Summer Body Blues

Alice Maher

When my boyfriend and I booked our holiday to Greece back in March I’ve spent most hours of the daydreaming about the amazing time we were going to have. In each daydream, whether on the beach or by the pool or swimming in the sea or in a bar, I imagined myself looking like I could be the next TUI holiday brochure model. I thought/wanted to look irresistibly beautiful the entire time. The reality?

I spent the days sweating in places I didn’t know possible to sweat, with a burnt forehead, hair scraped back into a bun because I’d lost control of it an hour into day two (Monica from friends vibe). Most of all, my eyes were constantly fixated on every single lump and bump my body showed. Perfectly fitting bikinis were no longer that. Never mind the shorts or dresses that I spent 20 minutes desperately trying to shut them. Each time I looked in the mirror or caught a photograph tears pricked my eyes.

I’ve (fortunately) never been too affected by being unconfident in my body. My mum passed onto me the mantra of- ‘my organs have to fit somewhere’ and whenever I’ve caught myself being unkind to my body previously I’ve chanted that phrase in my mind. This holiday was the first time those words or the words ‘i’m happy and healthy’ just weren’t strong enough to stop my disapproving eye. For the first time I found myself reaching for a towel or opting for swimsuits so that my belly wasn’t exposed. Bit rubbish. Very rubbish in fact.

I spent most of the holiday worrying about my appearance that I was forgetting just to enjoy myself and live in the moment. The silly thing is the one person looking at my body on holiday (James) I know for a fact thinks i’m beautiful no matter what shape my body takes. I really should not care about my body but, when you’re surrounded by everyone in their summer wear it’s intimidating. So intimidating. Makeup hates me in hot weather, it just won’t go on my face. Nights were spent with me gawking at beautifully made up women thinking PLEASE COME SHOW ME HOW YOU DO IT!!!!!!

Our last night, in our favourite bar, I was admiring one woman’s immaculate face and her ability to walk in 10 inch heels when I saw her complaining to her own boyfriend that she thought she looked ‘too chubs’. That’s when I realised pretty much every person on that beach felt the same way I did. Whether they showed it or not I bet i’m not wrong in my assumptions that everyone there had felt insecure about their body one time or another. It’s that stupid idea of we need to get ‘holiday ready’. We see it advertised everywhere and it makes us become obsessed with trying to look a certain way in order to look summer body perfect. Most of the time those ideals we get transfixed by are unreachable anyway thanks to the mass consumer use of photoshop in our day and age.

Why do we reach for the unreachable? Why is it so hard for us to feel content in our own skin? I’ve arrived back from holiday with the intention of falling back in love with my body. One year from now I want to radiate confidence. I don’t want my body to be a source of worry again.

I’m about to enter my twenties and I want more than ever for it to be a decade of extreme happiness and of love- in all areas of my life. Falling back in love with me myself and I is the first step in ensuring my twenties are everything I want them to be and more.

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