Monday, January 23, 2017

Dealing with the Wobbles: Feat. Collectif's Blossom Printed Dolores Doll Dress


This was a hard post to write. When you write a blog that is largely about being body positive, and loving you body, it's hard to admit that you have experienced a bit of a body positivity wobble lately. How can I hope to be a light to others, when I am struggle to keep my own little flame going? But I want to talk about it. Because I think sometimes we can really beat ourselves up when we think we're the only ones struggling. Body positivity is not like a qualification - when you've found a body positive mind set, you don't get a certificate or a couple of letters after your name, and that's it. It's something you have to work on, and work for.  

Lately, I have been thinking of my relationship with my body as a work in progress. Much like any other relationship, it takes work. You have to keep at it. You have to commit to connecting with yourself. You have to continue to weed out unhelpful thought patterns. You have to identify what erodes your confidence, and also figured out ways to fortify yourself against things those things. You need to recognise that parts of this journey will be harder than others, and that it's normal to struggle.




Red Freddie Cardigan - Collectif (previous season)

When I started my body positive journey, a big part of learning to love my body again was to stop comparing it to the bodies I saw regularly represented in the media - the type of female bodies that in no way resembled my own. I needed to see bodies more like mine, in order to reach a peace with my own body. As an antidote, I filled my timelines with plus size women. I diversified what I was seeing in my own online spaces, and made sure I was surrounded by bodies that were more relatable for me. And for a long time that really worked. I started to see beauty in my fullness, my rolls, my form.

However, interestingly, in recent months I found a new kind of insidious comparison creeping in. I started comparing myself unfavourably to other plus size bodies. For even within our own body positive spaces, there are beauty ideals. I felt my confidence falter because my breasts weren't big enough, my waist not small enough, my bottom not full enough. I looked longingly at the firm, smoother arms or fuller hips of other plus size women, and felt I wasn't enough. My body does not conform to the paragon of plus size beauty. I felt the same body criticisms creeping back into my head - shame at my big belly, frustration with my chunky arms, disappointment with my breasts, my narrow hips.

So how to deal with this? For starters, I am acknowledging that it is happening. I am aware that I have been once more fighting body image battles with myself. I have also recognised that this is more likely to happen when I am feeling down about things generally - when I feel low, I resort to old, bad habits. One of those habits is beating myself up about my body. And so while I found new (and unrealistic) ideals to aspire to, what I was doing was essentially the same as before - resenting my body for not being something it could never be. Making unrealistic demands on myself, and blinding myself to my own beauty by fixating on the beauty of others. Knowing where this is coming from is helpful in combatting it. It means taking time for self care, and to once again rebuild my confidence.

I have also been talking to people about it. I have been confiding in friends who understand these struggles, and can speak to me from a place of wisdom, having fought these very same battles themselves. Honestly, sharing something like this is emancipating - it makes you realise that you're not alone, and often those who have been through something like this before can have some helpful tips on how to cope. And sometimes, a friend can just be really good at building you back up again. I am not ashamed to say that when I feel low about myself sometimes I need a good dose of compliments - both about my physical appearance and about the many things beyond my looks that make me a good friend and a good human. We all need that sometimes, so reach out to the friends who know how to shower you with love and sensible advice.




I am also looking even more specifically online for bodies like mine - because I know that so many of my issues with my body boil down to the fact that it is MINE. Some of the things that are so difficult to find peace with in my own body, are things that I wouldn't look twice at on another. By looking at bodies that more closely resemble mine and seeing the beauty of others, I am finding my own beauty again. It's helping me rediscover my own light.

This post is a bit rambling, and really a bit of a brain dump, but mainly it was intended to show you that body confidence wobbles are normal (especially at this time of year) and it's best to identify what might be causing it, have a chat to someone who you think can help (reach out to me if you like) and come up with a plan to get you going in the right direction again. There are some more confidence tips here. How have you been doing? What are your confidence tips? Let me know...


PS: In this post, I am wearing a beautiful White Blossom Print Dolores Doll dress from Collectif, in a size 22. This dress was one of my very first body positive purchases, when I began to reclaim my shape so felt like a fitting outfit for this post. You can read a full review of this style of dress, and see other plus size babes rocking the Dolores here and here.
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5 comments

  1. I totally understand what you're saying here Hayley. I find that when we have a lot going on or stressful circumstances creep into our lives it can be hard for us to look on things with a positive eye and so the easiest thing is to fall into the old habits if that is to beat ourselves up in ways. Being a blogger can often intensify that fact too because even though we have a our own little community it's not always the most supportive of places and it can be competitive at times. Like you say confidence is a work in progress and something that does take thought and effort. Surrounding yourself with positive like minded people I find works wonders when i'm feeling a bit low in myself x

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    1. Yeah, the competitive vibes cab definitely erode confidence for sure. Thank goodness for body positive friends who can help lift us when we need it :)

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  2. You know theres a post like this floating around somewhere in my head. I have spoen before about the guilt I felt when having a bad day, like you say its hard to admit you are feeling low when you have the label of body positive. I think though one of the things to take away from this is that even in our own circles there will always be something trying to tell us that there is a right way to have a body. I remember feeling really lost for a while as to wear I fit, Im a size 16, but reflected back at me through bloggers was that to be a "good" size 16 you had to have nice big boobs and hips, whereas my tummy is larger and my boobs are non existent!

    yOUVE GOT THIS THOUGH, take care

    Charlotte | www.shoestringchic.co.uk

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    1. Yeah, we have to realise that even in body positive spaces there can still be this creeping sense of some bodies being better than others and we have to push back against that I think. Otherwise we will start believing that again. All bodies are beautiful, and I truly believe that you just have to work harder to make sure you believe it about yourself!

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  3. What an honest and refreshing post. I myself am guilty of the comparison within the plus-size community, and relate to this massively. Your bopo journey will always be a work in progress, but that won't stop people from admiring you and thanking you for your amazaing input. You're a star <3

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