Tuesday, 19 January 2010

It's All In Your Mind

To begin with I need to give you an important piece of advice.
NEVER discuss your flaws and body hang ups with anyone EVER.

There is absolutely no good that can come of it, at best you will be drawing attention to the bits you should be glossing over and at worst you will appear to be fishing for compliments.

The only exception to this rule is your trainer at the gym or your dressmaker, it is perfectly acceptable to say 'please help me tone my thighs' or 'design me something that hides my tummy' but only because you are taking a positive step towards realistic self improvement, a comment directed at a friend or (heaven forbid!) a boyfriend, such as 'look at this disgusting cellulite' or 'I hate my enormous feet' has no positive connotations what so ever and therefore has no place in your vocabulary.

I hate to tell you this girls but essentially, you are what you are, so you may as well deal with it because the alternative is being miserable about something you have no control over.
If you are a pear shape then you will always be a pear shape, if you are flat chested or have a round tummy or a large bust or short legs you just have to accept it, learn to work with it, and realise that you are beautiful just the way you are.

Allow me to paint you a picture...
When I was 18 years old I started saving money for a breast reduction, I was of the impression, at that time, that if I had smaller boobs I would be happier and my life would be improved.
The only bras available in my size were enormous granny ones with inch thick straps, and no underwire. I couldn't wear anything strapless, backless, high necked or drapey, there wasn't a single dress on the high street that fitted my figure remotely, men would make rude comments at me when I was at work which made me uneasy and nervous (as a bar wench in a cocktail joint, why I would of expected anything else is beyond me!)
I felt uncomfortable in my own skin and it made me insecure and miserable.
Around this time I met a man who inspired me to travel, to this day we are still the best of friends, he recommended a book called work your way around the world and I ended up spending my 'breast reduction' money on an 18 month trip around Europe.
There is little space for vanity when you have to live out of a backpack for over a year and I was so busy meeting people, seeing sights and experiencing new things, (and sometimes, just surviving!) that I didn't have time to obsess about my boobs!
I built up confidence because I felt I had interesting things to say about my trips and experiences, I found it easier to interact with strangers because I was forced out of my comfort zone and gradually I began to hear the compliments people paid me in a completely different way.

I began to believe them.

When I returned I was a little slimmer, I stood a little taller, and...(I've never had a tan in my life but, after living in Spain for 6 months)...my skin was marginally less 'glow in the dark' white.
I went back to work in the cocktail bar briefly while I looked for a job.
When a raucous stag party came in and said '8 tequilas sweetheart, and by the way, GREAT tits!' I smiled genuinely, said 'thank you fellas, I agree' then I popped a drop of Tabasco in each of their shots ;-)

Those of you who know me may be surprised to learn of my early hatred of my fabulous embonpoint, not least, perhaps, because I don't look particularly top heavy, this is because I learned how to dress. When I couldn't find something that worked in the shops I made it myself, I scoured specialist boutiques for 'pretty' bras in larger sizes, I researched flattering necklines and made subtle alterations to shirts and tops. I do chest presses at the gym, wear a bra to bed and use a good body cream with collagen.
Now a days, with better lingerie production techniques, and the Internet, I have no trouble buying great underwear but dresses and tailored tops still need a nip and a tuck 99% of the time.

When I think back I can't believe I almost had unnecessary, major, invasive surgery.
The problem wasn't with my body, the problem was with my head.
I know a lot of women who have had reconstructive and cosmetic procedures and in some cases, I think plastic surgery is a wonderful option but I have to admit that in my experience it is rarely the quick fix it is often portrayed as in the media.

My point is this... make the best of yourself, always, but don't neglect your mental health or set yourself unrealistic goals.
Don't try and fit into anyone else's 'ideal'...If you have mousey, poker straight hair no amount of peroxide and hair extensions will make you look anything like the girl in the Timotae advert. If your skin is so fair that it looks blue in some lights no amount of fake tan will make you look like Penelopie Cruze. Just because Anna Wintour says purple leg warmers are 'in' doesn't mean you have to wear them.
You'll just look ridiculous.
Embrace what you have and make the best of it.
Your own 'ideal' should be the best version of yourself, just the way you are.

Most importantly of all, don't overlook the fact, that the problem you think you have with your looks could be all in your mind...


  1. Truly brilliant, inspirational and thought provoking. I feel extremely lucky and proud to call you my sister! xxx

  2. Surgery!? Were you insane!? You have fabulous boobs darling...fabulous...and whilst you're in the mood for inspiration, I would suggest whacking up some pics of the gold sequinned frock. Jessica Rabbit? Who's she...?

  3. Another fine blog Gill. Even I, as a man, got a lot from it. You know, I'm really OK about my flat chest now! :-)