I’m pretty sure you’ll have seen this next photo – it’s been broadcast on social media, tv and newspapers alike over the past week so you’d be hard pushed to miss it.
This is world renowned, critically acclaimed singer Adele. At the time of writing, this was her most recent Instagram post celebrating her 32nd birthday. Adele used to look different to how she looks in this photo – she was heavier and a fan of the midi/maxi length dresses. Because she has posted this photo in a mini dress, looking much slimmer and VERY different to how the public is used to seeing her, the world has apparently lost their shit.
People have really been feeling some kinda as before now she’s skinny – discussing at length how she may have done it, how much she’s lost, what surgery she may have had done on her face and whether she’ll still be able to sing as well now she’s slimmer (spoiler alert: ‘experts’ have decided that she can, on the basis that Celine Dion is very slim and a very good singer). On the flip side of this, my social feeds have been flooded with people whom I consider very normal yet inspirational, feeling extremely disheartened with the way the media has reacted to this. It makes them feel that their bodies, that look similar to how Adele looked previously, are considered not as good and shouldn’t be accepted or celebrated.
So what do I think? To be honest, I’m not 100% sure, but all this talk has made me feel a bit weird too if I’m honest. As you may remember, I wrote a post earlier this year ‘It’s OK to want to change things about yourself without feeling like you’re hating on the world at large’ that kind of addresses both sides. I’ve been quite open about how I’ve felt unhappy in my body over the past 2-3 years, BUT I also explain why that is and what that represents to me. I think ultimately, to ‘have a glow up’ means that a person has taken charge of their own being and made positive strides to becoming the best version of themselves through their eyes. When someone is happy, this radiates or “glows” out of them in a way that makes those around them sit up and pay attention. That’s how I would define a glow up. Notice how I didn’t use any terms like “lost loads of weight”. Even though I don’t subscribe to weight loss as a pre requisite for a glow up, for some people it is a valuable part of the process. However for others it’s the opposite; because for them them having a very slim frame represents ill health and unhappiness. Both are valid points of view.
We might wonder why Adele had this sudden change in her life, how she’s done it and whether its made her happy, however I doubt we’ll ever have the answer. People usually show the best versions of themselves on Instagram so she could be made up with her progress…or she may have just been feeling cute that one day and decided to put up a pic (most of us do tend to dress it up a little on our birthday, current circumstances permitted). It’s quite telling that she’s disabled the comments since posting this pic (they were active on her last post at Christmas, and a fair few of those left were talking about her weight) I think she knows people will have opinions and questions and she probably feels kind of uncomfortable about that. She wants her legacy to be her amazing voice and brilliant music, not to become the poster child for losing a tonne of weight.
The moral of the story is – if Adele doesn’t want to spend time talking about it to everybody, whatever the reason may be, maybe we shouldn’t spend too much time talking about it either. She’s apparently happy doing her, so let’s all try and find our own happy doing ourselves. Let that be the take away from this.
How many times have you heard someone utter a statement like “so and so said that they noticed you’ve been doing this…” or “This person doesn’t like it when you do that”. I, for one, hear this a lot in my day to day life. To to untrained ear, you may think the person saying these things is being kind by giving you a heads up, trying to help you get on or not get in trouble etc.
I’m here to tell you that they are not.
What’s really happening is that the person saying these things is the one that feels them, but they lack the courage to come out and say so themselves. So what they do is hide behind someone else (likely somebody you don’t see or speak to directly that often). It’s usually because of the person used as a cover that’s its ridiculously easy to realise this happening too – think about it; if you barely see or speak to them, how are they going to observe activity that they are unhappy with?
This kind of behaviour is wildly problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can create unnecessary ill feeling towards the person whose allegedly made negative comments which in turn can damage friendships and professional networks alike. Secondly, it severely damages a person’s confidence levels in what they’re doing AND those around them. After all, could someone be feeding negative information back for people to feel this way about you? Finally (and somewhat most importantly) it can make you lose respect for the person delivering the so called third party message, as well as question their own credibility as someone who isn’t willing to speak their truth and say to you “I feel this way about something YOU are doing”.
So, whose at fault here? It really depends on the scenario to determine an answer to that. In a social or friendship group it could be either party – perhaps feedback is being provided to somebody someone finds a little intimidating so feels safer doing it from a distance, or it could be that maybe that person has another agenda and isn’t really so much of a friend after all. In a work/professional setting, the fault likely lies with the person who is most senior in the exchange. On paper, they have the authority to feel and express these opinions as their own, however in practice they’re clearly haven’t quite equipped themselves with the correct tools to do the job properly.
Unless you believe your life or wellbeing are in danger as a result of offering a person feedback (in which case, you should probably seek help from emergency services or authorities) then there is absolutely no reason in the world why an adult shouldn’t be owning their opinions and actions. If you think it, if you feel it’s important to be said to the person you think it about, you need to have the courage of your convictions and be honest about where the opinion came from. Not only will this garner the respect that you were honest with the recipient, but they’re more likely to take action that’s appropriate and to you’re liking far quicker. Sure people dont like to be criticised, but that’s simply not a good enough excuse to use somebody else as a security blanket in order to get your point across.
Should you call about this behaviour? I think yes, but as respectfully as you can. The last thing you want to do is get into a fight or alienate people with whom you have to spend a lot of time with. I don’t know the 100% right answer here, but to be on the receiving end I think it would be fine to ask something like “And how do you feel about this?” Or “do you feel the same as this person?” And then perhaps something like “Thanks for letting me know. If you have this kind of feeling towards me in future please do let me know and there will be absolutely no problem at all if the opinion comes directly from you rather the other person. I really appreciate the honest feedback”. This way the person will know you’re open and approachable to feedback and inviting them to share their directly with you in the knowledge that there’s less likely to be backlash on them. Hopefully this will help the person struggling overcome some of their insecurities about approaching uncomfortable situations.
Do you recognise this behaviour as something you do yourself? If so, please try and stop doing it. As adults there are going to be times when we’re put in situations we dont want to be in, but some short term discomfort is preferable to adding fuel that only helps fuel the long term breakdown of a relationship. Whether personal or professional, as a decent human being you shouldn’t want to do that. More to the point, who has the time and energy to be dealing with negativity that can be avoided? Not me!
I hope this has given you food for thought, perhaps even a little bit of a confidence boost. Whichever side you’re on, own your own opinions and let be known it’s ok to own.
We’re not going out, so you’d think they wouldn’t be much to report on this month. That’s kind of true, buutttt…we live in an age where we can do lots from home thanks to modern technology, so I’ve been pretty much living my life but in a slightly smaller space.
April Jenny still repped a lot of PJs and loungewear, however she also got dressed in some nice frocks for being in the garden or for the couple of occasions she had to go out of the house (If anyone wants to know where any of the items are from, leave me a comment at the end)
American Pie movies: the Mr had an urge to watch them again so out they came. They’re in that nice ‘easy, funny, escapist’ category which is needed right now.
Gogglebox: how have I NEVER watched this before? It’s so funny! I’m nosey and like peeking in to other people’s lives, and it’s also kind of reassuring to know that other people have the same kind of chats about programmes as we do at home.
Tiger King: I wasn’t going to watch this but social media chat got the better of me. It was definitely a watch! And (don’t @ me) I dont think Carole Baskin killed her husband….
Inform Overload: this is a YouTube channel that I’ve just discovered. They do a lot of videos about influencers and celebs that help to provide body positivity/reality (sometimes with a little bit of shade thrown in, full disclosure) which I’ve found both interesting and comforting.
My lockdown 2020 playlist: I made myself a little playlist on Spotify – it has everything from songs I love to cheese to those poking fun at the situation
Katherine Ryan, Telling Everybody Everything: This is the brand new podcast by ‘TV’s Katherine Ryan’ about a variety of topics including first love and pregnancy loss. She does it by herself which is kind of unusual for a podcast, but it’s no different to her doing a stand up routine
Said goodbye to my lovely nan: my nan’s funeral was held early in the month (which my family scheduled around mine and the Mr’s self isolation so we could attend). It was a very different kind of service as you can imagine, we did it all ourselves as there was no celebrant. I also went the to go see her in the funeral home, something I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do but I found huge comfort in.
Messing about with makeup: I’ve either been bare faced with gross hair or in full glam. I was hoping my skills would improve but sadly they haven’t!
Exercise: either for a walk outdoors or a dance fit workout at home. I will say that I haven’t done something every single day, there have been a couple of occasions where I’ve barely moved for a few days in a row.
Dyed my hair Rihanna red: I tried light pink, then purple but neither worked, so I tried red and that worked a little bit too well! If I’d had my roots sorted it probably would’ve looked better, but I got over the look very quickly and am still trying to fade the colour out.
Drinking: I dont drink often but I’ve enjoyed a few tipples at times of the week where I wouldn’t normally…my most popular blog post at the moment is Make your own Pomada so other people are definitely doing this too! I’ve also been drinking a helluva lot of tea and coffee, but still not enough water.
So, that’s April done and on to May. We’re well into spring, let’s see if that brings us closer to beating this thing.
Well, I think I can speak for the majority of us when I say that I didn’t quite expect the month to go down like this! It really just goes to show that bad things happen close to home that we care to realise sometimes. I hope you enjoy the ‘wearing’ section, outfits are mainly Next and Primark.
I’m That Bitch, Rupaul Drag Race Season 12 Queens: “I-I-I’m that bitch, that’s the way it is..” this is such an ear worm of a tune! It’s a great distraction from the outside world
Wasabi, Little Mix: How have I only just discovered this banger?!? I think it may be my favourite LM song
Gone Girl: First time I’ve re-watched since it came out at the cinema and I enjoyed just as much
Rupaul’s Drag Race: I’ve been catching up with season 6 re-runs and the new eps on season 12. There are too many Queens I’m living for at this stage, and I can’t get those challenge songs outta my head!
Man With a Plan: This series has just come to the UK and stars Matt le Blanc as a dad of 3 who has to take a more active parenting role when his wife decides to go back to work. It’s a typical cheesy American sitcom, just an easy breezy watch
As you can imagine,I had quite a different month from the one planned. Whilst it was still deemed safe to do so at the beginning of the month, I went back to Lesley Wilks for my annual nanoblading top up. I went a couple months early because I wanted them to be super fresh for my big holiday in April, which has now been cancelled. If you’re thinking of getting nanoblading have a read of the post I wrote on it last year
Other than that, I was simply working until the middle of the month when I started to feel knackered for no apparent reason. Then I started to feel hot all the time, which I put down to wearing jumpers and drinking hot liquids. The day after that I started to get a sore throat that worsened as the day went on, so went straight into self isolation ever since. My symptoms continued but didn’t develop and were manageable, but I have no idea if this is THE illness (no testing offered due to symptoms not being too severe) or another illness with hugely unfortunate timing.
Like everybody else in the world, this has meant that I missed out on some stuff in life, really big stuff at that. My dream holiday that I’ve waited a decade to take, celebrating our 10 ten year wedding anniversary and (most heartbreakingly) not being able to visit my nana in hospital just before she passed away. Or being able to be with my family to give and receive comfort during this difficult time. I feel guilty, upset, angry, numb and poorly. I’m not trying to play a game of who has it worst, but this has been my experience.
At difficult times, we HAVE to trust the people in charge to give us the best advice to keep us safe. We just have to. If we don’t have that hope, the world will continue to go to shit and I can’t face the prospect of that. We all know what we’re supposed to be doing, so let’s just do that and hope we can come out of this as quickly as possible. We’re so lucky to have technology that helps keep us in touch with people across the whole world, so we need to use this to it’s full and most positive potential.
Thanks for reading and wishing you all the very best for the weeks ahead,
If you made it through the tong twisting title, thanks for sticking with me on this one!*
It’s OK not to be OK. How many times have you heard or read this phrase? A fair few I’m willing to bet. I’m not going to dispute the authenticity of it, because I firmly believe it to be true. Everybody is different and reactions to different scenarios are a very individual thing. Just because you’re OK with something and somebody else is not doesn’t give you the right to question why they’re not, they’re just not. More importantly, they may not even know why they’re not.
Not being OK (and to be clear, by ‘not OK’ I’m talking about mental health) can be a difficult concept to grasp but those who are OK. It’s tough to understand something you have no experience with, and I do think we forget that when we see people behaving less than supportively towards those struggling. On one hand, it’s a positive that they’ve never been through illness that can be so dibilitating. On the other, they will never have the complete picture of exactly how the human brain can do torturous things to its host, or how it can receive the actions of others. You may live with someone or have a friend that’s gone through mental health issues and think you get it, but unless it’s you personally then you just don’t.
Whether you understand mental health and illness personally or not, every single person can choose how they approach and deal with those who these issues. Any human being is capable of showing understanding, kindness and support, yet some (an increasing number of, alarmingly) choose not to be these things. THAT’S the problem.
I think if society were to tackle mental wellbeing by starting with the people who are responsible for a lack of awareness and empathy that we’d stand a better chance of getting this in hand. You see, for once – it’s not you, it’s them. There can be all the destigmatisation and and support services in the land, but if people are still running around behaving like bad human beings then it’s kinda pointless.
I think most importantly, we all need to bear in mind that absolutely anybody could suffer with their mental health and some point without actually having a long term mental health condition. If you are somebody that currently doesn’t behave as a decent human being when approaching the mental health of others, I hope you bear this in mind.
Thanks for reading, J xx
Disclaimer: All of the words above are my personal opinions. They are not intended to offend, simply open a discussion on a very hot topic from a different perspective.
As I was growing up I lived as part of a society that taught me only one body was desirable to the opposite sex – Petite, slim, big boobs and long hair. In my teens people like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce came into the world of celebrity, and with their big booties and curvy hips they managed to gently prod a generation into seeing a different kind of attractive.
Fast forward to the present day, and the world has evolved again. Now we’re told that all body types are beautiful and should be embraced/celebrated, and that we should love our own body for what it is rather than what it could be.
But is it as simple as that?
No, it’s not. I’d like to go on record saying that I wholeheartedly support a society that acknowledges humans come in a wide variety of forms and to ensure that all are catered for as fairly as possible. I have a great admiration for people in the public eye and that I know in real life who project a confidence and sex appeal that I could only ever dream of. I fiercely stand by the opinion that fad diets/products DO NOT WORK (it still both bemuses and concerns me that a post I did about trying Boombod 2 years ago is still one of my most read every single month) however I do believe in eating plans that encourage moderation and good habits such as Slimming World.
So with all of these beliefs firmly planted in my mind, would it surprise you to learn that there are things I can’t accept and would like to change about myself? Because there are, and I do.
Thanks in part to J-Lo and Queen Bey, I feel confident in accepting that my body shape isn’t straight up and down, its somewhere closer to a pear (curvy hips and bigger thigh/bum area) but what I’ve never been able to fully accept is the size of my body, and this is the aspect I want to address.
There are many reasons why I dislike my body size. Primarily, it’s because it represents unhappiness. My body is the result of emotional eating caused by a period of difficult situations, and through lethargy caused by my fragile state of mind as a result. If I knew that inside I was healthy and happy, and that my weight gain was a sign of enjoying life, then I hav3le no doubt that I would feel differently about the reflection staring back at me. If each extra pound represented a romantic meal or nights on the town drinking cocktails with the girls, there’d be a valid and enjoyable reason. Don’t get me wrong; I have done those things, but far more rarely.
And this is why I think it’s OK for me to say that there are things I don’t like about my body shape or size whilst still being absolutely accepting of those that look different to me, similar to me or don’t want to look how I’d like to look. I’m not throwing shade at any of those people, I’m simply saying that’s not the right thing for me. I’m saying that I acknowledge I’m not completely happy or healthy and that I’d like to take action to change this. I’m saying that I’ve been through hell and my exterior reminds me of this every bloody day, which makes me feel worse. I’m saying that it will take more than a change in mindset to be able to accept what I look like. Finally, I’m saying that I am a different person to you – I’m built to think, feel and react differently, so my actions are going to be different to other people’s.
If people don’t like my opinions, that’s fine. As I said, everybody is different and has their own truth. However, they are valid and are mine. To say otherwise wouldn’t be very accepting of ME, would it?