end of 2016

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3 days before the end of 2016 my phone died on me. Well not really, but that’s how I’m choosing to describe it. What happened was the circuit board malfunctioned and now I’m using an old backup phone The woman at the Apple store said there’s no way to determine the cause of the malfunction and could be due to a number of things: a bug from an insecure website or repeatedly using my phone while charging. Apparently we’re not supposed to use our phones when its charging. Ironically I’m still using my replacement phone and charging it at the same time, but that’s because the battery depletes like 10 times faster given how old it is! It goes from 20% to 2% in 2 hours, what the hell is going on =_=

I wasn’t able to receive or make calls, not receive or send texts. I was devastated more by the loss of all the photos and videos. About 80% of it is backed up but not the rest because when I updated my phone months ago it wasn’t connecting to my laptop and I still haven’t found a way to fix it without buying a new one. All the memories in there, with friends, family, events, dance and selfies (yes selfies yes the damn selfies as well my best looking moments are in selfies). Anyway, I see the loss of my phone as the start of something new. There are a few things in that phone that I shouldn’t be holding on to anyway. Screenshots of messages from people who’ve left my life, for one. I don’t know why I still keep them but maybe on Wednesday God decided that enough was enough and swooped in for the kill. I feel almost relieved actually to know that those screenshots are gone for good. I was having a hard time letting go.

Anyway, 2016 is ending and all that new year new me shenanigans has been sprouting up left and right since Christmas ended. Instead of doing New Year resolutions for this post, I’ll make a list of things I learned in 2016 and end it with a list of advice I intend to take for myself in 2017.

Things I Learned in 2016

  1. You win when you choose not to play with a toxic person. Sometimes the best way is to walk away and leave them be.
  2. Pay attention to their actions and not their words.
  3. How you feel about yourself is more important than what others feel about you.
  4. There will be some people in your life who are temporary, but by God they are the ones that teach you some of the greatest lessons than you can ever have.
  5. When people walk away from your life despite whatever efforts you put in, let them: they’re not meant to be in your life.
  6. Heartbreak isn’t always caused by someone else. Sometimes heartbreak is self-inflicted.
  7. Closure doesn’t come from another person. Closure comes from within.
  8. Beauty IS indeed in the eye of the beholder.
  9. Don’t expect anything from anyone.
  10. Nothing serious = sex only. No matter what he says. That’s it end of story
  11. Stop running back to things and people that you know will leave you hurt, no matter how familiar or comforting it is.
  12. Don’t live for the praise or applause of others. Be and do things for yourself. Others will be there for you forever.
  13. Love comes when it will, not when you ask it.

 

To Remember in 2017

  1. Put myself first
  2. Take charge of my own life and goals
  3. Stay away from fuckboys and toxic lovers.
  4. Take more charge and courage in my decisions
  5. Work on my relationship with my food and body.
  6. When it comes to relationships, pay attention to their actions and not their words
  7. Spend more time with my true friends
  8. Live the life that makes ME happy, not the one that others think I should.
  9. Give myself the freedom to start being human and show people my more vulnerable side. I don’t always have to hold it together.
  10. Work more on accepting the physical aspects of myself that I lack confidence in. Remember we live only once and we should live not for the applause and praise of others.

stop trying so hard

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Why are we trying so hard to fit in? Why do all want to lose weight and get thin? Why do restrict our food (only to binge after) and constantly work out in the gym to get a good body? Why do we care about what other people think about us? Why do we care so much about how many likes we get on Facebook and Instagram? Why do we care whether or not other people see as beautiful and thin? Why do we care about wanting to look a certain way and be a certain way?

Through my years of struggling with my eating disorder and body image issues, I’ve come to realize that much of my problems stem from a desire to look a certain way and gain social approval from others. Blame social media and the current body and beauty trends if you will, but it seems the type of body gaining lots of positive comments are “slim and lean” and “small waist, big booty”. I ask you to take a look at Instagram and look to popular social media influencers such as fashion bloggers and fitness models, and let me know what the most common body type is. I ask you to take a look at beauty pageants, at Hollywood and television and I ask you to tell me what the body type that gains the most positive attention. I ask you to look at magazines and tell me whether you see more titles telling you to embrace your body instead of dieting and losing 10 pounds and how to disguise your flabby belly.

The glamorization of certain female body types are harmful, to say the least. It triggers unrealistic expectations and undeserved body comparisons. It makes many of dislike our bodies and think negative thoughts. We start living the get a body because we want the same validation. After all, who doesn’t want to be complimented and admired and revered? Humans have an innate need for social approval and validation. We want to be accepted, to be liked and to fit in. But at what cost?

It doesn’t matter whether or not we have a curvy figure or not. It doesn’t matter if we don’t have long toned slim legs. It doesn’t matter if have a belly that jiggles and folds that we sit. If I do, does  it mean I’m less of a woman? How am I being judged based on how flat my belly is or not?

We need to stop thinking that being thinner, being curvier, being taller or having certain body types or certain appearances will make us happier. As someone who’s spent years trying to look a certain way, I can honestly tell you that you will be wasting your time. You can never be thin enough or curvy enough or sexy enough for some people. We’re not put on Earth to physically please others with our looks. The only thing that makes us happy, is to live our lives doing what we love without the validation of others.

You are allowed to live and be here and be present in your whole authentic self. You are allowed to post those “unflattering” photos of yourself on Instagram. You are allowed to leave the house without makeup (but with sunblock!) because you don’t need to wear makeup to be yourself! You are allowed to wear a bikini and cropped tops even if you aren’t skinny. You are allowed to be wholly you because you deserve to be here. You are allowed to love what you see in the mirror. 

Stop trying to please others and live for others. Live for ourselves instead. The more we keep trying to live up to the expectations of others in order to gain approval and validation, we slowly begin to lose ourselves. We begin to live for other people’s approval. Our self-worth becomes dependent on them; without it, we don’t feel good about ourselves.

Let’s just and stop sacrificing our happiness and sanity to live up to a certain beauty ideal. Live for ourselves, and live to be the best version that we can be without conforming to the pressures of beauty ideals. Because, fuck its exhausting.

The ones who accept us only if we look a certain way, aren’t the ones who should be in our lives The ones who accept us no matter what shape and size we are, are the ones who truly care for us.

I’m tired of hating my body cos I don’t.

Dancers face their own personal body images issues as well and as a chubby dancer myself, I completely relate to what Azzura has blogged about here. For those of you dance, do you face any body image issues? What are they? Am also in the process of interviewing Azzura (read: creating interview questions hehe) so stay tuned!

Inspiring People.

I actually grew up with various issues about self-image; as a part Indian-part Malay chubby Muslim Malaysian female, social situations can take sudden hostile turns at any point when people find it frustrating when they can’t put you in a ‘category’. Growing up, I felt confused and often nervous to explain my background….. it just seemed like whatever my answers were, I was always giving the WRONG answer. How can I look Indian but have a Malay name? How can I be Muslim but look Indian? Etc etc. I just AM, ok.

However, luckily I had a loving family that nurtured me into an outgoing child, and somehow I was able to get past all the identity-crises and I grew up a confident child and teenager who had lots of friends. There might’ve even been a boy or two who liked me in school — but well, it was usually…

View original post 3,707 more words

how to achieve body confidence

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this marriage of billowy culottes and the modern jumpsuit screams versatile and oh so comfortable in Singapore’s hot & humid weather

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I first started this blog with the intention of documenting my journey with recovering from an eating disorder and developing a more positive relationship with body. To further my progress in achieving a healthy body image I began doing some “photoshoots” to capture my outfits and incorporating them into my blog until it became something of a body-positive-eating-disorder-recovery-kinda-sorta-fashion blog. I’m not an exclusive fashion blogger. I don’t go on photoshoots & I tend to write more about body positivity & ED recovery than fashion, but I do love dressing up & sometimes use photography as a way of developing a more positive body image because I have always avoided expressing myself through my personal sense of style during the height of my eating disorder days. I felt so miserable not only hiding my body in baggy loose shirts, but also avoiding mirrors so I wouldn’t have to look at my body & ended up hating the way I look. 

Throughout my recovery journey, doing these #semiprofesh photoshoots (because you know I don’t have a camera and use my phone instead), I’ve come to learn some things about achieving body confidence:

Wear the right clothes for your body & wear clothes that reflect your personal style.

I know that the body-positive community urges women to ignore these so called “fashion rules” and to “wear it if they like it”. Here’s my 2 cents and you can either accept it or reject it but let me just bring lay my own perspective on the table all right. I do agree in “wearing it if I like it” because after all, I’ve passed over many many outfits that I liked but never had the courage to wear because I felt I wasn’t skinny enough to look good in them. However ever since I embarked on my eating disorder recovery I’ve taken baby steps out my comfort zone and started wearing sleeveless dress, jumpsuits and even a body con dresses once because…well, because I can and because I’ve slowly developed a more positive relationship with my body to allow myself to don these frocks. However, having said that I also believe in striking a balance and actually choosing clothes that are both suitable for your body type AND reflect your personal sense of style. 

Wear clothes that reflect your style

Listen, not all trends will work for us, its not your responsibility to follow trends. Just because people are telling you to “wear it if you like it” doesn’t mean you should follow them and that it will work for you because it just ain’t you. Wild retro or animal prints may be the rage but I’m not about to jump on the bandwagon and deck myself in them because…its just not me. Find clothes that express your unique personality and work it, because confidence isn’t about following trends and looking like every body els;  its about letting your inner personality shine through your clothes and being yourself without the need to conform to something else. Know what styles work for you and what doesn’t. Don’t compromise your style to fit in with others, coz it ain’t worth it. You are a work of art. So work it.

Wear the right clothes for your body

When I say to wear the right clothes for your body, I’m not talking much about dressing to look thinner. I’m talking about wearing clothes that are of a good fit so that you feel comfortable and confident in it. For instance, I have broad shoulders and thus, am top heavy and let me tell you, I’m not going to wear large, oversized kaftan tops because it will exaggerate my frame and make me look disproportionate & with extra fabric floating around my body, I’m just going to look like a disheveled frump. I’m not going to wear something that’s too small or a “just-nice” fit because it makes me feel uncomfortable or like I cant breathe or that makes me keep tugging at the top so that I have room to move my arms. Yes, I can wear the top if I want to if it looks absolutely gorgeous and stunning, but at the end of the day, I personally don’t want to look frumpy; I wanna look good. If you choose good fitting clothes that suit your body, you will look good and you feel good. No scratch that, you feel #badass.

If you don’t want to wear a certain something (e.g. cropped tops / high waisted jeans) because you’re still struggling with bad body image, then don’t, simple as that. You don’t have to jump on the bandwagon and wear something if it doesn’t make you feel good about your body. It doesn’t make you a body-shamer. It makes you…well…you. It just means you don’t feel good in it, end of story. Don’t force yourself to do something if you’re not ready for it because it’ll do you more harm then good. The priority is to take the time to understand the relationship you have with your body, and work on ways to improve it. When you’re ready, then by all means rock that outfit like you were born to wear it no matter what size you are. 

Stop fat-talk; change your inner dialogue

 I talked about the importance of positive self-talk in my previous post here: [ positive self-talk and body image ] . How you talk to yourself about how you look and how your body impacts body confidence. You can’t expect to be confident about your body if there is a voice saying that you look ugly and you look puffy in an outfit and telling you that you need to lose weight and you need to change out that outfit because it looks better on a thinner person. Criticizing yourself won’t change your body, and it’ll only attack the confidence you have in yourself. You can’t change the situation, so change your attitude. When you find yourself automatically pointing out your flaws when you look in the mirror or looking at the photos of yourself, STOP IMMEDIATELY. Change the channel and reframe your thoughts and and highlight the positives. “I am not fat, I am curvy and I can rock this dress” – stuff like that. The more you look out for imperfections, the more likely you are to make looking out for it a habit. Remember, what your mind says, your heart follows.

 Stop avoiding mirrors or pictures of yourself 

This is the one thing that I myself am also working on still. Too often those of us struggling with body image tend to avoid mirrors because we don’t want to see our bodies. But the truth is, its just keeping us in denial. To have a positive relationship with your body and be confident with it is to accept that this is the body that you have right at this very moment. In the past, I absolutely hated taking pictures, looking at myself in pictures and sometimes even standing in front of the mirror because I didn’t like what I saw – the rolls, the flabs etc. I didn’t like the body that I had because it disgusted me. But I believe its essential to spend more time with the mirror to come to terms with reality and learn to stop picking my body apart and criticizing it. That was why I started incorporating photoshoots in some of my blog posts – it was a journey of coming to terms with my body, that these pictures are a reflection of what my body truly is and to learn to stop picking it apart to love and accept myself more. 

Hang out with body positive people 

This is like a total no-brainer. If you hang out with people who are also tearing themselves apart, picking their flaws and constantly complaining about their thighs and stomach, you’re going to end up being just like them and feel even worse about your body. The key to improving your perception of yourself is to associate yourself with people who is body positive and who don’t rag on and on about their body. My best friends are super body-positive and I rarely hear them talk negatively about their own body and trust me, its great to be in the company of people like that because it makes you think of all the negative things you’re saying and how awful they actually sound. Like, would you even say that to your friend? Plus, it also motivates you to want to stop saying them. After all, who likes hanging out with people who are always complaining about cellulite and fat and whatnot? Its just depressing. You don’t need that shit in your life.

Stop caring about what others think

The reality is that there will be people who will have negative opinions about you. They don’t know you and they don’t care about you. Not everyone is going to be kind and accepting. People are judgmental and no matter what we wear, what we look like, how much we weigh, how we dress, people will always have something to say. If you’re going to be “oh my god I don’t have thin arms and what if I wear this sleeveless top wont people think I’m fat?” or “oh my god my legs are so muscular people will think I’m so unfeminine” you’re not going to be happy and you’ll probably end up just staying at home and dwelling in your misery. I mean, why place your happiness and self-esteem in the opinions of people whom you don’t even know and whom you will never even see again? Even if you do know them, why place your happiness in their hands anyway? Don’t let their opinions be the be-all and downfall of your self-esteem.  

Find a role model

I’m not sure about you, but for me, I find it helpful to have a role model to look up to, especially in times when I’m feeling vulnerable about my body. I’m not skinny, and in a society that continues to glorify thin bodies, I sometimes feel ashamed about my curvy/muscular body and find the confidence in myself depleting as fast as women running toward the sales. I still have problems accepting my body, especially my arms, legs and my tummy because because they’re not toned or thin as society thinks should be. So I look to role models such as body-positive people I find on Instagram who share in my struggle with accepting their body but find ways to embrace themselves. I also look to fashion bloggers and some plus-size media personalities such as Ashley Graham & Nadia Aboulhosn who rock their bodies in whatever they wear. They inspire & motivate me to want to channel their confidence and remind myself that even though I’m not be skinny, I don’t have flat tummy or a tall thin body, I sure as hell can still rock a body con dress if I want to. 

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Ashley & Nadia

  Stop holding yourself to unrealistic standards 

Be kind to yourself and stop comparing yourself to others, especially people who seem to fit the physical standards of what society, or even what you think is perfect and ideal. Perfection doesn’t exist, beauty is subjectve and you can never be beautiful or thin or curvy or lean enough for anybody. When you compare yourself to unrealistic standards in the media or to other people, you’re treating yourself to a one-way ticket to poor self esteem. There is beauty in diversity so embrace your body type for what it is. You may not have some things other girls have, but then again, you yourself have some things that other girls don’t that they wish they have. 

When you are confident with your body, you unleash your inner queen and your confidence shows in the way you carry yourself. 

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What are some ways that you guys use to get body confident? Leave a comment and let me know!

#BornAndMade

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I love campaigns that seek to empower women. In a society that bombards us with messages telling us that we’re not skinny enough, not beautiful enough, not strong enough and not powerful enough, its sometimes easy to forget that our purpose here on Earth isn’t to look and be beautiful to gain the approval of others.

The #BornAndMade campaign is a marvelous brainchild collaboration between beauty brand Carol’s Daughter & activist organization I Am That Girl that aims to bring all girls and women together and celebrate their individual beauty, worth and uniqueness. By extending the message of self-love, it hopes to remind women that they are already beautiful and worthy and that they don’t need to fix themselves to live up to the expectations of what other people see as beautiful.

In a world where many of us struggle to find our authentic selves, its important for us women to remember our strength, our worth, our value & our beauty. Whilst making my own personalized picture on the website, I reflected on my journey – the obstacles, the triumphs and the failures, my struggle with recovering from an eating disorder since I was 17 & my journey to developing a more positive body image. It’s made me realize that I managed to overcome every obstacle that life has thrown at me. Up til this point I have survived everything that has been thrown my way. Up til this point in my life I have a 100% survival rate and I’m damn proud of that. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder
  2. Beauty is more than just physical looks.

We live in a society that measures beauty in terms of physical attractiveness; where beauty is defined within the parameters of such small characteristics and by standards are not all women can actually achieve. I mean how the hell am I supposed to get my eyes to grow bigger if you say women with big deep set eyes are considered beautiful? I can put on mascara but once I remove it, am I no longer beautiful? Despite being a modern society, women are still are commoditized; a commodity to be judged and valued based on how small your waist is, how busty you are, how clear your skin is, how smooth your hair feels, how straight your teeth are, the curves on your body, even our sexual orientation and sexual history. If a woman is too thin, she has anorexia; if she’s big she’s obese.

As women we need to be empowered to not only recognize this, but also reject it and bask in our own uniqueness & embrace them. We need to know what we are made of because that is what helps us continue being our true authentic selves. If we are constantly seeking validation from others, then we have lost ourselves; our worth has become displaced.

If you say I’m beautiful, thank you I accept that compliment whole-heartedly 😀 But I’m not just a beauty. I can’t always base my self-worth and self-esteem on physical looks because I’m never going to truly happy that way. Its taken me a long and incredibly tumultuous time to accept that I have a curvy body, and that I can never be thin enough for anybody. Even now I still struggle with feeling good about myself because I still struggle with wanting to be taller, thinner and leaner. Looks can and will eventually fade, and when they do, its what’s underneath them that will make you who you are. Love yourself enough to know that you are not defined by your looks, your weight or your size. Embrace you who are on the inside, instead of trying to be one that others think you should be. 

So let me ask you: how will you describe yourself if all of us women looked exactly the same? What sets you apart? What makes you special? What makes you you?

Underneath my physical exterior, I’m also insightful, I’m smart and I’m creative. I can make people laugh, I can dance salsa and bachata, I love watching Sex and the City and action movies. I’ve traveled on my own, I wake up everyday and continue fighting the demons that make me exhausted the day before, Some days I love my body but on other days I cry about it. I’m witty, I can be indecisive and I’m a performing arts junkie. I’ve been lost but I end up finding myself. I’m not going to base my self-worth on what you think is beautiful because that’s disempowering. Beauty is subjective and I refuse to be disempowered. Yeah I’m gonna fall every now and then, but I’m going to get back up on my feet because

I am made with strength and a whole lotta sass.

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Love Your Body Week: Look 1- Back to Black

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This week I shall be dedicating posts in support of Love Your Body Week (7 Sept – 11 Sept), that’s jointly launched by the Butterfly Foundation and Sportsgirl. To those of you who may not know, the Butterfly Foundation is a organization in Australia that not only provides services to individuals affected by eating disorders and negative body image, but also reaches out to friends and family members of affected individuals to give all of them the care and support that they need. I love this because eating disorders don’t just affect the individual diagnosed with it; it has an indirect impact on those closest to him/her as well. The Foundation also advocates for the development of a healthy body image and they do so by offering a series of workshops to schools & programs to raise awareness about the role of eating disorders in body image and instill body confidence in everyone. In line with the Foundation’s overarching objectives, the Love Your Body Week aims to emphasize the importance of having a healthy body image, developing body confidence & also to remind individuals that our self worth is not based on our body shape or size

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What exactly is body confidence? Body confidence isn’t just about feeling and looking good. Its about being confident with the body that you have. With th Throughout my years of struggling with body image, I’ve learned that body confidence comes to us when we do these two things: when we accept our body and then embrace our body. It means:

  • Accepting and acknowledging that the body you have right now is the best and only body that you will have at this very moment & choosing to be okay with it.
  • Accepting and acknowledging that you have a body shape that’s different from others,  that there are women who are thinner than you, curvier than you, leaner than you and/or taller than you.
  • Accepting and acknowledging that bodies come in all different shapes and sizes but instead of criticizing yourself for not being as thin as others, you choose to be okay with it instead of spending the next few days/weeks/months/years mentally bashing yourself over it.
  • OWNING YOUR BODY LIKE YOU MEAN IT BECAUSE YOU ARE A QUEEN

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Everyday we are flooded with messages from the media, from society, from the diet, fitness and fashion industry, and sometimes even from our friends and family that out lumps and bumps should be flattened, covered or sucked out to achieve a svelte body. This causes so many of us to question our looks, cause us to lose confidence in ourselves & look into ways to alter our appearances to live up to a standard that is almost imposible to achieve unless you have Kim Kardashian’s parade of stylists, nutritionists, trainers and makeup artists in the palm of your hands 24/7. The unhealthy messages wasseverely impacting my body esteem and I spent a long time believing I had the wrong type of body; a body that’s unworthy and ugly.

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When we accept our body the way it is, we treat ourselves with love and respect; I believe body confidence is reflected not only in the way we speak about our bodies and how we carry ourselves, but also through the way you dress. When I hated my body so much when I was younger, I blatantly refused to wear dresses, short skirts and sleeveless tops. I hated that my arms were skinny enough. Cropped tops frightened, and I guess to a small extent, still frighten me because I don’t have a flat stomach and I was wearing black most of the time. I love dressing up, but my body image problems overwhelmed and prevented me from expressing myself through fashion. The only outfit I’d considered safe was big baggy black long sleeved tops with blue jeans or denim shorts. I rarely/hardly wore sleeveless things or slim-cut clothing. White pants were out because the magazines say white isn’t slimming. Dresses were too feminine for my unfeminine body. I felt trapped and unhappy.

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Since I embarked on my eating disorder recovery, I’m learning how to respect my body more. Its taken me a long time to accept that my body is curvy, yet there are days when I have trouble embracing my body because some part of me still wishes I were taller, thinner and leaner. However my acceptance journey is reflected in my choice of clothes. I’m slowly stepping out my comfort zone and experimenting with different styles, cut and even color.

HENCE, in honor of Love Your Body Week, I’m going to combine body-positive blogging and fashion blogging in which I will share some of the outfits that reflect my style, and acceptance of my body that pushed me to step away from loose baggy ill-fitting black tops and jeans into things that actually make me feel beautiful and good about my body. And, also because I love fashion 😀

Today’s post will be a MAJOR MAJOR throwback to the very first official photoshoot I did with a friend last year at Gardens by the Bay. It was probably my first time doing a photoshoot in collaboration with another body activist (HI NISSA WE GOTTA DO THIS AGAIN) for a post which I did last year about fashin and body empowerment and so I thought it apt to revive it for this occasion because it

100% carries the message I want to spread to others about body confidence today, especially if you yourself have low body confidence which makes you feel ashamed about wearing certain clothes so go read it thanks & i know it might be a slightly long read but it’ll only take up like 5 minutes of your time or even less! (read it here).

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Fashion isn’t just about showing the world your style, wit and flair. Its also a reflection of how you feel about your body. If you’re confident about your body, you don’t choose outfits that hide your body out of shame and hatred. You choose to wear a particular outfit because you feel confident in it and confident about your body, you feel fabulous in it and you choose it because it screams “I’m wearing this outfit because I’m okay with my body and I don’t care if you have a problem with it and I am going to rock this!’

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A black dress is a must have for every woman. I have 4. They’re clean, simple, classic and versatile but sometimes I feel the need to style it up with accessories to showcase my own personal touch. I paired this black bowler hat for that off-beat hippy vibe to add some edge to this classic straight-cut midi dress, before finishing the look with ankle boots. Sometimes when in doubt, you just have to go back to black.

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Have you ever noticed how you respond when you look at a picture of yourself, or even as you stand in front of the mirror? You spend a good amount of time getting dolled up(or not) and pick out that decent-looking outfit and think you look fabulous. But then when you finally see those photos when the day ends, you look at yourself and after a nano-second, go: “Oh god i look so fat” and/or “How do I lose 10 pounds in 2 days because I really need it.” and/or “My arms looks like chunky sausages”.

I met up with a close friend the other day at our alma mater. It was a fabulous day. The skies were brilliantly clear and blue (though the sun was burning & bright I couldn’t even open my eyes properly for pictures) and the school grounds were mercifully empty due to it being study week. When I looked through the pictures she took for me while on the bus home (because who can wait til you get back home?!), I was a little taken aback. I thought I looked…well…bigger…than what I thought I looked in the mirror. And without any hesitation, in less than a nano-second, a nano-nano second really, I automatically starting pulling and picking myself apart “Oh my god my arms are so fat I hate it.”, “My calves look disgusting”, “I need to lose weight”.

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 Why is it so easy to point out the flaws in ourselves than it is to notice the positive? Naturally I felt like crap afterward, but then suddenly, and very inexplicably there was a small part of me that went: “Stop it Serene. Just stop. This is what’s going to make you hate yourself more. This was what you did before. You’re different now. The old you would tear yourself apart from limb to limb. The new you is embracing yourself and trying to love yourself more. STOP. This is the body that you have. You can’t force yourself to lose weight in 2 days. This is the best version of yourself you can be right this very minute. You may not be skinny but you have curves. STOP.”

I guess after 1 year of hard work at practicing positive thinking has finally sparked some change in my thought patterns. Its like my mind has quietly developed the ability to detect disturbing anomalies in my thinking; anamolies that threaten to take me back to being the old me, the depressed, self-hating, constantly counting calories and avoiding “bad” foods me. A different person came up. A more positive, self-loving person determined to rebut whatever it is that my ED voice is telling me. So all the way on the bus ride home, my internal dialogue shifted and I repeated that positive affirmation to myself. And I could feel my emotions changing for the better. Just half an hour ago I was upset & downcast & ready to hide in my baggy clothes for the next 53 years. But after changing the way I thought about myself in those pictures, I felt so much better. I felt calmer and thought less about losing weight. Sure it took a while, but hey, I felt much better.

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Here’s the hard truth: when we don’t love ourselves, we’re forever constantly picking out flaws. And we do that because we don’t love ourselves enough to see other positive qualities in us. We pick out our flaws, because we don’t live up the the expectations that we have of how we want to look like. When we see that our arms aren’t muscular & toned like we expect them to be, we say they’re fat. When our tummies aren’t tight and toned like we expect and want them to be, they’re jiggly & disgusting. Our expectations of how our bodies are affecting our dialogue with our bodies.

So while I’m working on trying to accept myself, it turns out I still have some expectations about my body that might have been a little….well…not so good because there I was, sitting in the bus and flipping through the photos which my friend took for me & constantly picking out flaws and dismissing myself as fat.

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You see, when we talk harshly about our body parts and criticize them repeatedly, we become susceptible to negative perceptions and emotions. After all, what we think, we feel. And vice versa. When you think you’re ugly and fat, you automatically put yourself in a bad mood. When you overload your brain with negative dialogue, there’s less room and effort for (1) focusing on the positive things about yourself and (2) reframing the negative into positive talk. When you continuously pick out flaws in yourselves, it becomes a habit and every time you look at yourself in the mirror or in a picture, or even just by yourself, you’ll automatically start tearing yourself apart. Imagine doing that for the next 20 years. 20 years of picking & pulling, criticizing & complaining. Its no wonder we hate ourselves.

When we automatically engage in negative internal dialogue about ourselves, it becomes easier to fall into the trap of making lists of forbidden foods and starting to count all those calories until we end up developing terribly distorted body image, low self-esteem and confidence & disordered eating patterns. We start to feel overwhelmed. Powerless. The old me was constantly picking out physical flaws, aspects of myself that didnt live up to the standard of phsycail attractiveness that I so strongly adhered today before. I was therefore, constantly striving to repair my flaws. I ended up developing disordered eating and obsessively exercising which only fueled the nagyve self-talk when I wasn’t able to live up to my expectations and lived in failure.

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So maybe my arms and abs will never be as toned and small as Jillian Michaels and I won’t ever be as thin as Kendall Jenner, but it doesn’t mean I have to beat myself over it. Body positivity involves acceptance of yourself, loving yourself and also being kind to yourself. Unless you have Aladin’s genie, you can’t change your body overnight. You’ve been at war with yourself for such a long time and all that negative self-talk got you to such a low depressed, self-hating state. Its become a habit. A disease. A healthy body image requires one to have a positive dialogue with oneself. It won’t occur overnight. It’ll take time and effort, but it’ll change you for the way you think about yourself, and for the better.

So next time when you start thinking negatively about your body, make the conscious effort to stop and reframe those thoughts. Think back to how you felt about yourself whenever you engaged in negative internal dialogue. Do you still want to continue feeling that way the rest of your life? NO. So do something about it. Make the conscious effort to change your thoughts, because when your mind makes the effort, your heart will follow. 

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