Wednesday, 24 October 2012

I'm learning to heart my body.

I thought this would be easier. I am a confident girl. I don’t love the way I look, but I don’t hate it. Some days I look in the mirror and smile. Some days I look at the mirror in frustration. But everyday I get out of bed feeling better than the day before. I have identified the difference between body image and health, and have decided that health comes first.  I don’t go to the gym any more to lose weight; I go to gain health. Oh Cas, how cliché. But it’s true, I really do.

But I still care about how I look.  Body image still weighs on my mind.

If you were to ask what I hated about mybody I could go on for days. I really could. It’s sad, but it’s true. Once upon a time the only thing I loved about my body was my doubles D’s, but since breastfeeding I have space in my C cup bras. We are our biggest critiques, and I am one ofthe most critical people.

But then I think about myself, and who I am. What would most people say? What would I say about myself?

Last week James and I were discussing Oliver’s looks. He is a spitting image of his Dad. I proclaimed, “he is you all over, but he has my beautifulsmile”. I almost choked on my words as they came out.
It’s true; I do have a beautiful smile. I have the world’s biggest smile, and it is genuine. It comes from my heart and shines through my eyes. I have always been proud of my straight teeth. I think I always appreciated my smile. I think I always suspected it was contagious. But I never EVER would have mentioned it to anyone. Heaven forbid.
But there I was in everyday conversation complimenting my smile, complimenting myself.
I was a bit embarrassed to be honest. I put myself out there and what if my husband didn’t agree. But he did, of course he did. My son has a beautiful smile; I love it. And it is my smile; I heart my smile.

I am covered in marks. I fell off a skateboard when I was 12 and ripped open my calf. It is still discolored. I have 7 tattoos, each one a special reminder of a time and place in my life. I have moles on the back of my legs from the summers in my youth when I would lay on the sand, sans sunscreen trying desperately to tan my white-as-a-ghost skin. I have had piercings in my face and body that have either been taken out, or ripped out.
My body is a road map. Each mark comes with a story, a memory, and a moment in time that has made me who I am.
Amongst my favorite mark, my favorite moment, are my stretchmarks. They represent my body’s greatest creation, my son. At first I hated them, I applied bio oil every day throughout my pregnancy. 14 months postpregnancy and I wear them with pride, they are representative of my bodies full potential.
I used to cover my scars, hide my tattoos from my peer mothers and maternal health nurses or pretend they were a ‘mistake of my past’. I don’t do that any more. I am proud of them; I don’t need to be ashamed, I don’t need to reconfirm people’s idea that tattoos are a mistake when I don’t truly think that just to make them feel better. It doesn’t make me feel better.
Each marking is as much a part of me as myleft arm or little toe, and I heart them.

I have spoken about my issues with my weight and body image just recently. I am just starting to some out from behind the shame that was ignorance towards health, and ignorance towards loving myself.
I may have been within my acceptable BMI before; I may have been societies idea of a “healthy” size before; I may have been happier with the way I looked before; but I have never been healthier before. I am truly beginning to feel good, for the first time in my life.
When I walk with my son to the park I am not a breathless mess by the time we get there, I still have the energy to run around with him.
When I go out to our local Thai restaurant my husband and I order one meal to share, it’s all we need. I walk away so satisfied with the meal. I am not over full, I am not regretful and I don’tfeel guilty. I feel good.
When I go to the gym I don’t hit the down arrow, I hit the up arrow. If I doubt my ability to run that last km, I remind myself of what I am capable of; I remind myself of birthing my son.
If I do treat myself to some Ben and Jerry’s I don’t beat myself up. I congratulate myself for not devouring the whole tub.
Yesterday I wanted to go to the postoffice, but it is a pain to get a park. Instead I parked at a shopping centre a km away and walked. It was the easiest way to do it and it involved 2km of walking. Howmy frame of mind has changed.
My body is a part of me, representative of me; it is me. It may not be the small frame I would like, it may not have the doubles D’s of my past. But it is the healthiest it has ever been, and I love that.
I heart my health. And because I heart my health I am learning to love my body, not just for the way it looks but also for what it does for me each and every day.

This has been written as a part of We Heart Life'sI heart my body 2012” campaign and puts me in the running to
win a photoshoot with Ulyana from Stories by Ulyana!


  1. Amazing post. Simple amazing. I actually have goosebumps!

    I love that you gave yourself a compliment, my James often tries to with me and I used to push them away; but I try not to anymore.

    On a completely different note; the tattoo on your foot, what is it? I have a bluebird on my right foot ;)

    1. Thanks Carly.

      The are swallows, one of each foot.

  2. This is an amazing post. I love that you heart your health. That is so important and so overlooked in the quest for 'beauty' these days.

  3. You have such a beautiful attitude. I love that you use your son as inspiration to push yourself, to remind yourself what you - and your body - are capable of. A really lovely post to read, Cass. X

  4. It is amazing how hard it is to compliment ourselves, even in front of those who love us the most. I think I need to start doing it more, it is so much easier to degrade ourselves or complain, I realise that doesn't help anyone, especially us. Lovely post xx

    1. I can't agree more. It's so easy to just put ourselves down, but why? Sometimes I do it for reassurance . But it felt a million times better when my husband agreed with my own compliment. It was a good thing getting better instead of a negative becoming positive.
      Thanks for your kind words.

  5. You're gorgeous - and you're right, you do have a lovely smile. But most of all you're healthy and confident and proud of what your body is capable of. I think you're ticking all the boxes!

  6. I love that you complimented yourself (and deservedly so!) and that you're proud of your tattoos. You're gorgeous x

  7. My tattoo's are some of my proudest moments! i am so pleased you dont hide them away any more!
    A compliment from yourself, to yourself is the best and most deserved compliment of all. Isnt it sad that we are taught to shy away from loving ourselves, bodies and skills. Good on you for recognising that you have something beautiful. I see it and I think you are beautiful too xx