A little while ago, I asked you to start sharing your stories in hopes of us learning to empower one another. The world can seem ridiculously lonely, especially when the voice inside your head keeps telling you that you can’t. The #BMKBucketList is my way of taking control of my insecurities and changing my biggest “I can’t” to “I will.” But now, I’d like to chat about you and what your experience with body positivity is. Starting this conversation proves that we all have a war going on inside our heads but with a little motivation, we can roar back at the negativity and learn to love and embrace our bodies.
This week, we’re chatting to Susan, who I became friends with when we figured out that we were both due our first borns around the same time. It was comforting having someone who was very close to my own pregnancy, and who later welcomed her beautiful daughter, Amber, a week before I welcomed Axl. Susan’s story is slightly different to some of the others that I have previously shared, but there are so many parts that I found relatable that I almost went live with her story immediately after receiving it. But I will let Su share more about her and her journey:
If you’d like to catch up on everyone else’s stories, see here.
“My journey of self-love only started a few months ago, after seeing a few photos of myself that really saddened me.
In December 2014 I was a bridesmaid to my best friend. Her bridal party consisted of 5 bridesmaids, all with amazing figures and then there was me…the Heffalump of the group. I was already made very aware of my largeness when I had to use one of my maternity vests as my bridesmaid shirt as the one that was purchased and printed on would never in a million years fit me, even in the largest size it came in. I shrugged it off and just decided to enjoy the day with my bestie.
I kinda forgot about it all until she posted some throwback photos of her wedding day. That was my defining moment and I hated the body that was starting back at me. A few months later I made a conscious decision to do something about it.
I no longer want to stick out in a group as the fat one. I no longer want my body to hinder me when it comes to participating in things. I want to be able to run and play with my super busy 2 year old. I want to one day be able to take part in parent races at her sports day and galas and not be ashamed of my body. I want to be a better me, not only for my child, but more importantly for myself. I want to love my body instead of hating it and cringing when looking in the mirror. I want to be proud!
I wanted to share my story as I’m sure there are so many other women who find themselves feeling the same way. You are not alone and we are all fighting our own demons when it comes to loving our bodies. This series is an amazing platform for us all to uplift and encourage each other and I can only hope my story does that for at least one other person.”
What does body positivity mean to you?
Body positivity means being happy with the way YOUR body looks, and this not being based on typical stereotypes and what we see as acceptable in the media. That can be entirely different from person to person. You can wear a size 46 pants and be completely happy with your body. You may love your curves and your booty, while others may love a more leaner and athletic look. It all boils down to your body making YOU happy and no one else.
Why does body positivity resonate with you and why do you feel it is important?
Body positivity never really meant much to me until I started following Megan’s series. It opened my eyes and motivated me to learn to love my body. I have realized that I have work to do in order to get to that stage, but I am now willing to out in the effort. As I have got older I have come to realise that it is important to look and after nurture my body. This being what I out into it and what I do to it on the outside too.
To me body positivity is important as women tend to do a lot more body shaming than body loving. Society has a lot to do with this as what we see in magazines must surely be what is normal and expected. We need to starting giving a royal ‘up yours’ to those that make us feel that we are anything but beautiful.
What is your favourite part of your body?
At this stage in my journey, I’m going to have to go with my hair. I know that is probably considered the ‘wrong answer’ but I am still in the process of getting my body to where I want it to be, so that I can absolutely love it. Right now my hair is a constant perfect lol! It is not affected by what I eat or drink. It is not affected by break-outs and spots. I can rock it no matter what my body is doing. So yes, that might be a cop out but I have only recently started my journey and I still have a very long way to go.
Side note: I went for a run this afternoon and noticed my thigh muscles (don’t know the anatomical name, sorry) and how defined they are while running. I actually put my hand on my thigh to feel them mid-run (probably looking like a complete plonker) hahahaa! Don’t get me wrong, they still have a fair amount of fat on them, but hey, I will give myself every bit of credit I can!
What makes you feel confident?
Hmmm that’s a tricky one as I’m still getting there. I still feel inferior more often than not, but I am working on it. I have learnt to wear clothes that are more flattering for my body shape and since doing that I feel I don’t stick out as much and draw less attention to the parts I don’t want noticed as much. I have always had a love of shoes, even though my feet tend to disagree, so wearing an amazing pair of shoes can instantly make me feel awesome and strut my stuff. And let’s not forget my favourite perfume. Because who doesn’t love to smell amazing.
Do you have a favourite pair of jeans, a lipstick shade or something special that gives you the confidence to conquer?
At the moment my favourite item of clothing is tights. I know this seems a bit strange for a larger woman to say, but right now they are the only pants that fit after having lost some weight, yay me! My jeans look like gangster pants now so I have tossed them aside. I often tell people that if it looks like I’m wearing the same 2 pants every day, I am in fact not. I have 3 pairs of black tights and 2 charcoal ones. Bear with me on my weight loss journey here, will ya!
Who is your woman crush?
Don’t all laugh at once but it has to be Khloe Kardashian *runs and hides*
Reason being is that she has worked so hard to achieve her own level of body positivity. With make-up artists, stylists and a complete glam squad at her finger tips she still found it hard to love her body. She was always considered the ‘fat sister’ (erm is that not just insane?) but choose to better herself. She has become a fitness role model and motivation to me. Nothing is impossible if you just have a little faith in yourself.
Who inspires you?
I think I pretty much covered that in the previous question (oops) but on the absolute flipside I also find inspiration in woman like Tess Holliday. She is a plus-sized model (very much so) who has spoken out about society’s current beauty standards. It’s women like her that make me want to say ‘See? I can also be beautiful with my cellulite and stretch marks’. I also admire woman who can go out there wearing whatever they want and absolutely rock it, whether society frowns upon their outfit or not. These women are obviously content with their body and clearly have great body positivity.
Is there anything you wish you’d known, growing up, about self-love?
I wish I had grown up with more confidence to love my body more. To not believe that what we see in magazines is how we all need to look. I wish I had grown up to learn how to look after and nurture my body better. After all, how can we expect others to love us if we can’t love ourselves? But now that I know this, I am able to make sure that I instil this in Amber from a young age.
So, this may essentially sound like my weight loss journey, which is not entirely incorrect. I have recently learnt that body positivity and self-love is about loving your body enough to do right by it, and for me that means treating my body better and helping it to become healthier, therefore helping to become a better me.
Thanks Su for sharing your answers to this week’s body confidence interview and letting us know a bigger part of your story . I have so much respect and love for you and this new journey that you’re conquering – I’ll be the first to cheer you on through the victories! If you’d like to share your own story and answer the body positive questionnaire, then drop me a line at:editor[at]bymegankelly[dot]co[dot]za