On Beauty, Happiness and Big Bouncy Breasts

I’ve been trying to write this post for several days now (it’s a great distraction from revision/the impending doom of leaving Rawson House Level 1) and I’ve really struggled. I immensely dislike sentimentality and emotional outbursts and if this is what my post becomes then I have failed. I read somewhere that when trying to write something difficult you should imagine you are writing to a friend. So hello friend. I feel over the past 8 months of this blog you’ve got to know me fairly well. So here is my greatest secret and shame:

I would say I’m a fairly confident person. I’m no prude and I’m happy to talk about more or less anything, but there’s one conversation I always walk away from. That’s the one about my weight. Now to those of you who don’t know me I’m not some sort of elephant woman. In fact here is a full length photo of me so you can see exactly what you’re working with.

To be fair, I am drunk here and posing like a loser.
So as you can see, I am not exactly a french fry. Let’s bare in mind I am wearing my favourite (read: most flattering) dress and I have my hair done up nicely and my make up all neat and whatnot. Also, I’m wearing heels which definitely makes a difference. The point is in Topshop I’m a 12/14. And that makes me feel horrible.
I’m going to Nice with my boyfriend on the 26th June for a week and about 2 weeks ago I decided I needed to go on a diet. Why? Because the thought of wearing a bikini on the beach in front of people made me cry. I feel really ashamed admitting this like I’m letting you into my most intimate thoughts. It got to the point where I avoided changing rooms because the all angle mirrors were far too depressing. Photos were I look anything other than perfect are immediately untagged.
I haven’t wore jeans since I was 13 because I think my legs look fat in trousers. I don’t even earn a pair of trousers. Do you know how hard it is to put tights on when you’re chronically hungover, it’s freezing cold and it’s 8.53am and your lecture is at 9am? If not, I’ll tell you, it’s a fucking struggle. The summer is my favourite season because the sun makes me feel happy but baring my arms is something I can’t stand. I tell people it’s because I burn really easily (and I do) so I don’t want to expose too much skin, but really if my arms were sinewy and lovely I’d be happy to walk around like a lobster. As for removing the uniform of black tights…..Disaster.
It takes me hours and hours to get ready for a night out because I am so obsessed with the fact that from a certain angle I might look fat. I have wasted so many hours of my life standing in front of a mirror scrutinizing my stomach.
I know from an intellectual point of view I am not ugly. I’m not even fat. I am definitely within the realms of a healthy weight. In fact here I am, 9.19am in the morning in my dressing gown, make up from the day before on my cheek and my hair unbrushed. This is an uneidted, unflattering and above all a truthful photo of me. And to be honest I don’t look that bad.

Okay so I don’t look amazing, I certainly wouldn’t like to walk through Guildford town like this but if my boyfriend/flatmates/work mates/any demographic of people I know saw me looking like this I wouldn’t exactly mind. I like my eyes, they are big and brown and I’m blessed with good skin and a fairly petite nose.

In fact, it’s about 15cms of my body that reduce me to an emotional mess. 15cms. The size of a small ruler or a large (ish) penis. Not exactly something to send you into waves of discontent and pain. By the way, that 15cms start at my hips (ish), encompassing my stomach and span out to the tops of my thighs. Vagina is obviously included but I have little to no issue with my womanly garden. If you’d like to read more about woman bits go here (because it’s a really good post and Ivy is brilliant so you should read her blog anyway)

I don’t like my 34FF boobs (too big and too difficult to encase in a shirt/t shirt/any form of fitted garment) and I’m not an epic fan of my bitten to the quick finger nails. But I can handle these things, I can work around them. It took my a long time to accept ‘nature’s gift’ of abnormally large breasts. The mountains that sprung from my once athletic (no, really) chest took years to get used to. The stares from older men still annoy me, but as breasts go mine might be beastly, but they’re also rather good. I can do cleavage with a capital C and a v- neck makes me look like Wonderwoman.

I am what people would describe as curvy. Body like a guitar. Look like a coke bottle. Cliche but shaped like an hour glass. And apparently that’s what everyone wants, yak yak yak. Bollocks. Every cute or fashionable piece of clothing I find in Topshop/Dorothy Perkins/New Look etc is tailored for a straight up and down french fry. Not a coke bottle. To quote my darling friend Emma, ‘Imagine the awkward moment when my thighs fill the space in the harem pants.’ By the way, Emma is not fat. She’s beautiful.

I like the way I look. I do. It’s just the clothes that are made for young people are made for young skinny people. And I am not, and will never be, skinny. Girls can be cruel, we know this. But the way I feel in a body con dress is nothing to do with the way a girl looks at me when I wear it, it’s to do with the way I have been told (by the godforsaken media, by society, by the fashion industry) it’s supposed to look.

My diet is going well. I have cut out carbs and sugar. But what for? If I’m honest, I didn’t want to lose a few pounds. I wanted a body transplant. I wanted legs you could snap with one hand. I wanted jaw bones you could cut yourself on. I wanted a stomach that did not just stay flat, it actually poked in.

So far, so eating disorder. But here’s the thing. I might have dreamt of Kate Moss esque shape. But I love to eat. I love to drink. I love to enjoy life. Now, I’m going to tell you to read Charlie’s blog because he says this is more beautiful words than I can create. I would rather have a stomach, hips, boobs and enjoy my life to the full. Yes, being thin would make me happy, but not forever. My boyfriend wouldn’t love it that’s for sure, and neither would anyone who loves me now. Because, let’s face, I wouldn’t be Alex if I looked like someone else.

This diet has helped me in so many ways. I’ve realised that I love vegetables for one, which surprised me. And I realised that food was something to be enjoyed, rather than something to plan my life around (‘If I do an hour more of revision, I can buy a chocolate bar from the vending machine’ is not the right attitude to have). My most important realisation is that I want to be healthy, not skinny. I want to be happy, whether I’m a size 14 or a size 8. I want to live each day to the full, not pick at a lettuce leaf and forgo a glass of wine.

So this post isn’t a complaint. It isn’t even really a diatribe of resentment towards the fashion industry or everyone’s favourite scape goat the media. It’s a celebration. A celebration of skinny minis in their skinny jeans, and girls with bums, hips, tums and boobs. Anyone who lives life to the full, no matter what their figure looks like, is worth praising. Be healthy, look after your heart (it’ll last a lifetime), eat your greens and enjoy your food. Live life to the full and don’t be like me and wish for someone else’s body. As Judith Butler said, ‘The body is a social construct’ anyway. I don’t know if I do believe that, but I do believe that happiness isn’t a number, a clothing size or the way you look in the tightest jeans. At the risk of sounding like an outdated hippy, happiness is laughter, love and friendship. Not matter how you look, you will always be richer for having these three magical elements in your life. I don’t just believe this, I live by it, and it never fails to do me right.