This is the year I’m going to like myself. Not love myself, that’s a long way off, but I need to learn to at least like who I am. Now the thought of a blog post full of pictures of me absolutely terrifies me. I’m scared you will judge how I look, laugh at my big nose, point out how old I am looking. However, if I can’t accept who I am then how can anyone else?
I’m the youngest of three and I am the only girl. Growing up I was basically my Mum’s doll, although I was still a bit of a tomboy. I’d go from playing with my Barbie to climbing trees in the blink of an eye. My favourite item of clothing were a pair of Garfield jeans … yes I do mean the cat. Mum had other ideas. She liked me to wear pretty dresses with matching ribbons and shiny shoes.
When Mum was a child, her Dad forced her to have short hair (he really wanted a son), so my hair was left to grow and grow. She loved how it looked but for me it just meant an hour every Sunday night after it had been washed of her trying to get out the million knots. I hated it, so one day I got my brother’s girlfriend to cut it to just below my ears. It looked awful but that’s my first memory of me sabotaging how I look and also of being aware of ‘being ugly’.
Looking back I wasn’t an ugly child at all – ok, so I had a permanently wonky fringe (thanks Mum) and I needed a brace (which I eventually got), but I was a cute kid. I just couldn’t see it. I’d look at my friends when I was about 7 and be angry that I didn’t look like them. I’d look in a mirror and wonder why I was so much bigger than them when in fact it was just a little bit of puppy fat that I soon grew out of. It actually makes me quite sad now to realise just how young my issues with my appearance started. I was a cheerful kid, and happy and very cheeky but inside I just had this sense that I didn’t look good enough.
As a teenager these issues continued. I had the brace but still thought I had horrible teeth so the above photo is one of the only ones I ever have of me smiling with them on show (plus my top lip totally vanishes when I smile). After years of smoking I’d kill to have those teeth now, but at the time I was very self conscious about them.
I used to have Liam Gallagher eyebrows, so I discovered tweezers – just look at those brows! Bear in mind this was 1999 and makeup just wasn’t what it is now. I was still convinced I was really huge when in reality I was probably an 8-10 but I had boobs and all I saw when I looked in the mirror was a blob. An ugly blob. I developed an over the top persona as a teen – I was the loud, confident, mouthy and funny one. Lessons were spent trying to make people laugh which often resulted in many hours being spent in the corridor. I thought that if I could at least be funny that it would make up for the way I looked.
This carried on well into adulthood. Up until a couple of years ago, I came across as the most confident and self-assured person you could meet but it was just a front. Looking back, I think that’s where the love of makeup started. I can take myself from a 2 to a good 6 or 7 once I’ve put my face on and I learnt to hide behind that mask. Even if I was just going to the shop, I’d have a full face of makeup on. Letting the outside world see me with a bare face was just not an option.
Since the endometriosis started and especially since the hysterectomy, I’ve piled on a LOT of weight. When I met Mick 9 years ago, I was a size 12 … now I’m anywhere between a 16 and a 20 depending on the shop. I know that I’ve gotten big, but in my head I don’t think that I fully grasp the size I now am. At Christmas, Mick filmed me opening one of my presents and when he showed me the video, I was horrified. You’d think that would be the kick start I need to sort myself out, but I honestly don’t think it will be.
I don’t eat healthily and I don’t exercise due to being in constant pain, but even so I didn’t realise how much weight I’d put on. I’d hoped that by 35 I’d be over feeling shit about myself when I look in the mirror but I’m not. Ok, so I go out without makeup on now even though I’m convinced everyone who sees me will be disgusted, but inside I’m still very self conscious.
So I’ve decided that this year I’m going to work on myself. I’ve already discussed my mental health and the fact that I’ve been trying to right some wrongs, but I also want to focus on how I feel about myself. I want to make better choices with food and I hope that I can try and be more active. The old skincare routine is going to be ramped up to maximum to try and keep the wrinkles at bay. Haircare is going to become more important to me and I’m going to stop using makeup as a mask and more as an enhancement.
All of this may sound quite vain and self absorbed and maybe it is. However, these are little things that I can do to try and raise my self-esteem and I don’t see that as a bad thing. We can all be so hard on ourselves and I need to go a bit easier on myself. I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to look nice and I think that after 35 years on this planet that it is time for me to like myself. Will I ever look in the mirror and love what I see? I highly doubt it, but if I can just like and accept what is there than that’s good enough for me.