My Mind, My Temple

body temple.jpg
 

Legs for days or boobies galore, we’ve all got our strong points and know how to work what our mumma gave us, lights camera, angles and all. Sadly it’s the bad days that get us down in the dumps of deep despair, just know that you're not the only one.

As much as I like to promote myself as someone who is completely and utterly at bliss with my own body confidence - I'm not, and it would be wrong to say that I don't often get down about the lumpy, the frumpy and the way different light hits my hips. Shakira said it and it's about time we listen. These hip don't lie and we've got to work with what we've got. 

I'm the girl who will climb a mountain five days a week so I can eat the chocolate late at night, you feel? Just because I know I'm never going to rock a size 6 bod, doesn't mean it's pointless to stay fit, active and strong. There was a period of time when my body wasn't a temple. I talked to myself in a way no one should and found I was my own worst enemy. As woman we fluctuate and change so regularly it seems pointless to punish ourselves so often. So before you think about moving out of your temple, take a moment to really get to know the place. My word of advice? Do the walk, and then eat the chocolate.

If many girls have overcome similar issues before then why not seek help with advice straight from the horse’s mouth  –  or the mildly mature mouthy females that know what you’re going through. Same same, but different.  

 

Explosive Boobs

I felt like being scrawny was part of my identity. I would make jokes with my friends about being flat chested, then I went from a A cup to C in one week. But I kept on making self deprecating flat chested jokes, I was in denial. In high school I got a lot of praise for being skinny which I didn’t question at the time but I now think is quite sad. At one point when I was under a lot of stress, I limited my eating. This was an attempt to feel in control of both my body and my life. I would wake up in the morning shaking, but brushed it off as not a big deal. Looking back I think I was very crazy and also potentially stunted my growth. 

One day I just decided to stop. I remember I walked to Pak’n’Save, purchased a family sized block of chocolate, sat down and ate the entire thing. It signified the end of me denying my body food but also denying myself enjoyment. Now I have a good relationship with both food and my own body. I get the odd moment of insecurity (particularly before I get my period) but have stopped seeing my body as something I have to control and started seeing it as a natural byproduct of my
own genetics. 

Sometimes I do see photos of myself that I don’t like or slip and compare myself to other women. Overall I live my life now thinking a lot more about what my mind is like than my body. I would hate to look back and regret wasting time worrying about what my body looks like.

 

If I don't love my body, who will?

I struggle more with body image now, at twenty one, than I did in high school due to the fact my body has changed so much in that time. I don’t like the way my thighs rub together, they’re too chunky for my liking. I feel very insecure. 

I realised back when I was a little skinny minnie I still hated my body, I thought I was so fat. Looking back now I wish I had learned to love myself because it was half as bad as my head made it out to be. If I don’t love my body, then who will? Now it kind of just depends who I’m around. If I feel like I need to impress people my insecurities will play on my mind and I’ll start to compare myself to others. We’ve got to get over that.

 

Working on myself, it’s not a bad thing.

I’ve always been curvy, even at primary school, but everyone else was stick thin so I thought I was fat. In high school suddenly all the boys liked curves, so I’d be called out to and my ass would be grabbed at mufti days... That’s when I started thinking maybe my curves were OK.

I never managed to make peace with my thighs! I’d always thought that if they ever ‘attractive’ to boys that I’d accept them, but then a guy I was with thought I had the ‘perfect body’ and I still wasn’t 100% happy, so I realised it didn’t matter that much what they thought.

I didn’t wear bikini bottoms by themselves until I was about 16.  Now I just know that it’s an area that I want to work on, and that there’s no harm working on something, as long as you don’t resent it. I’ve looked back at photos of my thighs when I was younger and laughed, because actually they were fine, so I try to apply that to how I feel about my body now: one day I’ll look back and think I was beautiful just how I was. And sometimes when something requires some thigh – power, I feel proud to have a powerhouse butt and strong thick thighs.

 

A Hairy Situation

As a girl, going through puberty was tough. I was the only ethnic girl at my school and being hairy was quite normal for my race. My facial hair was growing rapidly. I remember talking to my mum about it and she said don’t worry about it, you’re only twelve. I wish I’d listened to her because I went straight for the razor and shaved my upper lip and eye brows. And you can guess what happens next, it grew back thick and prickly. It didn’t take long for mum to realise how insecure I was and she got me into waxing and  threading my brows, which was a better solution to shaving.

Today I love my bushy brows but I still pluck my upper lip. I guess facial hair isn’t really talked about at that age, most girls around me then had fair skin and blonde hair so they had nothing to worry about. I had to accept that I am different and there is nothing wrong with that.

 

Big Hair for the Win

I straightened my hair religiously in my teens because I didn’t know anyone who had curly hair like mine and I didn’t know how to look after my curls properly so they were alway very frizzy. My brother ‘accidentally’ broke my hair straightener around the same time that I started watching some tv shows from the early 1990s, such as Twin Peaks and also listening to music by Kate Bush and Madonna. Hold up! These women have curly hair and are super beautiful! Maybe I can be like them! I think it’s really important to see more than one ideal of beauty in the media for this reason, if I found it so hard just embracing my natural hair, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for women of colour or those with less celebrated body types.

 

Pizza Please 

In high school I struggled with my tummy, I had very slim and stick like arms and legs and thought my stomach was disproportionate. Now, I would still say my tummy but I also don’t deny myself for loving pizza and cheese. When I think back on my insecurity of my tummy in high school I always made sure my stomach was sucked in for photographs. Now I don’t really care, I tell myself I’m cute with a bit of chub so what does it matter? It’s important to be happy with myself first and it’s my mental health that will combat my body insecurities. 

 

Hannah Jensen