Body confidence isn’t a language I ever spoken fluently but it wasn’t until I hopped onto a tiny Greek island back in September that it really hit me. I chickened out of stripping down to a bikini, frightened to be the only whale on the beach that day and worried that my friend would tell all our friends how hideous I really am. It’s all a bit ridiculous when I write it out.
But I’ve never been happy with my body. It’s the quips here and there, comparing me to my sister, and always feeling not quite good enough. I’ve never really liked what I saw in the bathroom mirror. “Ah, my bum is looking quite nice today but good god, why do I have enough tummy for five people?“
On the face of it, I know I’m a healthy weight and shape. As a runner, I’m relatively fit and unlike most of my colleagues, I do remember the last time I did exercise. Yes, I love crisps more than you’ll ever know but I do eat relatively healthy most of the time. I fit perfectly into healthy category on the BMI spectrum but standing at only 5 foot tall it’s always been apparent to me that there’s not a lot of places for any extra weight to hide. Plus those legs as long as days that my friend Sarah has? You won’t see these here.
Learning to like my body and to be confident in it has been a long journey. And I hate to admit it but I got to this point in the road because of the way others spoke about my body. They don’t see it in the distorted way that I do.
On separate occasions, a friend and then a colleague have complimented me on my runner’s legs. I always thought my bum was too big until M came along and told me he couldn’t get enough of it, always complimenting it whenever he saw it. Now when I give it quick glance in the bathroom mirror, I smile. I love it too now. I always thought I looked like a prepubescent teenager with my barely there chest until a male friend told me “no one is a boobs guy anymore”. You get the idea.
After everything that happened with M, I felt a bit … grotesque for a while afterwards. My body confidence had fallen through the floor. I’d forgotten how I felt when I wore lingerie, and how it gave me confidence to be comfortable in my own skin.
So I decided to treat myself to something new but this time the high street didn’t take my fancy. Instead, I went for ELB Handmade – an independent boutique who just so happen to be really quite local to me. The brand offers a range of styles, shapes and textures, but most importantly the pieces are tailored to fit.
It’s not about being overtly sexy, or to buy lingerie for someone else’s benefit. It’s about focusing less on the bit of your stomach that rolls when you sit down, instead diverting your attention to the many, wonderful things about you and your body. It’s not about what she looks like but how you feel. Because when you feel good it shows.