Disclaimer: This is intended to be a positive post about body image in which I speak of my own experiences. But if you are sensitive to body issues or lean towards obsessive body thoughts, I would please not read this, as it may be unintentionally triggering for some.
Both men and women struggle with body positivity. I do think women tend to struggle more, and that’s because our bodies are far more unique and variable. This post will only really be relatable for women, so I would probably not read if you are male.
When a woman looks at a size chart, taking her chest, waist, and hip measurements she usually falls into multiple categories. It’s really hard to find clothing that actually fits right. This is why women used to only wear dresses, because our bodies were not meant to be contained or fit into a single, specific, one-fits-all size.
Finding the right pair of jeans was an absolute nightmare, unless you had that go-to brand to always fall back on — which is why I am so glad that they are not in style like they used to be, and why I vow to never wear jeans again. The only reason I was okay wearing them so much in my teen years is because I had one specific brand and size (dELia*s, duh) that I religiously stuck with.
Casual dresses and skirts regained far more popularity in the past decade, but they are still not always practical. That’s why I am grateful for stretchy clothing… for loungewear, “sports wear,” leggings, and sweatshirts. They are the best. The woman’s body is not meant to conform to the clothes, the clothes are meant to conform to the body.
I really wasted so much of my teen years being upset over my body, like every other teenage girl. I always thought I needed to lose more pounds, that my thighs were too thick and tummy too round, but my chest too flat and my arms too skinny. Meanwhile my friends would say that they were jealous of my body, and I didn’t understand, I thought they were crazy.
First there’s initial puberty in your early teens, when your body completely changes and it’s kind of terrifying. And then there’s secondary puberty in your early adulthood, not as dramatic, but like the final touches where everything fills out. My teen body was certainly not a child’s body, but definitely not a woman’s body either.
It is natural to gain more weight in early adulthood, because your body is still growing. A lot of that weight will go to “good” places like your boobs or butt or hips. A lot of that weight will be muscle, as you are much stronger now. But it can be scary for those who have control issues, for those who feel pressure from Hollywood and the media, all of us who have been told lies that this is unnatural.
Honestly, when I came into adulthood, it was really hard for me to accept going from a “small” to a “medium,” which I think is crazy now. In my eyes, all I saw was an unplanned change in my body. They told me that all girls stop growing when they’re 16 or 17. I should’ve been happy that I could fit in woman’s clothes correctly now, instead of drowning in them like a little child. And let me add that going backwards, from a higher size to lower size, probably would’ve been just as frightening if it happened beyond my control. It is scary to watch your weight change dramatically, whether it’s increasing or decreasing, mainly when it happens by surprise.
I was exercising way more, I was eating much healthier, and I was still gradually gaining weight, which I didn’t realize was perfectly normal. I was gaining muscle and I was evening out. I might weigh much more than I did as a teen, but I think my body is so much better now. I’m super strong now and I can lift and carry things I never could before. My chest grows every year which makes me happy — I went up 2 cup sizes from 32B to 32D (that’s still pretty small, 32 band will always be small, but still!!!) And my chest continues to grow, no one told me how much they would actually grow in my twenties, and that they will keep growing for the rest of my life.
I will never be 100% happy with my body and I don’t think anyone ever is, regardless of how you look, how much plastic surgery you may have had, whatever. At 27, I am happier with my body than I have ever felt before. I am full and filled out, I am not a small child anymore, I am a grown woman. I work full time, I pay my bills, I have been through a lot of tough lessons, and I am glad my body shows for that.