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157: Shape of You

There's a whole wonderful and empowering body positive image thing going on over on Instagram at the moment. I applaud and totally back it and think what's being said - and done - is so long over due. It's making women I know, my peers, feel more confident and less afraid. It's making ME feel more confident and less afraid, albeit in a more quiet subdued sense. 

I am totally and 100% behind this: yes, we women should absolutely be proud of our bodies, whether we've created life or otherwise. For those that appear on my timeline that have created life and are flashing their mum-tums (their words, not mine) I totally applaud it. That takes some guts, and bravery, to bare what may not have been the tum they had pre babe. Carrying a babe around in your tum for nine months and then giving birth, breastfeeding (or not), trying to lose whatever weight you gained whilst also trying to survive the newborn days is incredibly hard. Sometimes, nigh on impossible. 

Now, I'm going to stop here. Because I know a load of people are probably going "yeah but I bet you didn't have that problem, Lady B." I am small, yes, always have been. (Actually, that's a bit of a lie, I did have a pudgy stage between 12-14 where very few photos exist of which I am grateful. I also liked to wear a lot of velour. Like I say, grateful.) I get asked a lot how I manage to do my job without being fat, or at least, overweight. Given I'm allergic to my best selling product, it does make it tricky to munch continuously, but you should know I snack considerably when I work and often on a mixture of fruit and some sugar of some description. 

But yes, I often get a sly look - see old blog post here where I wore a dress and got some stick for my skinny appearance. 

And so here is my thing: I wanted to post a photo, of me, in that dress again, as my positive body image. I wore it for the first time since that last blog post, at the weekend. I put it on and even on doing so said to my husband "I feel really conscious." His response? "You look lovely, it suits you, wear it." And so I did. But I made a song and dance about it to every person that would listen (I was on a Hen Do), almost embarrassed to be wearing it.  

This year has done one thing for me; I've employed an added dimension to my decision making: yes / no / fuck it. More often than not these days, I land on the "fuck it". More chocolate? Fuck it. Another glass of wine? Fuck it. Book a holiday you can't afford? Fuck it. Wear a dress that previously made me feel terribly insecure to a Hen Do where I knew only half of the Hens? Fuck it. Post a photo of me in said dress to add alongside a social media campaign I feel is worthwhile and important? Erm, No. (And I really really want to stress that; I am whole heartedly with this campaign and its absolute requirement in everyday life for everyone. Yes.)

And so I've kept putting off posting it. Why? Because I feel like this campaign doesn't necessarily include me. I realise it's about being proud of who you are in your skin, and how you look, and how you feel. And actually, I think that I am. We know I've had a funny ol' start to the year, and I've a new scar to add to my body which is a sign of something I'm proud of  - for want of a better cliche word - surviving.

And I too managed to grow life and give birth, my body is pretty amazing, yes.

I also feel less conscious about my skinny appearance; I am skinny, I can't hide it, and I'd much rather embrace it and find clothes that look good on me, then hide myself under a baggy top and badly fitted jeans. Except I do feel like I have to apologise for how I look, for the skinny. I'm not trying to be an advert for skinny; I eat, and I eat quite a lot, and it's so important to me that my Mini B doesn't think skinny is a "necessity". But my diet is restricted and I'm also pretty busy, paired with a high metabolism and also a desire to never feel so full I may burst (I really hate that and class that as one of my biggest pet peeves in life). 

I had an event to go to last week also, that awards thing where yeah I didn't win blah blah blah BUT my point for bringing it up - other than to shamelessly post a photo at the opening of this post of Sue Perkins with a Lady B biscuit - is that I searched high and low for an outfit that didn't make me look too skinny. It was literally my only criteria that I placed on myself: don't look skinny, King. Look healthy and happy. It was so incredibly hard. Something slinky = too skinny. Something poofy = hiding the skinny. What I opted for still made me look skinny in places but I think went some way to strike the chord I was hoping to achieve. My over arching point? Shopping for events like this isn't easy, and yet everyone seems to think it will be for little ol' me. 

I realise that there may well be a load of people rolling their eyes and asking why I am daring to moan. I don't mean to sound moany, or ranty. I simply want to say this: I want to add my body to that positive image campaign because I too think the fact I am skinny and conscious of it and so striving to normalise it, is just as pertinent. I don't think I am excluded from this campaign and I am sure this isn't the desired effect. I am simply worried I would have eyes rolled at me should I post it so openly alongside the campaign. 

And so, I wrote this blog post to explain WHY I haven't joined in on the campaign and also why it means perhaps, something entirely different to me. 

BUT as a hashtag for the campaign insists: This is me. And I am body positive. 

So. What you've been waiting for. A photo of me, in that dress again. Proud. Sort of. I'm getting there. Or as I say far too often of late: fuck it. 

Be good and bake well,

Lady Bakewell-Park