Let’s Talk: Body Confidence

Lifestyle

Body confidence.

Uhhhhiegfiesbdj. Even just writing those two words down and seeing them staring back at me makes my toes begin to curl up, which no doubt will shortly be followed by the rest of my body until I’m balled up like a little kitten. I want to start by saying that I had many reservations about writing this post; though I never know where a post is going to take me when I begin rambling, I know from the outset that a topic such as this is quite a sensitive one, one that is subject to many an opinion. It is also quite personal and will require me to chat openly to whoever is reading about my own experiences. It is only too often these days that when an individual tries to talk about body confidence, they are met with resounding groans and twenty-plus eye-rolls. That in itself is an issue.

Living in an age and society as we do, it is only fair to say that humans are their own downfall. The majority of huge social and political issues stand at the foreground of human ignorance. I think that body confidence is no different. This obsession (that only leads to remind me of that weird Black Mirror episode where every single person was judged on their social media platforms) with our online presence is beyond unhealthy but sadly, I think the effects are irreversible. Pre-conceptions of ‘beauty’ and appearance are damaging the mentality of (particularly) young children and adolescents. I’m fully aware that a post of this nature could come across as “preachy” so, to avoid that as best as I can, I’m going to chat about my own experience with body confidence, or lack thereof.

Honestly, I’d never had any major run-ins with the body police (the ones in my brain lol) until about two years ago. Up until then, I hadn’t really worried TOO much about it. Of course, I’d envied my friend’s long legs over my little stubby ‘I-have-to-take-three-strides-for-every-one-of-your-steps’ legs, or the way another friend could pull off a bandeau mini-dress because they weren’t a card-holder of the itty-bitty-titty-committee like myself, but all in all, I tried not to let it affect me in any way. I’ve always been petite, at 5ft 2, and had never felt out of proportion growing up.

Having had a ponder, I really think that what got me questioning my body confidence was starting university and turning 18. In particular, going out (both at home and at uni). I have never been (and never will be) someone who owns 20 different mini-dresses and matching pairs of heels. I am a jean-loving, trainer-wearing gal who, 9 times out of 10, is always in an oversized sweatshirt or t-shirt. That’s not to say that I’ve never been confident in my body, rather that I tend to favour comfort over anything else (stylish comfort, of course!!). Let me a paint you a nice little picture. An average night-out outfit for me is a pair of black jeans and some form of a crop top with a pair of converse or another variety of trainer. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to make an effort with my makeup and hair (hopefully making me look slightly nicer than I do having just made it in time for my 9am). So, naturally, the words “dressing up” cause alarm bells to start ringing…pretty loudly. Most of my friends absolutely love dressing up and use going out as an excuse to wear their newest dresses/jumpsuits (and so they bloody well SHOULD as they look like angels) when in reality, I can think of nothing worse. I actually get the fear when my friends try to take pictures with me on a night out because I know for a fact, regardless of whether I do look it or not, I will feel sub-standard standing next to them. Even wearing clothes similar to them, I kind of feel like a fraud, as if someone has over-taken my body and made me squeeze into this tiny outfit that in no way makes me feel good and subsequently, doesn’t make me look good. My friends will tell you that I am THE WORST person to take pictures of or with, because I just pick myself apart in every single one. I think being put in a situation where people assume you have “made an effort” to look your best, automatically invites in other peoples’ judgement, if an image is shared on social media, for example. You don’t know what your friend Chloe’s-auntie’s-friend-from-high-school is saying about your hair or your outfit. In reality, Chloe’s-auntie’s-friend-from-high-school probably doesn’t care the slightest bit that your leg’s at a weird angle or one of your eyes looks slightly bigger than the other. Whilst I KNOW this to be the case, it is harder convincing the irrational, negative part of your brain that 24/7.

These pictures show just one example of my struggle with body confidence. Now, I absolutely hate my arms. I know that’s a weird thing to hate but I rarely wear strappy tops that mean the tops of my arms are out. For some reason, I thought it would be a great idea to purchase a dress with spaghetti straps for my course’s end of year party. You don’t even know how many pictures I had to take before I was finally KIND OF ACCEPTING of one of them. I felt so inadequate compared to how the rest of my friend’s looked and felt heavy and uncomfortable with my body in every photo. Even now, I still look at pictures from that night and pick out the parts about myself that I don’t like, that were only exaggerated by wearing something I didn’t feel like myself in. I also tend to ‘size up’ in a lot of my clothes, though my ‘correct size’ is usually one size down from what I end up buying. This is a habit I’ve let myself fall into as I really don’t tend to like form-fitting clothes as you can see every lil lump and bump. I know if my Mom is reading this she’ll be saying “oh don’t be stupid, you don’t have any lumps or bumps” but  the only way I can describe it is like this: you know when you have a spot on your face and every time you look in the mirror your attention is drawn to it and you feel like it’s ruining the whole vibe your face was going for today? However, when you mention it to your friend they say “oh, I didn’t even notice you had a spot”. I think that’s how it is with your body. I ended up sizing down and getting my ‘correct’ size in this dress, which only made it cling to me more and as a result, made me dislike it that much more. This should have been a fun time, but instead, I couldn’t stop thinking about how uncomfortable and wary of myself I was.

It does make me sad that I can feel this way as I’m such an advocate for seeing the beauty in people. I think all of my friends are honestly the most gorgeous people, inside and out, and I will always be the first person to jump in and tell them they look fab or tell them they’re being stupid for talking negatively about themselves. SO WHY is it so hard to do the same for yourself???? I think the main thing that I do which I definitely should stop doing is comparing myself to others. Now, I know that many people complain about the Instagram explore page promoting unreachable standards of perfection, showcasing the most beautiful girls and best looking guys. However, this is not the type of comparison I’m talking about. I KNOW that if you take a picture in a certain light and from a certain angle that it can make you look a lot thinner than you are, or create a shadowed set of abs. I’m not naive to think that I will ever be a Victoria’s Secret catwalk model or have a figure like Tammy Hembrow’s, rather I end up comparing myself to people I know. I can vividly remember studying one of my friend’s faces and picking out every feature of theirs that I was envious of, or that I felt was better than mine. How utterly awful is that?? The funny thing is that the majority of the time, if you turned around to someone and said “god, I’d kill to have cheekbones like yours” or “I wish my lips were like yours” they will repay the compliment to you and say that they want your cheekbones and your lips. This just goes to show that just because you like the way someone looks, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they do. If you think about, you have to see your own face and body every single day. Surely, even if you stared at the nicest face or the most perfect body every day for the rest of your life, you’d get bored of it or start to notice the tiniest of ‘imperfections’.

I do agree that a happy person is a beautiful person and that (no matter how cheesy) true beauty is found in happiness (thank you to Roald Dahl for teaching us all that sacred lesson). I think when you’re happy and secure in yourself, it glows out of you like a beacon of light and people around you just know. Like, yeah, she’s/he’s loving their life. I think there are days when I feel that happiness but there are most definitely still days where I question my body and its worth. I have, however, learnt that most of the pressure that I’ve been putting on my body to look and feel a certain way is pressure that has been generated purely by myself and not by others. My body shouldn’t need to look a certain way for other people, my body should be for me and if anyone ever tries to tell you any different, they are so wrong. Feeling as if you need to look a certain way to fit into the “trend” of what is desirable is something that happens far too often. Health comes first and with it, happiness.

Body confidence is definitely a journey and I’m currently sat on the train (probably eating some form of snack I cannot lie), chugging along at a steady pace.

Let me know how you deal with body confidence issues as I find it super interesting hearing other peoples’ perspectives on topics such as this one. Once again, a little ramble for you all, but I hope you enjoyed it all the same.

Love always,

G X

Instagram: @geeblogs

Gee’s Book Club #1

Books

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Hellooooo my lovely friends and welcome to the first instalment of ‘Gee’s Book Club’ (something I most definitely didn’t just title this post as I had absolutely no clue what else to call it). I thought it would be cute to start sharing with you the books that I’m reading at certain points throughout the year as if you know me, you’ll know I loves me a good book or five.

Summer has always and will always mean one thing to me: more reading time!! I’ve always been a bookworm and would rather spend my days stuck in a good book than doing pretty much anything else. Admittedly, I’m one of those weird people who can easily get through a book in a day (this makes my Mom very unhappy when I try to fit 7 days worth of books into my 20kg allowance to go on holiday – soz Mom). This summer I haven’t had as much spare time as I usually do, however I have managed to sneak in a few books here and there so thought I’d let you know what I’ve been reading and if these books are worth the hype (or whether you should save your pennies because – let’s be real – student pennies are PRECIOUS).

All The Little Lights – Jamie McGuire

“Falling is easy. The hard part is getting back up.” 

I’ve been a big fan of Mcguire ever since her Beautiful Disaster series was first published. Once I find an author that I like, I tend to buy every single book they ever write which is how I ended up buying All The Little Lights. Whilst McGuire usually writes for a slightly older “new adult” audience, I believe this to be her first YA fiction. Although I am now 20, I am partial to a slightly cheesy young adult novel every now and then (guilty!). Her characters are always so well-developed, in this case Catherine and Elliot, which really helps you get sucked into her literary world. This novel in particular follows the journey of Catherine and Elliot and explores their relationship as individually they both deal with trauma and family issues (sounds vague but am conscious of trying not to drop spoilers!!!). There is a relatively unpredictable twist at the end (by ‘relatively unpredictable’ I mean that I knew there would be a twist coming but guessed completely wrong what it was lol). Whilst the storyline of this book was not the most thrilling I have ever read, I still really enjoyed it all the same. Would deffo recommend.

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng 

“Everything she had dreamed for herself faded away, like fine mist on a breeze. She could not remember now why she thought it had all been possible.”

Ng was a completely new author to me this summer but I’d seen her novel Little Fires Everywhere hovering around in the book-world. On a whim, I purchased it alongside her debut novel Everything I Never Told You. This book focuses on the disappearance and death of Lydia Lee, daughter of James and Marilyn and is written in such a way that it explores their family’s relationship before and after Lydia’s death. If I’m being honest, this book didn’t hook me a great amount and at times I felt as if I needed the plot to move at a slightly quicker pace. I didn’t feel as if the plot-line was meaty enough to make up an entire novel, rather a few chapters. However, I did really enjoy the style of Ng’s writing so I would not be adverse to reading her following novels. I’ll definitely be giving Little Fires Everywhere a go.

He Said She Said – Erin Kelly

“North London to me then was a patchwork of islanded villages, reached only by Tube and never joined up above ground; circles on a map, separate as stars.” 

I’d been seeing this book EVERYWHERE a few months ago as the newest “thriller” must-read. There definitely was a hype surrounding this novel so I had to give it a go. I’m not going to lie to you, when I first starting reading this I had no idea where this hype had come from. The beginning of the book is very slow-paced which meant I found it quite hard to get into. However, from about half-way in, I was hooked. If the whole book was as good as the second half of the book, then this could have been one of my favourite reads in a while. I don’t really want to give much away (as I can’t without spoiling!!) but essentially, this book centres around a rape trial and plays very much on the “grey area” of what is considered as “consent”. That being said, this book deals with extremely current themes which I also appreciate. I’m v glad to have ticked this off my list.

So those are the most recent books I’ve had my nose stuck in over the past few weeks. I may have a pretty similar post coming soon as my fingers miiiiiight have slipped and I just miiiiiight have ordered a few more (hate myself but love myself). As always, loads of thankyous for reading and I shall see you (well, kind of) very soon.

G X

Instagram: @geeblogs

1 Year…

Lifestyle

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When I started my blog, it was initially meant as a means for me to have a little space on the internet where I could word vomit whatever was clogging up my brain at certain points in my life. I was sat in my exceptionally tiny university room, probably trying to avoid writing an essay, when I decided to bite the bullet, to take the plunge. For want of a better phrase, I grew some balls and published my first blog post. I can still remember the thoughts that ran through my head as soon as I’d clicked the ‘Publish’ button; I’m pretty sure they went something like this: Shit. Oh dear. Georgia, what have you done? Take it back, take it back, take it back. Buuuuut, your gal persevered and I couldn’t be happier.

The amount of support I’ve received is absolutely crazy: I’ve had people that I have never met sending me messages about how much they love reading my rambly words and weird opinions. To me, this is kind of incomprehensible as I’m just a massively uncool, sarcastic 19-year-old who laughs her way through life. Even the very idea that people read my blog for actual enjoyment makes no sense to me. When I first started out, I thought my readers would consist entirely of my friends who felt obliged to read what I was writing and although I know this is most definitely the case (big thanks to all my pals – you are angels and I appreciate you reading about my haircare routine when I know you really could not care less), there are also so many people reading across the entire WORLD. I have people reading my blog in THAILAND???!! I mean whaaaaat???

One of my first posts was called “Being Happy” where I outlined how important I felt it was for me to explore who I was at the time and who I could potentially be in the future, if I was brave enough to stop caring about what other people thought of me. A huge part of this was publicising my blog in the first place. Not many people know that I actually had an anonymous blog for around 2 years prior to starting ‘georgiaheaselgrave.com’ and was reluctant to tell anybody about it due to the fear of what people might think. If you followed my blog last year, you’ll know that I tried really hard to overcome this fear. Moving to university has really helped with my own self-confidence and self-belief and has given me the opportunity to explore who I want to be. Blogging has become a big part of my life and I couldn’t be happier that I took the leap and made it public.

I just wanted to say a massive thank you to every single person who has read any one or all of my posts. Without you, I would most likely not be blogging anymore and would have shed serious tears over the fact that my Mom was my only reader (lol, love you Mom).

Happy 1st birthday to my little blog!! I look forward to rambling excessively for many more years to come.

All the love,

G X

Instagram: @geeblogs

Hello 2018!

Lifestyle

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The end of 2017 was celebrated with my best friend, large amounts of champagne and rounded off with a huge portion of chips. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect end to what has been an emotionally draining, yet emotionally rewarding, year. 2017 saw tears…LOTS of tears, both happy and sad. It also saw a whole lot of laughter and joy that I can only put down to the lovely people I have in my life. I’ve learned a lot about myself and how I handle certain situations and I have to say, I think I’ve kicked ass this year!!

There are many things I wish I had done, or hadn’t done. But each tiny moment pieced together to make the whirlwind of crazy that was my 2017.

It’s been a pretty hard year emotionally for me.

I’ve had my heart broken; I’ve had to learn to pick up the pieces and glue them back together. I’ve struggled severely with home sickness. I’ve doubted myself when I should have believed in myself. I’ve started new things and failed (I mean, just look at my Blogmas attempt!!). I’ve worked hard and received no reward. My kindness has been taken for weakness. I’ve felt insecure. I’ve taken risks that haven’t paid off.  I’ve struggled in discovering who I am and what path I should take. I’ve had to make ‘adult’ decisions that I’m definitely not ready to have made.

But, I’ve also lived. I’ve made so many memories that will stay with me for a very long time. I’ve travelled with my friends. I’ve revisited a dream role of mine. I’ve sang my heart out to hundreds of people. I’ve watched my friends grow and achieve things that make me so proud to call them friends. I’ve pretty much watched every single series on Netflix (yes, I am classing that as an achievement). I’ve dabbled in this thing called ‘adulting’, but the jury is still out on that one. I’ve put time into improving my blog and have been rewarded by a growing following. I’ve learnt the value of having true and honest friends that will always have your back no matter what. I’ve met some of my absolute, honest-to-God idols. I’ve thrived in environments that (excuse my language) scared the living shit out of me at first glance…and second.

My New Year’s Resolution is to keep growing. Not in the physical sense (that ship has most definitely sailed) but emotionally and mentally. I want to be challenged, I want to challenge. I want to fail just so I can get back up and try again. I want to laugh so hard my sides feel like they’re splitting apart and my heart feels like it might escape my chest. I want to achieve things I never thought possible. I want to be surrounded by so much love and positivity that I won’t remember the last time I cried.

I want 2018 to be my year.

Lots of love,

G X