There are as many different types of shame as there are people. Some things that I’ve done would have shamed my grandmother but did not shame me; things that shame me might not faze you. Events change shame. Relationships change shame. Time changes shame. And some shames never change, of course, even if you want them to. Even if you’re trying really, reeeeeally hard.
I am trying, I swear it. I’ve been working slowly on changing one of my own shames – THE shame, in fact – but it’s definitely easier said than done. It’s my body shame. I know, I know: there’s been hundreds of millions of words written about that particular beast already. It’s Vogue’s fault, or the patriarchy’s, or your mother’s for always suggesting that you’d “be such a pretty girl if you just lost some weight.”
But, for me, my personal body shame? It’s the shame of having not gotten over my body shame. (Say shame again, Amy. Shame!)
I’m not saying things are hard for me. I am cis gendered, white, employed, straight sized and my disability is invisible so I can totally pass for “normal.” I’m not whining about my actual body here. Apart from my condition (which I’d rather not go into), my body is fine. Somewhere deep inside, I know that my body is fine. (And, for the record: my mother has told me my entire life that I am the most beautiful girl in the world.)
Don’t take this the wrong way: I am very aware that I have it easier than a lot of people. What I’m shamed about is my inability to accept this perfectly lovely body as a perfectly lovely body. Here’s the thing: I have a Google reader full of blogging babes that love themselves exactly as they are, no matter what size their clothing label says. I’m reading up on fat activism and watching NAAFA videos on YouTube and buying feminist classics on Amazon. I honestly believe in accepting yourself exactly as you are – I just haven’t been able to manage it yet.
I believe in self-loving for YOU. I truly believe that you are beautiful and that you should accept yourself just as you are. Look at you – you’re bloody fabulous! But me? My body? Well. I know my body is “normal” (and even if it wasn’t “normal”, it would still be wonderful) and still I can’t. If my body was your body, I would think you were lovely. And yet.
I am not embarrassed because I hate my body but because I STILL hate my body. Because all the activism and positivity and feminism and all-round wonderfulness that I am lucky enough to have seen still isn’t helping me look in the mirror and accept myself. One day I think it’s finally sinking in and then the next I’m texting my best friend at 8am because I am such a hideous beast that I can’t find anything to wear to work. I’m crying on the phone to my supportive boyfriend – who, coincidentally, thinks I’m lovely as I am – because I’m convinced that I am completely disgusting. It’s shameful to feel shame about such a perfectly fine body.
That’s my shame. It’s the shame of being fully aware that I’m being an idiot, and yet, still not being able to stop being an idiot. The thing that helps is realising that we’re all works in progress, even those of us that have accepted ourselves. Just stay incredible – just keep being yourselves, in fact – and keep inspiring me. I’m working on it, you guys.
Amy is a handful and a handful of things: fashion blogger, social media PR girl, wannabe writer, obsessive reader, London College of Fashion graduate and general pain in the butt. She likes diet coke, songs with her name in and justifying her wardrobe as a ‘collection’. Check out her blog at wolfwhistle.org