Dear ladies of NZ,
Disclaimer: this letter was written after a gin-induced rant, which included the throwing of the writer's arms into the air in despair at the fact ladies don't love themselves and their bodies enough. This letter is an attempt to encapsulate that despair and passion into written form. Enjoy.
With the holiday season in full swing, the weather hot, and the beach calling our names, there's a lot to consider when it comes to our bodies. There's overindulging at Christmas time (pretty much my favourite part of the holiday season) and the subsequent guilt and body hatred that might ensue (something I've liberated myself from). There's also the fear of our bodies not being 'good enough' to get into togs (spoiler alert: if you have a body - it is good enough to get into togs).
Get a bikini put it on your body
I despise the term 'beach ready' in relation to bodies and so when I saw a cartoon recently about getting a bikini body in one easy step, I was thrilled. Instead of the usual rubbish around getting a 'bikini body' that hits women's magazines after winter (diets involving canned tuna and smoothies, doing ab routines with a bag of flour in your home, etc) this simply said 'get a bikini, put it on your body'.
I love the idea of summer that we're sold on ads and in the shops, of carefree sunny days at the beach. But the reality is there has been times in the past that the thought of going to the beach with friends terrified me. I filled with dread at the thought of having to wear togs. I worried about what people would think, and I know it's not an uncommon thought. Society is constantly telling us we can't be in a swimsuit unless we have a body worthy of swimwear. Let me tell you this: every body is a body worthy of swimwear.
Now, not everyone is going to be comfortable in a bikini, but it's the message that's important. Shopping for one that you like and feel great in is crucial. The message here is that really, we all have a body worthy of swimming at the beach, and who is anyone to tell us otherwise. If you need some inspiration, this excellent piece by beach beauty Ally Garrett is a great start.
Dress to make yourself feel good
I overheard a girl in a clothing store fitting room recently who was trying on dresses for an occasion, but declared she couldn't wear a certain number because of her knees. Her knees. She hated her knees. Imagine spending your life in that turmoil of hatred? There's a thin line between love and hate, and here I'm going to pose something radical. What if we turned that hate into love?
I'm all for dressing for your shape, and dressing for yourself, and wearing whatever makes you feel good. Confidence is pretty much the sexiest thing anyone can wear, so if you do hate your knees, by all means wear a maxi skirt. But don't feel like you have to cover them up for anyone. If you would be cooler in shorts because it's sweltering outside, embrace your knees and everything you once hated about them and find some shorts you like. Go shopping! Love your knees!
What if we all completely liberated ourselves from hating our bodies? Stopped obsessing over scales, stopped constantly comparing ourselves to others. Comparison is the thief of joy, and who do we think we are to do that to ourselves and make ourselves so goddamn miserable? Isn't one of the greatest things about life that we're all so different?
We should still do what makes us feel good. There's nothing like that feeling of euphoria you get when you make it to the end of a spin class without vomiting. Likewise, I've got a healthy addiction to lipstick, and don't really like living without mascara. I'm not saying we shouldn't care about how we look, I'm just saying we should think about liberating ourselves from hating the negatives.
It's a negative way to live, and one that can be turned around. It's just about shifting the focus.
Loving your body, having a positive self image, is one of the most powerful things we can do.
Have a happy summer,
* Delaney is a freelance writer who shares bits about food and other things at heartbreakpie.com.