I’ve always been alarmingly self aware, which I don’t think is a bad thing, but like everybody else there have always been those moments of wavering and self-doubt.

There has been rather a lot in the blogosphere of late about body image, which is a terrific thing – WishWishWish, Katya Itsines and Fat Girl PhD are just a few you should read. Quite honestly, I can’t imagine anything worse than being sixteen in 2014 – tumblr, airbrushing, models as the ‘norm’. Makes me feel kind of queasy! All girls and boys struggle sometimes, but I think we all need to stop and think ‘Hey! I’m healthy, I’m functioning, thank you body for being so bloody great’.

We’ve all been there, stood in front of the mirror in your underwear (self critique just wouldn’t be the same fully clothed right?), finding minute details about yourself to loathe. But recently, it’s all started slipping away for me. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s the fact I grew up in a household where body image was quite frankly not a big deal or maybe, it’s because I’ve decided to give self-hate the finger.

Now, what has brought all this around you ask? Well, last Sunday I ran a 10km assault course – The Wolf Run if you want a look at their website (make sure to turn your sound off, the music is terrifying). To some this may seen like an impossible task, others a casual morning’s exercise. For me it was hard, really hard! Given that 12 months ago I couldn’t run for 5 minutes and over recent months I’ve been plagued with injury, even on the day I doubted myself. Visions of being carried the last few kilometres having fallen down a ditch I couldn’t climb out of plagued my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I was prepared; I train hard in multiple disciplines and eat well (mostly!), but that niggling self-doubt always gets the better of you… But I did it; I ran, climbed, swum, waded though waist deep mud and I finished, with an old pal by my side. At the end all I could think was ‘I’m fit, I’m strong, I’m invincible’… I could do nothing but sing my bodies praises.

And that’s where it ends, the hate and the sadness, I just don’t have time for it anymore. Sure your body might not look like you desire, but what is it you want? Skinnier legs? Longer arms? A more beautiful spleen? One person’s dislike is likely the dream look of another. The more you think about it the sillier it all gets (spleen example included)! So I want you all to make sure you compliment yourself every day, ten times a day if you need. Affirmation leads to substantiation – the more you tell yourself something is true, the more likely you’ll believe it one day!

Overall I guess this post was a little pep talk to myself as much as you guys, we all need it sometimes. It’s nothing any of you haven’t read before I’m sure, but that feeling that we’re all in it together helps! Now, I want you to go and stand in front of the mirror in your undies, then give yourself a big wink and two thumbs up from me, because no doubt you deserve it!

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