Here’s some information about my body. Yes, I know you haven’t asked for any, but when has that ever stopped me before?
Recently, during a conversation with a very brilliant woman in my life, we were talking about secrets. I realised that the single secret I had – the one thing that no other human on Earth knew about me – was my weight. Other than that, I’m an open book: if you’ve ever met me you’ll likely know more about me than you ever wanted or needed to. I tell my friends my deepest fears and my lovers my darkest fantasies. I’ve talked about peeing my pants on this very website. Hell, I even have a group chat called Shit Friends, which I won’t go into detail on because you might be eating lunch or something.
But, until that day in a café with my brilliant Colombian amiga, the one thing I had never told another person was that number. Because in my mind, it was my greatest shame and my biggest failure.
See, in my adult life, I have rarely weighed less than 13 stone (in the spirit of full transparency that’s 182 lbs or 82 kg). That’s not a crazy weight, I know, but the people in charge of the BMI scale have cruelly labelled me obese without ever even meeting me. And that shit messed with my head. Thanks, guys, much appreciated.
It messed with my head so much, in fact, that I developed strange anxieties. I used to live in fear of sitting on a flimsy chair and breaking it, for example. One of my actual life goals for a very long time was to be a size where, if a chair I was sitting on did break, no spectators would assume that it was my fault.
HOW RIDICULOUS IS THAT?
But, when I travel, I’m just not that woman and I engage in plenty of positive body image activities. When I’m not in England I don’t worry about how I look and I have a deep appreciation of every inch of my body. I’ll happily run down a beach in a bikini, Baywatch-style but with a little more jiggle and a lot less grace. You’ll rarely see me without a short skirt that shows off my cellulite real nice, and bras are optional these days. Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to get to know me really well, you’d better believe those lights are staying on. Because none of those worries that I used to have matter. They just don’t.
You see, for me, there’s a clear link between a positive body image and travelling. You just forget to care about stretch marks and rolls, because nobody else cares. Nobody says ‘diet’: seriously, I haven’t once heard that word being said during my last 11 months of travel.
And also, look where my body got me, even though it looks like dough. I’m in Mexico chasing my dreams, FFS, and what a bloody great thing that is. As long as I’m fairly strong and reasonably healthy, who gives a shit what I look like in or out of clothes.
There’s a simple but intense pleasure in not thinking about calories and eating whatever I want whenever I feel hungry. Doing that removes my weird emotional attachment to food. Many times in my past, this has happened:
- Felt sad
- Spent £25 on Chinese takeaway
- Ate it all in one go
- Been close to death for the following week
And now, I can’t really imagine that happening again.
Anyway, I’m done with all the worrying. My body is fucking massive, mate. Like, in a really good way.