In this post, I’m going to talk about my body.
I am 5 foot 4, and I weigh roughly 8 stone. I don’t mind sharing this information because I’m fairly comfortable with it. I can’t change my height and my weight has been pretty much the same since I was sixteen; then, I was just under 8 stone, and I’m just over now.
However, from the age of fourteen, my weight fluctuated a lot. Probably because I was going through my last growth spurt. Over time, I gained a stone and a half, but throughout it I was always fluctuating dramatically up and down every couple of days.
Over the past year I’ve gained about three quarters of a stone. I have fast metabolism anyway, but when I was valeting I was walking around a lot. Now, as a receptionist, I spend my whole shift sitting down.
I’m going to whinge about a few things (surprise surprise).
Recently, two body-related things have been annoying me.
The first is that when I tell people I’ve put a little bit of weight on, or that I’ve started doing exercise in an attempt to get fit, I always get told “You can’t say that when you’re that skinny,” or “You can’t tell me that you need to lose weight, you’re tiny.”
And yes. I am a generally small person. But it’s frustrating that because I’m small, people assume that 1) I’m fit and 2) it’s impossible for me to gain weight. Especially when the people rolling their eyes and laughing at the idea that I don’t have a flat stomach or that some of my clothing is getting a little tight on me are the same size as me, or even when they’re thinner than me.
I wear a size 8, and if you also wear a size 8, then we are the same size. You are not “fatter” then me, and I am not “skinnier” than you. Our weight may be different, and it may be distributed differently. But if we both comfortably wear the same size clothing, you cannot fairly claim that I am thinner than you.
Also, I don’t think I need to lose weight. But even if I did, you have no right to tell me I shouldn’t. As long as I’m healthy, it’s fine. But don’t tell me that, if anything, I need to put weight on. I’m not underweight. I’m actually average weight for my height and age. Just because I’m saying that I’ve put on half a stone, that doesn’t mean that I think I need to lose it.
Fitness, in addition, doesn’t directly correlate to weight or body size. I was fairly fit when I was 11, but I was also kind of chubby. I was also fairly fit from the ages of 13-16, and I was very thin. But school life is different to adulthood. In school, I had a lesson once a week dedicated to exercise and I walked everywhere if it would take me an hour or less to get there. Now, my fiance drives me from door to door a lot and I hardly walk anywhere. And I’m average build. My diet was also a lot better back in my teens because my mum was making all my meals for me. Now, my diet is not even a proper diet, it’s whatever me or my fiance can me bothered to make at the time.
If I want to get fit, that doesn’t mean I want to lose weight. And if you’re larger than me, that doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to say I weigh more than I used to or that I need to exercise.
The other thing that’s been getting at me recently is this idea of a “summer body”. Obviously, it comes up every year. Adverts telling me to get “beach ready” and get my “bikini body”. Always with clips of completely smooth and shaven, tanned young women. Flat stomachs, but with their bodies completely upright (because I’ll tell you, when someone with even the flattest stomach sits down with a little bit of slouch, rolls appear because skin naturally collects like then when the space it’s in becomes smaller). Smiling as wide as they can, makeup done flawlessly, hair falling perfectly.
And I watch it and think, that’s what people think I look like. Like they genuinely think that underneath my clothes I have no fat and no hair whatsoever.
So let me tell you something.
For a start, my body doesn’t change that much from season to season. I don’t put on a whole bunch of weight in winter and I definitely don’t put in any effort to lose it when it’s warm.
I don’t feel the need to tan. My skin isn’t pale because I’m mixed race or “naturally tan” if you like. And I also tan pretty easily in the sun anyway, even if it’s just a little bit.
But here is a realistic look of my summer body from top to bottom:
Hair: my hair is curly and frizzy at the best of times and humidity doesn’t help. In the summer I usually cut it short because my neck and scalp sweat a lot. My roots get all clammy and my neck becomes sticky and disgusting, and the hair close to it soaks it up. It’s grim. At night I usually tie my hair up right on to of my head to avoid any more sweat getting into it. Then in the morning I’ll take the hairband out and just leave it because it’s unlikely that I’m going outside unless it’s for work, and then I wear it in a half-up/half-down style which disguises the tangly, clammy mess that it is.
Face: I don’t regularly wear makeup. I only really wear it on a night out, and even then sometimes I can’t be bothered. And I’m glad. Because summer would destroy it. My face is naturally oily and greasy. It becomes shiny again maybe an hour after I wash it. It rejects moisturiser. It’s usually sporting blackheads and red patches where I’ve tried (and usually failed) to get rid of spots. And it sweats. My hairline; the sides of my nose; my chin; my fucking eyelids. I glisten in the sun. My eyes sting from salt getting into them. In the summer I can usually be seen with an expression of general discomfort, or a smirk because I think I’m funny.
Body: go on, guess. Yep that’s right. SWEAT. I shave my body hair because I think it looks better but also because there are parts of my body that sweat which I kind of wish didn’t. And I feel like having lots of hair in those places doesn’t really hep that situation. But even when I shave, my legs feel prickly again the next day, sometimes even that day. And my underarms and other regions, I’ve just come to accept that it’s never fully gone. Usually I’ll wear as little as I can without it just being underwear, or I’ll wear something as loose as I can so it doesn’t stick to me. My favourite is some form of crop top with shorts or a skirt. Also I probably smell of men’s spray deodorant a lot because I think it works better than women’s, so I’ll use my fiance’s aerosol as well as my own roll-on.
So I know I’ve talked about sweating a lot, and that’s because I think it’s ridiculous to pretend that it doesn’t happen, especially when the temperature is so high that it’s impossible not to. I sweat everywhere there’s a crease on my body. Unpleasant to think about, but true.
My “summer body” is an overheating, sticky mess. But when it’s too hot, I don’t wish my body would change, I wish the weather would.
That concludes my rant for today, thanks for putting up with it.