What happened when I finally embraced, put on weight, and stopped giving a f**k.

It happened on a floating pontoon.

The moment, the lightbulb, the big realisation.

It was right after I gave my family an impromptu salute to the sun yoga demo, while wearing a swimsuit and at my heaviest in over a decade, on a pontoon floating on the Adriatic Sea, that I had THE moment of clarity.

There’s a photo taken of that moment {not the one above}, you can barely see me at the back of the pontoon but I’m lying back on my elbows gazing up at the blue sky, and in that moment what I was thinking to myself went something like this:

“I can’t believe that I just did yoga in a swimming cossie, IN PUBLIC AND ON A PONTOON FFS, for all and sundry to see, my son is getting married in a few days, and I’ve put ON weight when I was supposed to be losing it. Right now I’m more a size 14 than a 10, but somehow I don’t give a shit, because that sun is beating down on me and warming my very core, and look at where I am: I couldn’t give one single fuck about what I weigh right now if my life depended on it. And I KNOW I’m going to have nothing but fun at the wedding on Saturday because THAT’S what life is about, not my bloody size.”

And I actually said something like that aloud, because the moment, and the realisation, was huge. And everyone agreed. Almost all of us were a mass of supposed physical imperfection: some with jelly bellies or beer bellies, saggy boobs or man boobs, or carrying more kilos than we may have preferred, but we all agreed that in that moment not one of us cared, and that life was pretty damn near perfect.

The journey to that point, however, has been LONG. It’s been tortured, cruel, anxious, sad, stressful, emotional, and at times brutal. The moments of absolute and pure self acceptance have been so rare I could cry. And when I do think about those moments, it’s ironic that it’s always been when I’d just birthed a brand new human, when I’ve been at my jiggliest, fattest, and messiest, that I’ve been in true awe and appreciation of what my body can do.

I didn’t set out to gain weight this past year, I’d actually been half heartedly trying to lose it instead, and once the wedding was announced pretty much every female in the family declared that she needed to lose weight. And I’ll be honest: instead of hours spent shredding there’s been a lot of snacking and fizzy drinks as well as alcohol and zero portion control. I promised myself at the beginning of the year to be kinder to myself, so I stuck to yoga and walking, and enjoyed cooking and eating, and figured as the wedding got closer I’d get serious and drop a few kilos, probably by being too busy running around that last week to actually eat anything.

What I didn’t count on was that, despite a slow but steady weight gain this past year and a bit, my January intentions to truly embrace and to care for myself the way I care for my family would actually stick. And I didn’t expect that every time I tried to give myself a stern talking to about needing to lose weight there would come the thought, but do I really look that bad? And even though I lamented no longer being comfortable in my favourite skirts and fitted frocks, the answer was always a resounding NO. Yes my arms are wobbly and my waistbands are tight, but I refuse to accept that my general appearance is not good enough.

Because that’s the real message behind all the magazine covers and advertising and images thrust at us every single day: that we’re not good enough as we are. Lose that stubborn five kilo’s, use this wonder drug, try this diet, buy this product, drink this smoothie, follow this program, subscribe to this app, and you WILL be good enough.

Maybe.

For, like, a day.

Or a week.

Okay, maybe just for a minute.

And I think that once I saw through all the bullshit being sold to us EVERYWHERE WE LOOK EVERY SINGLE DAY for what it really is, it was hard to un-see it.

The day of my son’s wedding was so very different to what I always imagined it would look like. By choosing to be married in Croatia my son and new daughter made sure that it would bear little resemblance to the typical frantic and mega-high-maintenance Sydney weddings we were all used to attending, but there were also so many little differences I never counted on which made the whole weekend so special, and which had a lot to do with both the location as well as a healthy dose of self love and acceptance.

Like the fact that I did my own hair, and it wasn’t perfect and that was okay.

My daughter did almost everyone’s makeup, including the brides’, and it was better than any professional I’ve ever paid for.

And how I threw a pair of cheap platform slides into a plastic bag just in case my custom ordered $300 heels proved uncomfortable, and they ended up being the shoes I wore to both the church and the whole reception. Did anyone notice? Only when I told them. Did it matter one bit? No, of course not.

I danced all night long, literally ALL NIGHT LONG, waved my jelly arms in the air, cheered and clapped, and had a ball. I was the mother of the groom ffs!!!, and no number on the scales or size tag or waist measurement was going to stop me from enjoying the party that lasted until the sun came up.

And the most shocking thing of all: I DIDN’T EVEN WEAR SPANX.

Under an evening gown.

To my son’s wedding.

STFU!

And for the whole month we were away I ate big fat fried jam-filled donuts every single morning, had woodfired pizzas every other day, ordered the most delicious pasta’s and risotto’s, swam and frolicked and enjoyed that healing Adriatic sea with zero care for how I looked or what was jiggling when I walked. I rocked so many cute dresses and I felt freaking awesome, with barely any makeup, beach hair, and a killer tan.

I didn’t so much walk down the Kalelarga as I did strut, because my friends, I finally learned to embrace my body for every good thing it’s given me, for being the amazing machine that it is. It’s far from perfect or beautiful in the eyes of society or magazine editors or Instagram, but I have finally stopped focusing on everything that is supposedly wrong with it, and am choosing to focus on everything that’s pretty bloody good about it. I’m also very aware of the fact that my family is healthy and happy while so many others are not, through no fault of their own, and that’s really the most important thing in life.

Hashtag blessed.

These days I try to lead by example, because those young women and girls who insist they need to “just lose five kilos” or “tone up a bit” are absolutely perfect, and I try not to let even one of those comments slide by me. I don’t want them to waste decades thinking they’re not good enough, I don’t want them missing the joy in the moment because they thought they looked fat in those jeans, or that they would have looked better in the photos if they’d worked out more beforehand. Seeing young women I love think they’re not good enough hurts, because they’re more than good enough. They’re gorgeous, inside and out. They’re loving and funny and intelligent and kind, and I need so badly for them to know and accept this.

So I’ll just keep being a huge pain in the ass until they do.

For me personally, learning to embrace has been liberating. Yes, I have to either buy a whole bunch of clothes in a bigger size or lose a few kilos to fit back into the stuff I love to wear, but my focus heading into the second half of my forties is on being healthy and strong. There aren’t going to be any punishing workouts that make me feel like I’m doing penance for liking to eat, I’ll stick to yoga and walking because I enjoy them and they make me feel good. I’ve cut way back on alcohol not as a weight loss tool but because it was becoming an emotional crutch. I’m also aware that I’ll be hitting some early stage of menopause soon, and I’d like to face it feeling as strong and as fit as I can. Mentally fit as well as physically.

Because hopefully there are still a few more of my children’s weddings in my future, and I plan on dancing and laughing and partying my way through all of them.

*Update: in light of all your feedback and the conversations on Facebook and Twitter in response to this post I just wanted to add that by no means do I consider myself done and dusted when it comes to body image and confidence, but simply that I’m trying to make the choice every day to believe that I’m perfectly fine the way I am. Age has a lot to do with it, as does the sheer exhaustion of having carried these feelings of never being good enough since my early teens. I am, quite simply, out of fucks to give on the subject. I also think we can learn something from the men in our lives, who proudly lift their shirts to compare the size of their bellies; and from our grandparents generation, who saw people with some extra meat on their bones as much healthier and more useful to have around than their skinnier sisters. And as for those photos that are less than flattering you know it’s just a shitty angle and a bad photographer right?

Just imagine if we all saw ourselves the way our loved ones see us…

  1. I bloody love this post 🙌🏻 your amazing, you look amazing and I’m so glad you had your light bulb moment. Now if only my light bulb would switch on instead of swinging in my dark crazy head. xxxx

    Reply

    1. I’ve had the moment, but it’s a daily choice to keep believing. You know your amazing right? With everything you do for your family and especially after the accident, please hun, give yourself a huge bloody pat on the back from me! And a hug! For me the real moment may have been earlier this year when I realised how differently I care for my family compared to how I care for myself. And having a daughter I want her to always know how beautiful she is and not waste years thinking she not enough. Xxx

      Reply

  2. Loved reading this post atleast al give myself time to let my body decide

    Reply

    1. 👍 thanks for reading. X.

      Reply

      1. ❤️

        Reply

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