Many of you will know that my summer holiday has already come and gone (to my utmost dismay) and I returned from a week long break in Italy on the 10th of June, alongside celebrations of mine and Nathan's 6 year anniversary on the 9th of June (which feels amazing to say as one of my first posts on this blog was marking our 2 year anniversary!).
Aside from mourning the gorgeous views of Lake Garda I woke to each day, saying 'Ciao' at every possible opportunity and my daily over-indulgence of carbohydrates (note: I haven't eaten pizza or pasta since returning from holiday - it just won't be the same!), I've been mulling over the difference in my body image whilst I was on holiday and here back in England, now the July heatwave is upon us.
There's something about being in a hot foreign country that makes it more acceptable to wear less clothing. Which is fine, obviously. But I've been thinking about my newly adapted carefree attitude to my body as I'm getting older, and how while I'm still reluctant to wear crop tops and anything vaguely showing a hint of cleavage and or thigh whilst at home, it somehow becomes simple enough to do it elsewhere?
Post eating disorder, I would argue that I, like most humans, still have PLENTY of body image hang-ups. I throw at myself the common insults that we somehow rejoice in sabotaging ourselves with - I'm too fat for this dress, these trousers make my legs look like tree trunks, my stomach is too flabby - etc etc etc. More recently however, I feel like the attachment of my body image issues to my previous eating disorder has lessened and lessened as years have gone by. I am aware that this has a lot to do with getting older, as much as I'd hate to admit it - and the self-acceptance that has become a part of that, which doesn't come naturally to everyone, I know.
At home, wearing dresses without tights is a huge deal, wearing tank tops draws attention to my chest (which brings on the gross wolf-whistles and smoochy kisses from strange men in white vans - hate to commit to a stereotype but it's true) - and the thought of exposing my stomach makes me feel sick. But deep down, I know there's nothing wrong with my body. I know there's nothing wrong with anyone's bodies. I guess that's become the crucial difference between my life whilst battling with an eating disorder and my life nowadays.
The freedom in Italy (and other countries I've been to prior) felt exhilarating. Not just when I was standing on top of the Dolomites mountains, or lounging on a gondola through Venice. When I walked out of my hotel wearing shorts and a crop top without giving a flying fuck about what people thought of what I was wearing or what my body looked like.
To just be in the moment and not care because there are far greater things in the world to gaze upon than the sight of your body for five hours that you've scrutinised it in the mirror for fat, lumps, bumps, scars. Five hours that you could spend living. Bodies are great, are wonderful, and they are capable of doing wonderful things, but if had let the way I felt about my body determine my life any longer, I wouldn't be standing on top of that mountain or on that gondola boat. My body was initially making me feel trapped, and in Italy it made me feel free.
I can't quite work out why I feel so restricted here back home in London. I've come up with a number of ideas but I guess people know me here. People are capable of judging me here. People wolf-whistle at me here, and occasionally follow me until I feel uncomfortable (yes, this has happened a couple of times).
How many times, on a hot day in England like this one, have I still worn jeans and t-shirts as opposed to shorts and tank tops for fear of what other people think? For fear of people (what people?) judging me? So many times. Looking back on my time in Italy, I know it isn't worth it. Admitting you have a few scars or a little fat on your stomach is okay. Admitting your thighs wobble and your boobs are too big for your waist is okay. Admitting your imperfections is okay because imperfections are the new perfections.
Life is way too short to waste days at war with your body.
I'll leave you today with a couple of pictures from my trip. Hope you have a lovely weekend!