body image, lifestyle

Body image, Instagram and saying thank you

It’s a Thursday evening (hurrah!) and I walk in the door and make a beeline for my laptop. I start typing away because, for once, I have a clear idea about something I want to talk about. I get these lightbulb moments every now and then (not regularly though so don’t get used to it!) You see, last night I posted some photos on Instagram of me wearing bikinis from my ASOS swimwear haul. I dithered so much over whether I should post them or not. I guess I’m a bit of a prude (insert granny emoji here) and I didn’t know if I wanted to put my body on Instagram for the world to see. Is it too much? Too revealing? I have to say, I’m that girl who’s always pulling at the hem of her dress trying to make it longer – but that’s probably because being tall means everything looks like a bloomin’ mini skirt on me. 

I got them ready to post, saved to draft, deleted and repeated this over and over until my boyfriend said, “Just post them! Who cares what people think.” I dithered again, staring at the images. I’m fairly body confident these days because, honestly, I really can’t be bothered to sit and worry about it, there are bigger, more important things that need that space in my brain (like what to have for dinner). If I’m honest, I hated my body as a gangly teenager and jumped for joy when I started to fill out (at the slightly more mature age of like 19/20).

Another reason I try not to dwell on looks is because spending every day hating what you see in the mirror is such a negative downward spiral, guys and girls. Nothing good ever came out of it. But that said, there’s something about baring my body to the whole of Instagram (I’m kidding, not the whole of Instagram thanks to that algorithm!) that I’m still not sure about. Honestly, I don’t know how some girls post pics like that every day – kudos to you ladies. 

Whilst I’m fairly happy in my own skin, I felt nervous posting those photos. Because what if people are horrible? What if they’re cruel and point out my imperfections? This is social media we’re talking about and we all know trolls aren’t those creatures that live under bridges (or maybe they are). I pride myself on being a fairly tough cookie and can usually handle whatever is thrown at me, but this is my body we’re talking about. Criticise my bed hair, my poor taste in music, my Spongebob pjs or my terrible sense of humour that thrives on sarcasm, that’s fine. Maybe because they’re out there for everyone to see. Well, apart from the Spongebob pjs. THE SECRET IS OUT! (Truth be told, I bought them not realising they had Spongebob written down the side. I thought they were just a cute polkadot design). 

Luckily, I seem to have the loveliest, most supportive ladies over on Insta and to my surprise received some nice comments. I think that made me squirm even more – half because I was expecting some sort of criticism and half because er, how do you react to that? When someone compliments your dress it’s easy to be like, “Good old New Look!” or, “It was such a bargain!” or my favourite, “oh it’s SO old I’m surprised it’s still in one piece.” But that doesn’t really work when someone says you have a nice figure (“oh cheers! It was in the sale…”) And maybe that’s sad, that we don’t know how to receive or react to such compliments.

I say ‘we’ in the hope I’m not the only cringingly awkward human being here. Do you say thank you? I personally find that hard to do. Or do you launch in to a spiel about how you’re actually so bloated from a bout of IBS that if you stood side on, you’d probably look pregnant. Or how you wish you weren’t so out of proportion. Or how it’s a good job you cut your legs out because you’ve had the mother of all allergic reactions to a fake tan (see last post for my tan woes) – although red snakeskin legs could be the new fashion statement I hear!

I read something a while ago that said our generation is the worst for receiving compliments. We either shrug them off or turn them back in to a negative. Which I think is pretty true. Basically, we’re not very good at smiling, nodding and saying thank you – and keeping the insecure ‘BUT LOOK AT MY STOMACH AND I HAVE NO BOOBS’ comments to ourselves. Maybe it’s because if we just say thank you, does that mean people will think we’re arrogant? Will people think we have zero insecurities? I guess this is a message to say, ladies (and gents!) let’s have some confidence in ourselves. We get one shot at this life, don’t let the majority of it be spent picking out your faults and wallowing in self-pity because someone has a six pack and you don’t. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Be proud of who you are (I really need to take some of my own advice here…) we all have flaws and imperfections, but most of the time we are the only people who can see them in ourselves.

Oh, and if like me you have no boobs and some IBS bloating, natural lighting and stretchy waistbands are your friends. And squish your elbows together – that’ll help with the boobs – or lack of. (Kidding). 

Katie x

P.S. Just finished writing this to realise it’s 7pm, I’m still sat in my coat and I’m yet to make dinner. Sigh.

P.P.S. I’ve attempted to make dinner and threw half my cooked salmon on the floor…and half in the cutlery drawer. I think I used up all my brain power on writing this post!