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Thursday, 15 March 2018

A promise to myself

I was in primary school when I first looked at myself in the mirror and told myself I was ugly. That I was fat. I now find that fact absolutely horrifying, and really, really sad. That is sixteen years of saying things to myself, I would never ever say to someone else.  It is funny how those memories stay with you.  I remember a boy called bobby saying I had a nose like a pig.  Then all the other boys laughed, and in the weeks that followed they would push their noses up and snort like pigs when I walked past. I was in primary school when a teacher referred to me as 'lanky'. I was always referred to as lanky. I was always stood at the back in school plays, I always remember feeling like a total giant. I was tall and very skinny, like I am sure, many other 10 year olds but I felt huge, I would try to stand and sink my shoulders down wishing so much I could be shorter like my best friend. But I think the beginning of my insecurities started when my adult teeth came in and I was only maybe 7.  my front ones to be precise. And then the 'Bugs Bunny' comments started. The worst thing about those comments is that they came from some family members. I can hear the "whats up duck" in the stupid bloody voice so clearly.  I wouldn't hold it against them, I think people are much more aware these days, than they ever were about the effect of words. But still to this day, I try to remember to smile with my mouth shut.  I will use my hand to cover my mouth when I laugh. I don't even realise I am doing it. Those insecurities run so deep that its sub-concious now. 


Then  just a few months after turning 9 I developed Type 1 diabetes. And then this young awkward pre-teen, who was already experiencing insecurities, was suddenly different. Suddenly had bruises on her legs and arms from injecting 4 times a day. bruises on her little fingertips from the constant blood testing. She had to go into the cupboard to treat a hypo. It seems mad now that I had to hide away in a cupboard or a toilet to do my insulin, or drink some Lucozade. but they were the rules. Kids would should 'ewwww' at me if they saw me take a blood test. In secondary school that got worse, Girls would act as if they were going to faint if they saw me get my needles out. I totally get they didn't mean harm. Thank god, I had a little army of protectors, friends, who even though I don't see that much now, I treasure for that very reason (Tarn, Chelsea specifically, if you are reading this I am looking at you.) I always felt different. singled out. weird. disgusting. Even teachers tried to snatch away my insulin pump and I would have to explain mortified in front of a class of girls that it wasn't an MP3 player.  My injections left me with a hard patch on the front of my tummy. And that is when I remember starting to refer to myself as 'fat'. I would stand and always try to hold my arm or an object over my tummy. something I still do now. watch me on a night out, stand with my clutch over my tummy. I can't help it. In reality I think it was barely visible but to me, compared to all these other 11 year old bodies, it felt huge. Of course when I would speak to my mum about it, she would say ' you are not fat, you are beautiful, my beautiful girl.' That would make me angry. She was lying. I now know she wasn't.  It must have been painful for her to see her young daughter think that about herself.
I dreaded dance. a whole class of girls, in tight black leotards, in a room with a full mirror. By 13 or so, I was even taller, with big boobs and wide hips. I hated it. I loved dance, musical theatre etc had always been my 'thing'. But it stopped being my thing, right there in front of those mirrors. I would get comments from people close to me that I was 'big built' (i'm not. I am just tall.) The reality was I was a size 8/10.

At my lowest time, I would self harm. take sharp stabs at the 'fat'.  I would watch myself bleed and for a short while it just made me feel better. I cant explain why. This just went on silently in my bedroom and I was lucky that the selfharming never took over or became more than a fleeting habit. And I am not sure there is a single person who even knows that about me.

My low confidence affected my friendships. I think it still does if I am honest. I was so convinced everyone was thinking 'she is fat' etc that I withdrew. Friendships became a surface thing and I became guarded and insular. To the outside I was loud and brash, which I know sounds as if it wouldn't make sense, but to me it does. Being loud and at times, obnoxious, full of attitude was my cover up. When I was 14 I got a boyfriend, he was kind and lovely to me. He was really my best friend, and at times, my only friend and I think of him fondly, although we broke up when I was 17, he got me through those awful last years of high school. 

Then came sixth form, with my diabetes under control, I had slimmed down, and was feeling pretty good about myself.  Away from the all girl environment and at an all boys sixth from, I gained confidence, I gained friends, I remember it as one of the happiest times of my life (and is where I met Mr P.)   I had never really had attention from boys before, and I enjoyed it, is there shame in that? I don't believe so. But of course when a girl is confident, there will always be hate. And so it began. She muttered the word Slag every time I walked past her. I wasn't a slag. I don't believe anyone is ever a slag. She started rumors about me. (she had been my closest friend until she turned). Why is it girls do that to one another? 

Then I started dating Chris. I was happy, still self critical a lot of the time. But it wasn't affecting my life as much.

2014 Freddie was born, I loved being pregnant. I feel totally at home with a pregnant belly. Is it ok to even say I feel beautiful when I am pregnant. It was like getting nine whole months off criticising myself. After he was born, I started to gain weight rapidly, by the time he was 9 months old I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid which explained the large weight gain. I find myself telling anyone who will listen that I have underactive thyroid and that the insulin I have to take to keep myself alive causes weight gain and weight loss resistance. I need to defend my size so as not to be judged. but is anyone judging? I would like to say they probably aren't. But there will be those who are, and that makes me sad.  As JK Rowling said "is fat the worst thing someone could be". I am a kind and caring person, and I so wish looks were not what we were instantly judge on. Shortly after my diagnosis of under active thyroid we had Freddie's christening, I was swollen and puffy from the illness and new medication. A lovely old lady attending the christening told me I looked 'massive' and ridiculous standing next to chris at the size I was (which in reality was a size 16). It is safe to say I haven't seen her since. But those words have stayed with me.

Pregnancy number 2, and I distinctly remember arriving at an event and instead of hearing "hello" the first thing I heard was "oh my god you are massive" followed by a waffle of my friend is ahead of you and half your size and it went on and on. I stood there, tears stinging my eyes. I did have a big bump. I had developed a dangerous condition that was affecting my bump size and the health of me and my baby, I already felt like I was failing. I was already grieving for the instagram perfect baby bump, tight skin and a glowing round bump. 

And since Ottilie's birth, I can barely look in the mirror without crying. I see myself and all I can see is this huge, massive person. but I am so, so, so tired of feeling like this. I am sick of not posting or even taking photos of myself with my children. I have so many photos of Freddie and I, but hardly any with ottilie, because I just cant bare to look at them. Even selfies, I took so many selfies with F, I look so happy. I have about 3 with ottilie. In recent months, I have gone out the house less and less because I feel so uncomfortable with how I look. I am so convinced that everyone at baby sensory will be looking at me thinking 'corrr look how ugly she is' that it is easier to stay in.

The other day I thought it would be so nice to go for a spa day, maybe with some other mums. But then I realised there is no way I could. I just couldn’t bare my body in front of anyone else. And that made me sad because I would love to do that. But my lack of confidence is stopping me. It stops me doing so much and I’m missing out. so are my babies, I haven’t yet taken Ottilie swimming despite take F from 5 weeks old, I just think everyone will be judging me. 

I just want to point out I am in no way saying this for attention etc etc, this babble does have a point, bare with me. 

Anyway, a few days ago, Freddie said to me "you are so fat mummy".  "look at your fat belly and your arms are so hugeeee mummy". I froze. 

My first thought was oh my god I am so fat and ugly even my toddler has noticed. he will be ashamed of how I look bla bla. Then I realised, there is no way my three year old thinks that of his mummy and that's when I realised he is copying me. he is repeating words he hears me say to myself.  Oh my god the guilt. I have spent a lifetime, hating myself on so many different levels, and It absolutely breaks my heart the thought of my children going through the same pain and anguish I have and continue to do so.  I want them to love themselves. I want them to be confident. I want them to know they are beautiful the way they are and anyone who says otherwise is NOT WORTHY of their time, energy and love.  If someone calls ottilie 'lanky', I want her to roll her eyes and think 'what a dick' and give it not a second thought.

I have to be a role model to them. I have to teach them the way.  so here and now I am making a promise to them and to me. 

I promise to stop critisizing myself. to stop comparing. to realise that my body is amazing.  That it fights a cruel illness every single god damn day and that I am a warrior. I have conceived, grown and birthed two beautiful children, despite the odds. The soft tummy that squeezes into my jeans is nothing to be ashamed of. I am me. I exercise. I eat healthily. Instead of focusing on what I hate about my appearance I will concentrate on nourishing it, to give it the care and love it deserves. No more slagging it off in the mirror. I will put my energy into leading a healthy life, to teach my children about self love, self care and self belief. 

I am exhausted by it all. I wanted to write this as this is my truth, a part of my story. My pretty instagram pictures don't tell my whole truth and I don't want someone looking at my Instagram or blog, youtube, whatever and feeling shit about themselves, like I do looking at other people. SO this is the truth. And I am making a change, because life is too fucking short to not leave the house in case someone thinks you are fat. Or to cover your mouth every time you laugh in case someone thinks you have big fucking teeth. So you can expect to see me and my massive nashers grinning at you very soon. 

This year I said I would work hard to fight my demons. To make a change. Be positive. Find me. And I think this has been a great first step. And if I am all about positivity and empowering women, I need to start with myself, right? Thank you for reading. 

Big loves.

Ps. You are beautiful.


  1. Such a personal and honest post which, I'm sure, will resonate with lots of women. I know that I have some incredible hang ups about my body, and still do, to the point that they can affect my relationship with my husband some days. The only difference is, I didn't have a mum who supported me or told me different, she always used to make fun of me or laugh at things I was already insecure about. She was basically one of the bullies at home. Sending you lots of love and you are beautiful <3 x

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