The Help Desk: Are We Not Allowed To Like What We See?

October 07, 2016

(Originally written: AUGUST 11, 2016)

It's summer. Supposedly the time when it's hot and more skin becomes exposed (though this is England where we wear shorts and a winter coat in an attempt to accept summer then go outside and face reality.) It also happens to be the time when we notice more about ourselves, as we can feel more exposed as the winter protective layers of thick jumpers are removed, we see bikini body articles and we accept the fact that no, we only managed a month our new exercise routine for the year, and that was back in January... I am no closer to looking like Gigi Hadid than I have ever been and look much closer to a blob fish. This is also probably the time when we notice our so called flaws more. But are they flaws (well no) or are we trained to see them as that? 

Take stretch marks for an example. I have them on my thighs and have for years, though half the time I didn't really know what they were. They were just lines on my legs and not once have I ever thought about them in a negative light. But sitting on my bed in shorts with them facing me, made me feel that I should not like them. Why? Because I've read so much negative stuff about them in the media and online. How this cream will get rid of them because you do. not. want. them. Or how this exercise will help reduce them and make them fade. But why. They're just lines. How do they make me any less of a person? I cannot justify to myself any reason that I shouldn't like them. They just sit there, only seen by myself, and are proof of what my body has gone through to grow into the person I currently am. Lines and blemishes should not be hated or covered. They make you no less of a person, if anything they make you more of a person, and more human. They make you real and perfect and awesome because they show you did not become you over night. You became you over time and through struggles and through battles. No I do not hate my stretch marks, but the simple fact that I questioned whether I should hate them makes me hate the media. How they prey on something they feel we can define as wrong with us and provide a so called solution so we feel that it a problem that must be fixed.

Is the media making us believe in so called flaws that don’t exist?

This applies to everything. Take wrinkles. I think I remember reading in Lisa Eldridge's book FacePaint that anti ageing is a new thing (though I  may be making that up... I don't have the book to hand to had to check). Have people always been worried about lines on their face? I for one am excited for wrinkles. I hope for many a crows foot because it shows I have enjoyed a life of laughter. Lines on our face and across our body show our life story and tell people we have lived. A scar should not be lightened because that could tell someone you are ashamed that you went through a battle and won! An acne scar says we lived through the teenage years and matured as a person to become the fully fledged adult we were destined to become. 

Embrace your wrinkly future!

I think this leads into my second question for you. 

Are we expected to not like ourselves? 

Maybe this is just me. Someone who cannot big themselves up, and is constantly conscious of a need to look modest (in speech). But I feel like there is an expectation sometimes, that we will always have something we don't like about ourselves. It is almost frowned upon to, in this day and age, say, you know what. I like how I look. I have no problems with my body. I feel fantastic, look amazing and have no physical flaws. Even as I was writing that I started to add on the end "and so do you" to make the speech less cocky and boastful, and so I didn't look like I was putting anyone else down. I felt bad for writing that, and it was an example. It is not true that I personally am 100% body confident, whether because of unobtainable beauty standards or because I wear a leotard once a week and dance in front of large mirrors during ballet class, so my stomach is much more obvious than when I wear everyday clothes. But the fact that I wrote that without it even relating to myself and I felt like a bad person and ashamed to write it, just demonstrates how much, at least I feel, we have been programmed to be unhappy with our body. However, that is not to say that things are not changing. 

I am a popster. Well, not a dedicated one, I haven't followed a Blogilates calendar in months due to exams and lack of motivation, but I am subscribed to Cassey's channel, newsletter and have the app. Her followers are amazing individuals who really spread positive vibes in the sometimes harsh internet and big each other up to feel better about themselves while encouraging them on their fitness journey. But why am I citing a fitness channel? Surely, fitness schemes like this are the people that make money out of us not feeling great about our bodies, and make us feel that we do not look good and need to change. Well yes, that is true. But what I really want to bring to light is the body positivity that streams through the app. When someone has reached a milestone or gained the body they desire, they happily express how good they feel. How good they think they look and do this unapologetically. This is what we should strive for and beyond.  Body confidence, not just because we are physically fit or have met the standards of beauty the media  and companies tells us we should have so as to use their products, but confidence in our body, no matter the shape, and confidence to say I look fine. To look in the mirror and see no flaws, because flaws do not exist. We should accept everything that we are because our bodies are amazing. My body is amazing. Your body is amazing. Repeat that to yourself. 

"My body is amazing!"

It digests food, fights off disease (I've heard doctors say that the medical care they provide only gives our body the opportunity to heal itself), keeps our heart beating and our brain working. Keeps our core temperature stable and carries out millions of chemical reactions every millisecond. That is not a flaw. That is a miracle. Why label our body as something it isn't? Do not waste your time and energy thinking about how you could edit something that does not need editing. Instead spend your time focussing on your heart(metaphorically), your intention, your actions towards others, and most importantly, you. What makes you happy. Go out and achieve it. My motto in life had come down to two simple words:

Who cares? 

Who cares if they're watching? Who cares if they're laughing? Who. Bloomin. Cares? Cause the likelihood is that they are not directing it at you, and if they are it, is secret jealousy at the freedom you have found to embrace yourself entirely and accept you. For you (but that's for another post entirely).

Embrace every part of yourself - no matter how ‘weird’ - and OWN IT!

So go out into the world. Remove yourself from the meaning of the word flaw. It is not something to be fixed. You do not need to be fixed. Question why you view a flaw as a flaw. Because YOU feel it is, or because you have been TOLD it is a flaw? Also, you need permission from nobody and nothing to love yourself and shout it from the roof tops(just don't bring others down to achieve this). Yes it is hard. But it is worth it. Because it allows us to focus on the things that matter. Because at the end of the day, we have one life in this body, so spend it on the more important things in life.

June x

Thoughts on this topic, or questions for a follow up post? Email me at or comment below. 

Want more body positivity in the mean time? Watch any Bubzbeauty video (from whom I formed my own views on body positivity from a young age. An inspiration to me growing up and someone who really viewed my outlook on life.) especially the ones from her Inspirational Vlogs Playlist. Em Ford's Video, You Look Disgusting and Cassey Ho's (Blogilates) video, The "Perfect" Body.

Oo and listen to "Scars to your beautiful" by Alessia Cara especially to the lyrics, so meaningful and just a beautiful song in general :) 

Update 31/10/16- I just watched this video by SoulPancake: Probably one of the best things I have watched in a while :) If you can't spare 9 minutes, watch Natalie Patterson's poem at the end if nothing else 😊

And here's one for the guys, because this is NOT  a topic reserved for women: I loved the bit at around 3:47 mins where  the guy says: "what my body should look like and what your body should look like are completely different things [...] I have see beautiful male and female bodies in completely different sizes". I have so many more thoughts since originally writing this two months ago that an extension post will be up in the future when I can find a moment.

Update 28/01/17 - Someone I've been loving recently and am totally inspired by for the message she spreads is Megan of @bodyposipanda on Instagram. PLEASE CHECK HER PAGE AND BLOG OUT IF YOU CAN SPARE A MINUTE.

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