Friday, 12 April 2013

On Image Issues.

As I've been posting a few OOTDs lately, either here or on Instagram, I thought I should explain why it's taken me a long time to gain the courage to venture into outfit posts.

I'm a size 8, and I have serious confidence issues with my figure. Call it selfish, most do, but it's a serious issue that shouldn't be shrugged off, because flippant comments about weight make people like me even more insecure. I've never been a fitness fanatic, I don't work out, I don't belong to a gym, I've never had a keep-fit kick. I just stay a size 8 without any effort, and while I should be pleased with that, my family's always made comments throughout my education:
'Once you leave school and finish PE lessons, you'll put on weight and then you'll have reason to worry about your figure...' 
'Once you leave college and stop rushing round to classes, you'll put on weight and then you'll have reason to worry about your figure...'
'Once you leave university and stop walking a mile up a hill to campus every day, you'll put on weight and then you'll have reason to worry about your figure...'
Of course, it's not happened yet. But I worry about my figure to the point it makes me considerably depressed and indecisive when choosing my outfit in the morning - which top is the tightest? Which pair of jeans fits me the tightest? Any clothes with a bit of give make me instantly feel bigger than I am.
I'm sure there are some of you out there who are already getting angry at me complaining about my image, but I thought I'd explain anyway, so I'm sorry if I've already upset readers.

So when did this start?
On a school day out to London, I wore tartan skinny jeans that were a size too big for me. Skinny? In my head, I looked bigger than I was. From there, I hated all clothes that bunched on me, if it didn't fit properly, I might as well purposefully  wear flares.

For my school prom, my mum bought me a size 14 dress, and I knew no better because I wasn't a girly girl, I assumed formal dresses were supposed to be a little loose. A little is an understatement. She had to pin it together at the back on the day because it was literally falling off me. 

That was the turning point when I became conscious of my size. I grew up wearing boyfriend jeans, flares that would hang off me anyway so I was never massively interested in what people thought about my image. Looking back, I'm a little embarrassed that I let my teenage years slide away wearing jeans that went out of fashion 30 years ago.

As I moved into college, I became well aware of my image thanks to countless careless comments from fellow students about the clothes I was wearing. I made use of theme days to dress up in tight clothes I would never have otherwise worn, but I was still vividly conscious of how big my thighs were in leggings.

I spent my college years avoiding the conversations about my size and why I wasn't wearing skinny jeans when I was clearly an 'alternative' girl. I just couldn't get over the fact my legs were too big, and my flares were my mask to save me from having to think about it. 

Then something happened. I can't quite explain it. In November 2011 I was going to see The Darkness and I went shopping beforehand, bought black skinny jeans, thought to myself 'to hell with my fat thighs, I'll go for it, it's only for one night' and threw them on in the toilets before the gig. To use a cliché we History students use - the rest really is history. I haven't worn baggy jeans since. I've lived in those skinny jeans (obviously not the same pair) ever since.

This is how girls like me pose after a gig, wearing jeans I never thought I'd wear before.

Had I really overcome my fear of my thighs?
Not by any means. I'm ridiculously specific about my skinny jeans, they HAVE to be super skinny, skin-tight and impossible to take off without pulling a muscle. Any creasing fabric and I instantly feel conscious about my size.

What breaks me out of my feeling that I'm fat?
Not much at all. Trying on size 6 jeans that actually fit, buying any clothes in Primark because I'm always a size 6 there. I feel uncomfortable wearing size 8 clothes because that still feels like a size too big. That's about it.

What makes me feel worse, besides baggy clothes?
There are certain people at my university who think it's okay to come up to me and make comments about my image. No, it's not okay, it's not okay to do that to anyone. The conversation usually goes like this:
Them: Hi. There's something different about you today.
Me: *looks down at myself* There is?
Them: Oh yeah. It's a new top.
Me: Oh yeah.
Them: What size is it? Looks a bit big on you.
Me: Well they only had it in a 10.
Them: Then why did you buy it?
Five minutes later...
Them: There's definitely something different about you.
Me: What?
Them: Oh, it's your lipstick.
Me: *awkward* Yeah I felt like wearing red today.
Them: Oh.... okay. It doesn't suit you. Maybe go for something a little paler? You're too pale for that.

Why do I need telling that I have a new top on? Why do I need to be grilled on buying a new top in a different size? Why tell me to my face that I don't suit my lipstick? Why give me advice on buying a better lipstick? SHUT THE FUCK UP.
I'd be more conservative about this in a blog post but I'm livid even thinking about it. I wouldn't mind so much if this advice was coming from a fellow woman who knows what she's talking about. No, all this comes from a man.

Surrounded by this poisonous kind of environment, my insecurities are seeping back into my life again. But blogging is helping. Posting OOTDs is helping me see that I don't really have room to be conscious about my image. Actually finding a full length mirror on campus is helping me see that my legs are not the size I see them as from the vertical perspective, because I've never owned a full length mirror at home so I've never known what my figure really looks like. This is what I see normally:
Not the most appealing angle, now is it?

But it's all thanks to OOTDs and the lovely comments I receive that keep my confidence in myself. So thank you guys, you're amazing :D

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  1. *virtual hugs* because you made me tear up and I couldn't not. I kind of relate, I've never had a full length mirror at home so the top down thigh view is my usual, and I have body image issues. Though the only place I've been a size 6 is the USA =P.
    For what it's worth, I think you look great. You have an awesome style and, in hopefully the least creepy way possible, a killer figure. And those people at Uni need a boot up their ass, no one has the right to say stuff like that.
    and skinny jeans are win

    1. Aw lovely no creying, not allowed! :P Yeah I really think it's the lack of full length mirrors that breed image issues, it's such a superficial thing but it really damages us! Hehe American sizes make us feel so thin :D Thank you so so much, I'll take it all in the least creepy way possible although frankly I'd even take it in the creepy form, just because it's you :D Men are dickheads, but uni men are vile, that is all. Haha skinny jeans are definitely win! xxx

  2. I'm a size 8 too and I've had some issues with my weight in the past. It bugs me that I'm not allowed to fret over my weight because my size isn't double figures according to some people. You still have those days. You have an absolutely gorgeous figure, however, and I'm glad you finally took the plunge and went for skinny jeans because they look great on you. As does red lipstick, some people are such idiots. :) x

    1. Woo for size 8! Yeah it's a social kind of oppression that we shouldn't feel bad about ourselves because we're not as big as some, that's why it took me so long to get this post written, I was waiting for a backlash from 'curvy' bloggers, frankly I'd rather be 'curvy' too so I'd not have the worries of offending people that are! Hehe thank you so much, I'm so glad I changed eventually but it really took some time! :) x

  3. Another *HUG* from me too. I completely empathise with this! I too spent my teens in baggy clothes: I really had no proper feminine rôle model to guide me. Paranoia about my weight & shape didn't affect me until I was about 20 though. My weight fluctuated so severely that I was up to 10.5 stones by the time I was 25 & I was attracting comments from my over-achieving sister-in-law. "So, Sue, do you frequent the gym at all...?" I realise of course that 10.5 stones at a height of 5'7" is not much to worry about, but you don't have that mindset at the time.
    Then due to a combination of stresses I reduced to just under 8 stones: hideously underweight. But no comments from the lovely sister-in-law. Say no more.

    I'm now 41, a mother and a comfortable 9+stones and a size 10....8 on a good day!! I'm blessed with good genes and high metabolism. I STILL haven't got a full-length mirror but I do think it's a must to get one! You'll never lose concerns over shape & weight but it DOES get easier, I promise you.

    And you look fabulous. :-D

    1. That's a point, I never had the feminine role model to tell me otherwise either, so that explains the baggy jeans to some extent! Oh dear, that's in-laws for you, why on earth were they invented in the first place?! That's the problem, the minute someone else says something, regardless of your logic that your weight is nothing to worry about, their words just stick like glue. I guess we can only hope the sister-in-law will see the error of her ways when she goes through the same thing eh? Wow you're definitely so lucky, I can only dream of staying a size 8, on good days you can thank your diet and on bad days you can just blame it on the genes :P
      Thanks so much for the reassurance, it's great to hear that I'm not the only one, not in a sadistic way, but hearing that it's not unusual to be concerned about your weight when you're not even in double figure sizes! x

  4. I really liked reading this post! I am the curvier girl (size 16) but through school was a 14 and my best friend was a size 6/8. She had all the comments that you mentioned regarding size and it really got to her, I think she probably got more hurtful comments than I did being a bit bigger.
    The amount of times she wished she was bigger, but much like you she didn't actually go out of her way to stay that size, she just was. She got much the same comments of when you leave school, college, uni etc but having left uni a couple of tears ago she's still the same size.
    I don't think it's ever OK to make a comment about a person, everybody has those days where they just feel terrible and comments like that just make you so much worse.
    Everybody deserves to be who they are and the size they are and not be judged on this.

  5. I have to sat you look pretty damn gorgeous in the photo with the red tie! It really bugs me too, constantly though high school if you were anything bigger than a size 8 you were fat. I;m never going to be anything smaller than a size 12 and I'm okay with that, it just took me a few years to realize it. Girls shouldn't be judged :( xo

  6. You're absolutely gorgeous! I understand this post but I dont get it, if you get me? I feel fat in everything. I do think as Im growng older that Im growing more into my skin. But I still see an ugly cunt when I look in the mirror. So I get you in that sense. But you're so beautiful, its madness to me that you're insecure. xox


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