Family & Life, More Inspiration, Popular
My Body Image Issues (and how I’m over them)
Posted May 29, 2015 by Bethanie Lunn
This is story I’ve told before but wanted to update now that I’m in a very different place. I had shied away from doing so because I felt hurt and embarrassed. Still. Over 10 years later. However, I felt it my duty to share my experience with females everywhere (and guys if you’re reading), of all ages, in a bid to inspire you and get us talking about key issues…
I grew up a feather-light teenager with a killer figure, in fact my nickname was ‘stick’ referring to my skinny frame but as I entered my late teens, I put on a ton of weight and went up three dress sizes. Hormones, puppy fat, whatever the reason – the weight gain was fairly fast and whereas I’ve always been a confident person embracing the whatever, whoever and however that life throws at me, it was the bullying of others that brought me down.
I had just returned from holiday and felt golden and glowing so I wore a little lace dress to show off my tan. In a nightclub that evening, a total stranger turned around and said to me, ‘you shouldn’t be wearing that’ and looked me up and down in disgust. How cruel. This man made me feel so small when I had felt so positive before. I prayed my friends hadn’t heard him say it to me to save me from embarrassment and gave it everything I had to put on a brave face and continue my night.
I’ve been asked the typical, dreaded question, ‘when’s it due?’ when I’M NOT PREGNANT and for me, when my weight increased so did my (already massive) boobs. This encouraged men everywhere to look at those before they looked at my face, talk to my chest and not to ‘me’ and once, across a crowded bar as my friends and I got up to leave, a man shouted, ‘see ya big tits‘. What the hell gave him the right?
I immediately yelled back, ‘see ya little dick‘, to a bar full of people who erupted in laughter. This time at his expense. Yesssss!
In the end, I made a joke of it all. If anyone had a quip or criticism, I was ready. Make a joke of my size and I’ll use my wit to embarrass you too. I learned to be quick-thinking, quick-witted and quick to heal.
Behind the camaraderie though I felt broken, angry, bitter. I wasn’t overeating or lazy, it was just the way I was. I was a good person who didn’t want any trouble – so why be so cruel?
When I couldn’t muster the energy, it was my friends that picked me up when I was down. They were the ones who told me I was beautiful and to forget ‘the little people’. I will love them forever for that.
Over the years, I naturally lost the weight and reached my ‘happy weight’ of size 12 which feels right to me. I had my first child two years ago which saw me put on three stone through the pregnancy and I guess being ‘bigger’, the experience bought back some of those difficult memories.
Whereas I’m not as slim as I was before pregnancy (not many of us are right?), my boobs look like, well, like they’ve fed a child and my tummy looks like a dogs ear BUT I have to say, this time I’m a lot stronger. This time I don’t give a shit. I’m happy in my own skin, whatever my size and I give the one finger salute to anyone who tries to belittle me or any other person in this way.
I’ll admit, I still look at svelte women and wish I had their flat tummy / lean thighs / chiseled jawline but they may well look at me and want my curves. After all, we all want what we don’t have to some degree.
Overall though, the beauty of these life lessons for me is to appreciate what you’ve got. I’m me and I’m proud of me and it’s seriously OK to say that you love yourself – not in an arrogant way but in a self-confident, appreciative, grateful way.
I know that I’m one in millions of people out there who feels the same and has experienced similar and god bless you, worse experiences.
Body confidence and looking and feeling your best is what influenced me to become a personal shopper. Alongside a career in fashion and beauty that now spans 12 years, I learned to dress for my shape – from teenage angst to pregnancy, how to disguise a post mummy tummy and everything in between! I now share my wisdom with women everywhere and have newly launched a series of shopping packages with Churchill Square Brighton. Prices start from just £20 and you can choose from group shopping experiences or private one-to-ones. Check them out >here<. I’m ready to make you feel fabulous.
If you need advice or to want to share experiences, please comment below.