A little while back, I wrote a post about body confidence. I generally use blogging as a bit of a mind fart, but it seemed to resonate with more people than I had first anticipated. I saw my post being shared on Facebook walls, commented on by people I didn’t know and being passed around on Twitter. It was then that I realised:
This should be a thing.
Since that post, a number of women of all shapes and sizes, ages and interests have sent me photographs of themselves daring to do what many people take for granted: they wore shorts in public. Might seem small potatoes to some people, but these different women all had at least one thing in common – they disliked a part of their body so much, they have hidden it from public view.
This is insane.
In OCR, our bodies help us do incredible things. Those thighs you ‘hate?’ they hauled you up a rope. Your ‘big arms’ held you fast as you scaled a wall. That ‘massive’ belly managed to get itself up and over a cargo net, and your ‘ugly man calves’ helped you run 5, 10, 20k. If you can’t take a step back and see what amazing things your ‘imperfect’ body has done for you, then it’s a sad bloody day for all of us.
And I’ll tell you something else.
Nobody worth a second thought gives a shit about your stretch marks, your cellulite, your scars, your bruises or your hairy legs. Because they’re all too busy wondering whether you’ve noticed that they’ve got a massive spot, a receding hairline, a funny looking mole or weird toes. Your body is incredible, and it’s doing alright so far by carrying you through these mad things you do at weekends.
That’s why I want you to keep a #BodyBucketList. I want you to think of the bits of you that you punish, cry over and hide, and I want you to bare them. Take a photo of your legs out on a run, dare to bare your arms in the park, I want stomach selfies. Accepting your perceived flaws is a step in accepting who you are. And if you do Obstacle Course Racing, you’re already pretty damn cool. When are you going to realise that? Are you going to keep sweltering in leggings and long sleeved tops just because some people you barely know might catch a glimpse of a butt dimple or some errant fat? If anyone, anyone is disparaging about your body despite these incredible things you do with it, then it’s merely a reflection of their own shitty self esteem, and they need to just go get in the sea.
Let’s face it. We’re not going to have these bodies in their current fit/semi fit/almost fit/generally workable state forever. Are we going to let ourselves get old, look back on photos of ourselves and metaphorically kick ourselves (because, let’s face it, arthritis) for not appreciating what we had? I should imagine I’m going to look a damn site better in short shorts at 28 than I am at 88, and if I keep chasing this unattainable goal of turning into Taylor Swift, then I’m never going to get out of full length sweatpants.
Stop. Get them out. Whatever they are – the bits you hate. Chances are people won’t have any feelings more negative than your own, and hopefully if air your grievances, maybe you’ll make peace with them. Because you’re already pretty fucking cool.
Just as a bit of inspo, here are some of the amazing ladies who have chucked aside their body image worries. They look great, don’t they? They were worrying about nothing. Maybe that could be you too.
Let’s see your #BodyBucketList
Need any more convincing?