Let's get real, I'm willing to bet that every woman has at least one of those pesky irrational insecurities that niggle on our self-confidence, and for many, there'll be a long list. So today I wanted to have a little chat about insecurities and how we deal with them.
See, looking at these blog photos here, would you believe that I almost returned this shirt (which I love) because I thought that it emphasised my supposed 'man shoulders?'
Ever seen that episode of friends where Ross wants to take Joan the assistant professor in the linguistics department (who's supposed to be wilddddd) to cousin Franny's wedding, and insists that she is tall, very beautiful, but most definitely not broad backed? And Joey retorts that in fact, 'dude, she's like a billboard'. (I know my episodes of friends very well, I know - my mastermind topic of choice, I think!) Well, let's just say that I could have given that Joan a run for her money - that's one thing this past summer's trend of bardot tops has taught me, that's for damn sure. There's only so many times you can buy a bardot top in your regular size and insist that it's been made small and that's why you can't lift your arms above your head before, you realise that it's your man build that's the problem lol! Yep, I often channel my inner Regina George in front of the mirror and complain about my very apparent 'man shoulders', how utterly pathetic, right?
See, I'm willing to concede that this is what I call a fairly 'irrational insecurity'. By this I mean one of those insecurities that only really bothers you - it could be the size of your nose, or your 'stumpy legs', or even your wonky hairline - something that someone else would never really notice and would think you were pretty ridiculous for having a hang up on. Now, if I've predicted this correctly, then as you peruse over these blog photos and then read this text, you'll exclaim, "no way would I have ever noticed anything unusual about her shoulders, they look completely fine to me!" On the other hand if you've been sitting here from the beginning thinking I have the build of a man, then the problem is a lot worse than I originally thought and I'm never plucking up the courage to wear a halter neck again. (lol)
And why do I tell you all this? Well when I saw this blouse, I instantly loved it, but as soon as I tried it on wailed in annoyance at the fact that it most definitely accentuated my supposed 'broadness'. I remember voicing my complaints to my sister (who I constantly bore with my various self-deprecating comments), who could do nothing but offer the routine sigh accompanied with 'you're so ridiculous I notice nothing', which of course, I was less that satisfied with. I proceeded to experimenting styling it unbuttoned, buttoned, rolled sleeves, sleeves pulled down, seeing what would accentuate them the least, but to no avail, as of course, the problem was with the fricking ruffles on the shoulders (surprise surprise). Now I resolved to return the blouse, even though I loved it, because of this. That was until I had a sudden surge of boldness and thought, nah, screw it! I love this shirt, I doubt anyone will notice what I notice, and you know what, I fricking love this outfit!
So I guess my point is this: we all have those little things we dislike about ourselves. But ask yourself how far you let these affect you, even in the littlest way. It is so important that we learn to accept them and don't let them stop you from doing what you want. Something I've realised is that often, something that bothered you to no end at one point in your life, becomes a complete non-issue the more you grown and come to a place of acceptance.
And I guess this is why I can't help but feel a pang of sadness when I see girls undergoing extensive cosmetic surgery, especially when they've barely outgrown teen-hood. I often wonder if our generation has been disadvantaged somewhat by the constant stream of social media and press, awash with unrealistic beauty expectations, whether it would ever have even crossed the minds of so many to alter aspects of themselves that they perceive as flawed without such.
It sometimes feels as though we live in a world that values beauty over intelligence or kindness in women (not that I'm saying these traits are mutually exclusive), and I'm sure every one of us has the mentality of this system ingrained in us in some way. During my teen years especially, if someone had asked me whether I would choose good looks over my intelligence, I would have said yes without hesitation (and I'm ashamed to say I sometimes still would), and I'm positive that a large proportion of teenage girls would do exactly the same.
Its interesting to consider whether women have always been this way or whether this mentality is especially prominent in millennials. Like, would the average woman of the 1930s or 40s have been consumed by self-deprecating thoughts concerning her 'non existent lips' or 'lack of thigh gap'. Would it even have crossed their minds? (I'm thinking they would have had wayyyy bigger problems, like rationing and trying to win a world war.) Or did the women of these time periods have the same insecurities and would have altered them if they could, they just didn't have the means to? I really don't know!
Of course, I'm willing to bet that body insecurity in women is an age old problem, but would it have been as prominent as it is now? We live in a society where eating disorders amongst girls are only increasing, and body insecurity is becoming an ever more prominent factor in depression amongst teens. Would this have been the case 50 years ago? Or do we just have the courage to speak about them now? I suspect it's a bit of both.
Take Kylie Jenner, for example. I feel so annoyed when I see the hate she gets for changing her appearance because in her I see the embodiment of all the harmful effects of being a product of the social media generation. Would she have ever changed her looks so drastically if she hadn't been exposed to such strong beauty standards and pressure from the media? Maybe nothing would be different, I don't know. But it's definitely food for thought, right?
So, in the spirit of discussing insecurity and self love, let me tell you all 1 thing I like about myself and another I dislike and am still learning to accept. (But I shan't tell you anymore that 1, otherwise you'll notice them all!) I'm willing to bet many of you would have woken up this morning and focussed only on the 'dislike'(s), so why don't you think of a 'like' too?
Like: Teeth. Now I don't mean to brag, but my dentist once said, and I promise, I quote, that "Bill Gates couldn't buy teeth like this". Now my dentist is rather eccentric and very over the top, but boy, did I take that comment and run with it. As in, if I could have that as the opening line on my CV, I would. So yeah, I like my teeth, basically! lol!
Dislike: My fricking huge bowling ball of a head!! There is most definitely a reason I never take photos head on, people. Yep, a slight side profile is all you'll be getting from me, folks. I have my father to thank for this. I just have this super ridiculous gripe that when I smile, especially, my face goes rounder than a bloody watermelon and it's at times like that that I think, principals be damned, let me just go and get my fricking chin shaved to get me one killer chiselled jawline. But, let me try this whole self acceptance thing first lol!
And an honourable mention to my height (another one I must thank my 6'5 father for!) Now I think this just proves that your attitudes to your insecurities change as you get older. It didn't matter how many times my mother would exclaim that my height was an asset, because 'it's what all the models have and I should be on a catwalk' (I simply retorted that I'd have to get a face transplant before that would be possible - she'd usually sigh in frustration at this point), I hated the fact that I was so much taller than the other girls in school. I never really appreciated the 'friendly banter' comments of 'tree' or 'BFG' - they seem so silly now, but we all know sometimes the smallest attention to something you're already conscious of, hurts. 4 years or so ago I would have given anything to be shorter. I would never dream of wearing heels, and I genuinely low key considered developing a hunch so I'd lose a couple inches. That is insane. In fact, if there had been some procedure I could have undergone to become shorter, I would have done it. Chopping off a section of your legs or a magic pill that could shrink you down? Whatever it be, I'd have been all "sign me up"!
But now aged 20, I'm completely at peace with my height. In fact, I really kinda love it. I happily refer to myself as the BFG! Never would my 14 year old self have predicted that. Yeah, there are times its a pain - buying jeans can be difficult af (#classictallgirlproblemz), but it's super handy when I'm standing at concerts (though I concede, my annoying short sightedness kind of counteracts this advantage), and I never pull an ab muscle when I'm reaching into the top kitchen cupboard shelves. So it's swings and roundabouts, really. I'd happily strut about in a 4inch heel, though I haven't built up the courage to parade around in these Gucci babies just yet! And to be honest, at 5'9.5, I've also come to realise that I'm really not that tall anyway, lol!
I realise now I've rambled for long enough, so I guess my point is this: You have complete autonomy over your own body and you should always do what makes you happy. If something you're insecure about bothers you that much that you feel your life or self-esteem will be so much better if you changed it, then of course, do what you want to, and don't feel guilt for doing it! But I guess I'd like to see cosmetic alteration of one's supposed flaws as a final resort, as opposed to the only option. So many things that constantly bug you when you're 14, or 18 or even 25 no longer seem even slightly significant when you're 30. Learning to love your 'flaws' is part of growing up, becoming comfortable in your own skin, and I think now more than ever, when we are bombarded with so much imagery concerning beauty, it's important to practice self love.
So that was my food for thought for today. Now I'm far from the most secure person to exist, so it's kinda hypocritical of me to preach about self love when I'm so bad at it myself, but it's a topic I'm very interested in. A kinda long post - pat yourself on the back if you got the end! What do you guys think? How do you try to overcome your insecurities? Do you think I've got it wrong about the whole cosmetic enhancement thing? Come chat with me in the comments as I'd love to hear your thoughts!
This is also my first 'think piece' type post, please let me know your thoughts! Do you enjoy these kind of topical posts or find my warbling utterly unbearable and would prefer me to stick to talking about outfits? All feedback welcome - after all, I want you guys to enjoy my content!
There'll be another outfit post Friday, follow me on bloglovin' here or subscribe via email (in the box on the sidebar) so you don't miss it!
Until next time,