Does my bum look big in this?

strokes

I did vow when I first started writing this blog that I would try and bring a bit of humour and as yet I haven’t really delivered. So with that in mind I thought I’d write something about one of my biggest anxieties, that is, in the grand scheme of things, pretty ridiculous.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a post about my sizeable backside (translated as; my big arse) and the daily insecurities it brings.

It all started when I read a text a friend sent to another friend at secondary school which said “is lorry arse there?”. Knowing full well they were referring to me, despite their resignation, my complex began.

We can’t have been much older than 12 or 13 at the time and I’d never really given my appearance much thought. There wasn’t the same pressure that now engulfs teenage girls to look a certain way then. But this comment really seemed to light a spark that still burns today as I’m standing here on the train; self consciously yanking my top down for fear of the person sat behind me judging my ample rump.

A chubby, spotty, bushy eye browed teenager I most certainly was but so were all my friends so it didn’t seem to matter. But as soon as I started thinking that other people might be judging how I looked, I ran into a spot of bother.

I went through a phase of fainting and being sick on a daily basis; on the way to school, in school, you name it. I still don’t really know how it started but in hindsight I do think it had something to do with insecurities about the way I looked. I didn’t really tell anyone at the time, but the more I was sick and didn’t eat the better I felt as I started losing weight. And I vividly remember aforementioned friend telling me when I wore a pair of very tight stonewash Levi’s to a subsequent no-uniform day that my arse looked great. God it felt good.

Whilst the likes of J-Lo and The Kardashians have since made big bums fashionable it’s still most definitely something that blights me. It’s sad to think that a part of my body causes such great anxiety but it does and I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of people. And whilst it sounds a bit frivolous, it can at times be really debilitating and tear jerking.

And boy does it make shopping difficult. Everything is judged on whether it makes my bum look big. Even handbags. And don’t even get me started about jeans. It’s nay on impossible to find a pair that fit well on the arse and waist. It’s a true case of first world problems really. Walking also has its problems. Whether it be walking out of room or walking past a group of people. I sometimes hold my breath as the thought of their scrutiny whilst I’m stationary let alone moving is overwhelming. In fact you’ll be hard pressed to find a picture of me where I’m side on too, the fear of ever being captured with it anywhere other than firmly (pardon the pun) behind me, unthinkable.

I mean of course I know that 99.9% of people haven’t given my arse a passing glance let alone a thought and that it’s not exactly on par with Kim K’s but I can’t help but picture that text in my head and wonder whether everyone thinks of me as ‘Michelle with the fat arse’ and instantly sit down or lean against something.

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Pure Frustration

phoebe

I’ve written before about my struggles with my appearance; feeling fat causing many episodes of self loathing. I’ve never been a very sporty person, never really enjoyed exercising and dipped in and out of gym memberships for many years. I know that exercise is supposed to be one of the biggest aids when it comes to a healthy mind and it’s something I am trying to introduce into my life in a more steadfast manner. But it’s hard. It’s hard because I’m not only physically crap at exercise, but I suffer from insane amounts of self consciousness whenever I undertake anything remotely exercise-like. You know the score; you go for a run in the park in your oversized tee and leggings and you’re faced with all the beautiful lithe people in their new season Sweaty Betty gear. You feel embarrassed. You feel like the whole world is looking at you and thinking “Jesus, look at that whale running like Phoebe”.

To try and help with these feelings, I decided to join the PureGym near to my office with the intention of going in my lunch breaks. Granted I’ve had these intentions before and they’ve never really come to fruition, but last week I went. And I enjoyed it. It wasn’t as hideous an experience as I thought it would be and it felt like I was in control. I could do as little or as much as I liked, there wasn’t a load of people there so I needn’t feel too self conscious; I was giving it a go, it was a start.

As life goes, the next couple of days were a wash out. I had meetings at lunch and fell ill so I didn’t make it again as intended, but I wasn’t beating myself up about it, I’d just go again when I could. No-one was checking up on me or judging me.

Fast forward to today; 7 days after I first signed up to the gym and I’ve received an email from PureGym telling me “there’s not been much action” and using the words “gym shy”. Usually this sort of thing would not bother me; I know how marketing and communications work. But this email has really got to me; it’s angered me and it’s upset me. I beat myself up enough about not being fit enough, not being thin enough, not doing enough – I don’t need these thoughts to be reinforced. I don’t need to feel any worse about my body than I already do.

I know they wouldn’t have intended to make anyone feel like that but they did and I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt humiliated by it. If you want me to continue to use your gym, make me feel good about myself. Make me feel more confident. Make me feel like I’m doing something good. Don’t make me feel inferior, because chances are I’m just going to cancel my membership.