Friday, August 06, 2010

Empathy, sympathy. Just like the Gestapo. Then whack! You're installing a stairlift.

Ahh, sweet Friday, you're here at last. This week has, for one reason or another, completely kicked my ass. Work has been hard, I've been having trouble eating and I have been spending far too much time asleep. I'm hoping that a good restful weekend will get me back into my groove for next week, you know?

So, enough moaning. While I haven't been blogging a good deal recently I have been thinking a lot. The recent media storm about Lynne Featherstone's comments about women's bodies and Christina Hendricks got me thinking about how we look at ourselves and at each other. I'm not going to go over this, but both Caroline and Amber wrote thoughtfully about the debate, and you should go and read what they have to say. Then Cat wrote a series of blog posts about how she feels about her body and about blogging, which chimed neatly with thoughts that had been going around my head for a while.

The other day I was in one of my favourite shops, as usual trying on about eleventy million dresses. Unusually for me, I was very restrained and only bought one...but that's not really what I'm here to talk about. I was in the dressing room, looking at myself in the mirror, and thinking to myself how very very chubby I looked. Then I stopped, and I swear that if I could have got away with it, I would have said to myself "Girl. PLEASE" Why was I thinking that?

It's true that if I were a celebrity and my picture was in Heat magazine, no doubt there would be a yellow circle around my arms highlighting my 'bingo wings' or an arrow pointing to my tummy to show the world my 'muffin top' and I'm sure there'd be some even nastier way of describing my round little moon face. Or, worse than that again, I'd be 'celebrated' for being 'curvy' or a 'real woman', terms which in these hateful magazines cover every body shape from Kelly Brook to obese. I stopped buying magazines like this a long time ago, but it's quite sinister really that their message is still speaking to me. Because, well, I'm not chubby, not really:

Friday 6th August 2010
This is a photo taken of me today - wearing a dress from Dorothy Perkins and Irregular Choice shoes

I realised the other day how difficult it is to really see what you look like in the mirror. I feel fairly good about myself, but faced with the mirror my mind gives me a Heat style run down of my flaws. I'm sure it's a combination of things - bad lighting, the fact that trying on clothes makes me go all red and blotchy and wrecks my hair and goodness only knows what else.

I used to feel this way looking at photos of myself as well, but since I have been writing this blog that has changed. Since I have been posting pictures of what I have been wearing, I've been gradually getting a clearer picture of what I actually look like, and it's been good for me. To cynics, the concept of outfit-blogging may seem trivial, about celebrating seemingly insignificant achievements like managing to put together a matching outfit. To me it's been much more than that. Certainly, it's really nice when readers comment to compliment me, but what is really good is the fact that I am finally coming to a place where I can look at photos of myself and think that I look good, or well put together, or whatever.

It's not that all of a sudden I think I'm hot stuff, or anything like that. I'm sure that my body would make the photo editors of gossip magazines recoil in horror, but I like it. It's me, and it suits me. By looking at myself in photos, and at my clothes, I'm starting to see how to dress to look good and feel good, and for that reason keeping this blog has been invaluable. I've stopped thinking of my body as being the wrong shape, and instead I like to find clothes that celebrate the shape that I do have. The Dita dress that I wore recently is very clingy and shows off the fact that I have a little round tummy. At one point this would have made me feel self-conscious and had me reaching for the magic knickers, but not so much any more. I like that little tummy in a way I wouldn't have previously thought possible and, what's more, I look bloody good in that frock!

Inside my wardrobe
Inside my wardrobe...I took this photo just for fun

So, I'm going to carry on taking photos of what I've been wearing, and posting them on here. I can't say that I'm doing anything interesting with fashion, as some other wonderful bloggers are, but what I can say is that this is making me feel good about myself, and that's really important.

I'll just finish off by showing you what I bought in the Fever shop... photo to follow when I wear it again:

Fever Cezanne side lace dress