Confidence is key, that’s what so many women’s magazines/style gurus/celebrities tell us and sure, there’s something in the rhetoric. However, is there really a way to become confident if it doesn’t come naturally? I must say I don’t really know what I’m talking about, there’s no secret recipe but I can tell you how I got here, by way of a thousand tears, some self-realisation and a whole lot of tying jumpers around my waist to hide my enormous junk.
People compliment me on my confidence all the time which is nice to hear but means one thing as far as I’m concerned: “You are so confident, despite everything”. I’m not being needlessly cruel to myself but let’s face it, I don’t look like a model, do I? I’m short, round, ginger and over 40 – I might not change a thing about the way I look but I definitely do not fit the ‘ideal’. So where the heck do I get off not giving a fuck?
The thing is, I do give a fuck and I also don’t. I’ve learnt the hardest lesson of my life now and that’s that I deserve to be here, even in my capacity as a fat middle-aged woman. I’m allowed to love myself with ferocity, I’m allowed to demand respect and I’m definitely allowed to wear fitted jumpsuits and enjoy the fuck out of fashion. How I got here was via a lot of reading, following fat activists and feminists on Twitter and slowly allowing myself to heal from a lifetime of bullshit from every corner. Diet culture, fashion magazines, adverts on the TV – they sell us one beauty ideal and although I know things are changing, they are changing slowly.
A few years ago something in me clicked into place and I no longer felt the need to beat myself up. I started to wear the clothing I wanted to and I started to relish myself. Obviously there are days when the confidence fails or I have a melt-down because I can’t find the thing I want to wear (hello work’s Christmas do last Friday!) but you’re damn right I’m as confident as I can be. I’ve earned the right.
I’m sure most people have read or seen somewhere that Khloé Kardashian (formerly my favourite) has a new show called Revenge Body.
While I haven’t seen it, and probably won’t, I feel I know enough to say it sounds bad. KK gets people to tell their stories, about who they want revenge on (exes/haters) and then helps them lose however much weight they’re convinced is the key to their future happiness. I say helps, I think it’s the trainers and nutritionists, not to mention the ‘revenge seekers’ that do all the work.
The concept of looking banging to fuck off your ex is nothing new obviously and not invented by a Kardashian*. I can’t deny that it is a satisfying notion to bump into someone who’s been hideous to you looking your very best, but the thing about this for me is that it’s all the focused on the body. On looks on the whole.
Like, I get it. Fat is bad. Fat is the last thing any woman would ever want to be because it is so heinous, I get it. Every day it is drummed into me and I get it. We’re nothing and nobody while we’re fat and should always be on some sort of journey away from it, at the very least. Except, I am fat and I likely always will be. I also love myself. What’s all that about?
Revenge Body and its current publicity campaign has got me thinking about my own RB though. The body I wish to express myself with, to defiantly face the world in. The body I would like to greet every one of my no-good exes with, should I ever be unfortunate enough to bump into any of them (there’s only one horrid one and if I saw him, believe that my RB would be the very last thing on my mind).
This body here.
My revenge is my defiantly fat and well-loved body. Soft stomach, wobbly thighs, lumps, bumps and dimples.
And the greatest lesson I’ve ever learnt is this: if you can look upon yourself and say, you know what I see my ‘flaws’ and I love myself anyway, then nobody else has the power to take anything away from you. People can’t throw your own imperfections back in your face if you love them.
They can say “God look at your fat arse!”, and you can say “I know, it’s good right? MASSIVE!”.**
So fuck fat haters, diet chatters, guilt trippers, old boyfriends who treated you like shit, people who think you should lose weight, self-appointed doctors, ‘well-meaning’ relatives, men in white vans, men in any capacity, anybody who thinks they have the right to comment on anybody else’s body or looks, myself included. And fuck self-doubt.
Fuck them all.
*I’m not a Kardashian hater, promise. **I make it sound easy, don’t I? It’s not easy, but it is satisfying when you start to really believe it.
I’ve decided to start my own Happiness campaign which sounds cheesy AF and it is but fuck knows I need it right now.
The concept of happiness to me is ever-changing. Every now and again, and don’t get me wrong I’m not miserable or sad as I type this, I just feel like I need a joy injection. Just a little something that delivers a swift shot of euphoria to keep me going.
This can be in the form of almost anything, from a new lipstick to three great days in a row at the gym (even one tbf). It can be a series of really good #selfies or a drinking session. The point is it doesn’t matter what it is but you’ll recognise it when you see it. Or more to the point, when you feel it.
So I’m going to spend this Summer exploring the things that make me happy. I’m going to start with this post on hair which is a hugely superficial sounding thing but is actually, in many ways, a much deeper topic to explore.
Wondering what the flip I’m going on about? It’s okay, that happens a lot round here. To hair!
I got my barnet cut off last weekend (image in that thumbnail over there on the right). Big fucking deal you might be thinking but I’ve been a long-haired lady for at least the last decade so bite me. I’ve been having it cut gradually shorter for the last couple of months but wasn’t happy with the overall effect (basically nobody noticed). This is likely because I was too scared to ask for what I actually wanted, something I am renowned for.
Eventually I got exactly what I wished for with a new (and amazing) hairdresser who just got me. It’s short man, and I bloody love it!
My husband does not. But that’s okay, it’s a shock to the system and essentially it grows out of my head so I get to choose. He’ll hopefully come round to how happy it makes me and deal with it.
I mean it’s not like he’s gone off me or anything but it has opened my eyes once again to men. The delicate feelings of poor overlooked and misunderstood men.
I’m not attacking my life partner per se but it’s a head of hair for fuck’s sake. Why shouldn’t a woman do what she wants with it? Why is the (mostly male) concept of femininity so wrapped up in the length of a woman’s hair?
Femininity to me is so much more and sure, it’s hard to define but it’s more than just a hairstyle (and it’s not gender specific either, yo).
We can’t all waft about with Khaleesi locks and it’s okay. Neither could Daenerys if she was doing anything other than breaking chains and fucking about with dragons, she’d at least have it up in a jaunty pony out of the way. But still men expect us to look that way, like a ‘woman’ at all times, comfort be damned.
Truth is, my long hair was cool and all but it was hell and I never maintained it the way I ‘should’ have. It got badly tangled the closer I got to ‘trim’ time and it was humiliating to sit in a salon having someone comb out the knots for 20 minutes at a time. I felt like a horse and not a prize-winning stallion, let me tell you.
So I decided to change it, for maintenance and also to change it up. Looking through Facebook I’ve had the same do the entire time. I want to look cute as much as the next person – and now I think I do.
I look upon my new hair as a political statement (albeit a small one). One in the eye of the men who’ve asked me what I’ve done to my ‘lovely long locks’.
The Italian man in the Co-op whispered about it with his colleague as I perused the sandwiches for god’s sake. How about I’m not your property?
How about you ring up this Cheese & Pickle, my man and shut your damn mouth?
So yes, I’m looking into happiness on the whole. Who knows where it may take me? But for now, I feel great about my new look and can’t stop running my fingers through my glossy bob (or ‘lob’ = long bob). I’d say that’s a pretty good start.
What makes you happy? (You answer doesn’t have to be existential, it can be as basic as you like) ❤