Monday, 28 October 2013

It's like invasion of the body snatchers

About a month ago I decided to get my hair cut shorter. It's been quite long since before I had my boy and I fancied a change so I had more than half of it chopped off. I love it, it's much handier to style and I've now got the hang of using far less shampoo and conditioner so I'm not left rinsing it out for hours. The strange thing was that only two people noticed and commented. It made me paranoid as I was convinced that meant that it looked terrible.

I don't mean I was fishing for compliments. I mean I was surprised that no one seemed to notice. If someone has changed their hair I will mention it, but I might say, "you've had your hair cut shorter, it suits you" rather than, "your hair looks lovely" if it doesn't - after all if you think someone looks rotten you won't say so will you ?

At my thinnest - at sister's wedding
At university I had quite bad acne that I was sure people stared at. I was convinced that if someone was looking at me it was that they were staring at my blemishes. If you ask anyone I knew then if they recall my appearance they normally mention my very long hair and obsession with shoes rather than my (mostly imagined) hideousness. I've realised that a lot of people don't notice at all - they just don't look at faces or features. I notice things about people. I look at their appearance when I talk to them, but you have to choose when to tell someone they look tired - it's just not polite, so I'd err on the side of never.

I rarely look in mirrors these days so I have no idea what I look like. I manage to go whole days without looking at myself and use either the small mirror in the back of the sun visor of the car or a handheld mirror that is smaller than my lipstick to apply eyeliner and lippy. It isn't because I don't care, I just don't prioritise myself any more. I also have quite a low opinion of my appearance so I'd rather not have it confirmed by looking.

Once upon a time I used to go to the gym every day - sometimes twice a day. Admittedly I was single then and could only access the internet at the gym so I spent hours there and would go to kill time and being able to swim and exercise was a bonus. I was a lot fitter and took part in charity runs, did the Moonwalk one year and could walk up stairs without groaning about my knees. I trained to teach yoga and all the others on my course were slimmer and fitter than me so I dieted and lost weight and was the slimmest I've been as an adult.

At my heaviest - waiting for the train.
Then I fell pregnant and my body changed. That was fine and I was delighted with my growing body as I was pretty sure I had the capacity to get my shape back, maybe not at my thinnest, but certainly slimmer than I am now. I tried everything that I was told, breastfeeding didn't make me slim, walking everywhere with my boy in a pram helped, but it didn't make me thin. And now my boy is three years old and I'm still avoiding mirrors as I don't want to see what I already know. That I am still not a 'yummy Mummy' and while others snap back into shape after making many babies I'm morphing into my aunties after having just the one.

My sister cursed me when I was pregnant by saying that I'd get fat and not be able to lose the weight - I laughed it off as I was sure she was wrong - she was right. All the women in my family are big and I spent my youth trying to keep fit to avoid the inevitable. Now I have creaky knees, a persistent shoulder injury and while I still exercise every day it's through gritted teeth. I do 100 stomach crunches every morning (VB does many more than that), but I'm not about to show off a washboard stomach any time soon.

Victoria Wood made a joke years ago about walking into the Body Shop and saying, "I'd like mine in a size ten please." I hear that.

Does anyone know where my body has gone and how I can get it back please ?  Mine appears to have been snatched !

1 comment:

  1. Do you know what...... you look ace (point a), also when ever I was around you I think 'she has such heart' (point b)....the way you carry your heart in what you do and you make it work, and if it doesn't you change it. You have heart! Do you know how many people are missing that?! Em xxxx p.s I love your blogs!