Dear young woman at the gym,
I wrote to you recently. I encouraged you to stop being so half-hearted during your gym session, to stop worrying about what everyone else around you thinks, to recognise how wonderful the body you has is.
Yeah. I am such a hypocrite.
I spend about an hour at the gym, three times a week. In that hour, I probably spend about 30% of the time checking how all the other women in the room are doing, 25% disliking the women who are skinnier, faster, stronger than me, 15% of the time hoping my tummy isn’t sticking out too much after I ate too much pizza again last night, 10% of the time counting down the seconds until I’m done, 10% hating the personal trainer,
…and maybe, maybe, the last 10% feeling good about the fact that I am taking care of my body and it’s taking care of me.
I know. I know. I suck at taking my own advice.
I really did want to help you when I saw you in the gym last time. I saw you feeling awkward and embarrassed and wished I could tell you how beautiful and strong and wonderful you are. I believed it, I really did.
I just don’t always believe it for myself.
And so here is my confession. I frequently feel insecure about my body. I am relatively fit, not overweight, and yet I have believed our culture’s lie that I am not truly attractive until I lose those pounds that make me soft around the edges, can get through an hour’s workout and still look cute at the end rather than sweaty and dishevelled, have arms that look like Michelle Obama’s.
It’s bullshit. And I know it is and yet I still can’t quite shake it.
My mum told me every. single. day. growing up that I was gorgeous (and she still something texts me to remind me). Rasmus thinks I’m beautiful and sexy and he actually likes the soft bits. And even if no one was telling me, it would still be true. We women are stunning in our variety and yet it’s so much easier to believe it for every other woman except me.
And I don’t want to keep believing the lie. I want to remember instead that I do actually like my body, that even though I don’t always understand it, it has treated me well. I want to enjoy the feeling of working out, pushing my body to new limits every session and knowing I am healthier each time I do. I want to stop the constant comparing with other women around me. I want to feel confident.
Because there’s nothing more attractive than a confident woman. And it’s what I was trying to tell you. And it’s what I need to remember myself.
Because we are both so beautiful already.
Love Fiona x
Photo source: Someecards.com