I don’t know where I fit in

*This post is about body image and weight loss. Please don’t read it if you feel this may negatively affect you.*

If you’re a long time reader of my blog, or you’re a friend of mine in real life, you’ll know I’ve been through a few changes in my life. We all have I’m sure.

What you may not know is that I still don’t feel like I fit in. I don’t feel like I know what my place is, or should be in the world, because of how I look. Or because of how others feel about how I look.

A bit of a walk through the past explains the why, but not the where. Please read with an open mind and an understanding heart.

Age 5-11

I had a distinctly average looking body for my age (I’m cringing at how awful that sounds to say, but this is where the mind of childhood Jenny in the 80’s/90’s went, as well as those who looked at her) in some photos you could even argue I was fairly slim. But, not as skinny as some of my classmates it would seem, even then. Girls at my school learnt very quickly that the best way to hurt someone’s feelings was to insult their size. I was told I couldn’t play leapfrog in the playground because my ‘bum was too fat’, when I started dance class I was called ‘elephant in a tutu’ both by girls who were supposed to be my friends. Once, I was even punched in the stomach by a boy in my class.

Age 12-16

So, things got better for me at high school? Did they bollocks!

Boys were interested in girls bodies, girls knew it, and girls had further refined their weight-related insults. When I was about 13, I was with a group of friends when one said “let’s all say how much we weigh” so we went round the table, and when they got to me I told the truth (which was about 8st and I was a size 10-12). After a few moments, one of them said “oh no, Jenny is the heaviest” and they all gave me a sympathetic smile. I knew for a fact some of them had lied but didn’t say, because I didn’t want them to be embarrassed, or to look vengeful myself.

It was around this time that my Grandad started to make regular comments about my weight and how I looked. He’d recently gone on a much needed health kick, gotten fit and lost weight, and I was apparently his next target to ‘fix’. Even my mum made the odd comment – once she said if I lost enough weight over the school holidays she’d buy me a whole new wardrobe and all the boys would fancy me.

Early 20s

Came out of a serious relationship, lived alone, thought nobody cared about me, ate what I wanted and partied hard. During this time I received probably the most horrific comments I’ve ever had, some from people I didnt know. At work I was described as someone’s before image, “she looks amazing now, she looked like you before”. Someone else asked why I was so fat when I ran around busy all the time, and an older gentleman who had health related weight issues told me “we have to to be careful, people like us, fatties”. This was around the time I was newly in a relationship with the man I’m now married to and I was so worried all the time thinking ‘why the hell does he want to be with me when everyone else clearly has such a low opinion of me??’.

Mid to late 20s

I was married, had an active social life, and was (now I can look back with a more objective eye) a pretty average body size. Because I consumed too many sweet and high calorie things, towards my later 20s I decided I had to change how I looked after myself so that I could feel more positive and less lethargic. I figured making changes before I hit 30 would be easier than making them later.

Early 30s

I’d made the aforementioned changes, feeling more lively and I looked different. Quite different actually. It was the first time I’d ever been considered a ‘slim girl’ in my whole life. I went through moments of being proud of myself for making changes I felt I needed and sticking with them, actually looking in the mirror and feeling aright about myself, yet confused by how other people’s opinions of me suddenly changed.

If I posted a photo on Facebook, dozens of acquaintances would comment calling me skinny minnie and asking for my ‘secret’. In the real world I had strangers come up to me to telling me I looked good, van drivers honking their horns at me when I went for a walk. One time, a car full of blokes stopped in the middle of the street and shouted things about my arse out of the window. I’d NEVER dealt with anything like this before and I felt overwhelmed and embarrassed by it. I wasn’t doing anything to invite attention, I was just out in the world going about my life.

People were still a bit rude to me about my size, but different to before. When I’d go to check my weight and measurements (I personally found this helped track my progress) I’d be tapped on the shoulder and asked “why are you here to get weighed love, you obviously don’t belong here”. There were points when my friends weren’t particularly friendly either. They weren’t impressed that I’d stopped drinking or chose meals more carefully when I went out, and they weren’t shy about letting me know. They’d make neggy comments to me, or say our other friends looked nice but would never say it to me like they used to. They told me I was boring or acting like “a bit of a pyscho” about my eating. Even now, if I bring up my weight or how I used to look, they ‘remind’ me I was not nice to be around .

My family, on the other hand, were bloody delighted with my progress. They’d never miss an opportunity to tell me “how much better” I looked and how worried they were before that I was killing myself but were too scared to say anything. So, they’d been judging me behind my back for years? STILL my Grandad wasn’t pleased – he said I hadn’t lost enough weight and was “too wobbly”.

Mid 30s

I re-entered the world of work (after spending 5yrs at uni) and had to deal with some very toxic people. The result? Started drinking again, eating more sweet/high calorie food, my clothes didn’t fit me anymore. I felt sad that I’d undone my hard work and angry that I’d let hateful people drive me to such a low and vulnerable point. By the time they exited my life (not nearly soon enough) the rot had set in quite severely. I’d been blogging about three years at this point, yet could barely even look at myself in the mirror and before taking smiley photos to put in my posts.

This was also the time the Facebook acquaintances reappeared. This time, their opening line was usually “so what happened to you?” or “you look different now.”

No neggy comments from the family, but don’t worry, they’ll make it back…

Late 30s

And this brings us nicely to the present day. Which, to be honest, isn’t that nice.

One toxic work situation ended but I somehow found myself in another about six months later. This time it was much, much worse and lasted twice as long. I comfort ate my ass off, got the biggest I have ever been, hated myself and the rest of the world for pretty much everything. And I must’ve fallen pretty hard into the depths of despair, as I had family and a couple of friends begging me to get help. When speaking to friends about wanting to lose weight and feel more comfortable again, the response I got was “yeah definitely, but don’t go crazy like you did before. You got too skinny and it wasn’t nice.”

I gained a few ‘Furlough pounds’ as a lot of people did, and that’s when my Grandad finally decided to pipe up and let me know how disappointed he was in me. I know it’s difficult when dealing with the older generation; they have no filter or concept of how their words can be perceived, and his cut deep. Phrases such as “we need to walk you”, “So what size clothes are you wearing now?” and “I’m trying not to hurt your feelings, but you really need to do something about this” have hurt my feelings a lot. I have a mirror; I know what I’ve looked like before and I know what I look like now. I know what my goals are and how to achieve them. Behind the scenes, I may even be quietly doing just that. But you think I feel like turning into Jane Fonda after someone has ripped my self confidence a new one? No I do not.

So after reading that, do you know where I fit in? I’m not accepted by society in body type; I cant make myself or anybody else happy. I’m fresh out of ideas on how to move forward and live my life to be honest.

Thank you for making it to the end of this post, and for getting here with (hopefully still) an open mind and understanding heart. I appreciate it lots.

J xx


What does ‘having a glow up’ really mean?

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.

Credit: @adele Instagram

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.

Credit: @adele Instagram

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.

Thanks for reading, J xx


FASHION & LIFESTYLE/ Say Whaaaat….?? Taking Back Control

  
Right now I feel fortunate in my life; I have a lot of great things happening and great people around me, and for these things I’m very grateful. But for me it always seems as if something goes a little bit wrong when the majority goes right, and obviously THAT’S the thing my mind zeros in on. 

Right now, the thing that’s going wrong for me is my weight and how I feel about my body. I’ve had serious issues and battles over the years, which this pic will put into context for you 

And this is closer to how I look now , hoping you can see a difference! I must stress at this point:

1- Everyone has their own ideals about what looks good on them/to them with regards to their size and shape, what I’m expressing are concerns about my personal ideals. I have every right to feel how I feel regardless of how other people may see me.

2- It doesn’t matter how other people see you and how many people tell you however many positive things about your appearance…if YOU don’t feel it inside, it kind of falls on deaf ears.

3- Losing weight for me has not been an easy process, it took me a loooooong time (a little of 3yrs to be exact) to get my head properly in the game to make real life changes in order to get to a place where I was more comfortable

4- The right clothes and fabric can conceal things a lot better than you might think!

I genuinely thought I had this thing licked – I could eat really well, know I’d feel good doing so and enjoy what I was having. I embraced regular gentle cardio (an extended walk every day to a retail park near my house)  and didn’t feel the need to have any hugely indulgent treats very often. 

What I’ve learnt since reaching my target weight back in December 2012 is that I can still be weak willed….VERY weak actually, on occasions. This year I’ve been too naughty too often and as a result it’s making me feel sluggish and bloated. I often dont like a lot of the pictures when I’m shooting a blog post, and when I sit down I see bits sticking out I just don’t like.

  
I know that whinging about it won’t change anything. However, I also know that I can do something about it. I can kick myself back up the bum and get back on track- looking better and feeling better than ever before…so that’s what I’m going to do!  

 

Thanks for taking the time to read whilst I share my inner thoughts, more will be on the way soon. Anything that pops into my head, it may just make its way onto here.

Stay Stylish

J 😘xx