What is body confidence? To me, it means accepting my body for the way it is but also accepting others without judgment. I believe that you can only truly love and accept yourself if you can love and accept others. All too often I still find myself judging other women's bodies. It's crazy. Sometimes it's out of jealousy and sometimes it’s out of wanting to make myself feel better. This is really hard to accept because both those things come from a place where I still need to grow. I have yet to learn that my body is good. Not for others or in the realms of what is accepted by society. No, it is good for me. Just me. As I turned 30 I finally felt some sort of arrival, I was okay with my body, in fact, I started to love my body. But the difference to 20 was that I didn’t have to try so hard to really believe it. I felt that in my 20’s I was so influenced by what I should have looked like by 30 that I didn’t appreciate what I had.
Always having looked different didn’t help my body love story all that much either. I grew up in Berlin, where I was one out of a few brown girls at school but the only one raised by a german single mum. Why that is important is that the way I see myself is as a complete German, for a long while I wouldn’t even accept that the reason why people treated me differently was that I look Arabic (or as some would say Turkish). What I wanted most of all was to look German, be tall, and be the size of 90/60/90 which is the ideal body type for a model. I think I learned that from Heidi Klum who ran Germany’s Next Top Model. I know some of you will relate in that there were no girls and now women who looked like me. And there you see the problem when we start comparing ourselves to others who are so far away from ourselves we will never succeed to accept what we have and or who we are. We do this in the first place because we think we’re less than, so we need to be more like them because they seem to be loved and accepted more.
A few things that really knocked my confidence and really impacted how I felt about myself were other girls telling me I was pushing my boobs out on purpose for boys attention in primary school, girls telling me my legs were fat and that I was fat, an ex-boyfriend who would compare me to his thinner ex-girlfriend (all while being intimate), teachers talking about my boobs in front of my class, other women telling me I should not wear certain things. But most of all what impacted me the most is what I saw in the media, not one person there represented my body or skin colour. And worst, anyone who was a bit curvy was called fat. Words hurt and a lot of the time, when we hear them often enough, we start believing them, about ourselves and about others. I think we can agree that one way or another we have wondered why some people are getting slashed for the way they look when they are absolutely beautiful. Yet those things stick with us and make us wonder if they are not accepted then why should I? Maybe you never had that in which case ignore my blabbing.
My journey will be different than yours because we all have different things that influence us and the way we see ourselves. Some people are stronger willed and so give a crap about other people's opinions and I admire them for that, however me, while I come across as confident, struggle, still today, sometimes. When I moved to London all of this changed for me because there was so much diversity, of course, I agree that there needs to be more but I was happy to see more women of different colours, heights, and bodies. There is a lot more that needs to change, I unfollowed various people who represented a lifestyle that doesn’t promote a positive body image, or those that promote diet culture, or those that just blatantly lie about themselves and try to sell an ideal.
All I can recommend is following people who represent you, who are body positive and don't bitch about others. I buy clothes that work for me and make me feel good. I don’t change in dressing rooms because the lights and mirrors are fake, so I take stuff home, or order online and try it on. In the comfort of my home, with the right bra, my shoes and so on. Don’t make this a horrible experience, I know what it feels like to go jeans shopping… it is the worst. Body confidence is something a lot of women struggle with big, small, thin, tall, we all struggle. Even today I have days when I think bad words about my body, but most days I don’t anymore. I started to accept that I am curvy, I have a belly and I’m okay with it. I look at myself, a LOT! Naked! It helps! Try telling yourself one thing that you love about yourself! ONE you can do that, and then start adding more once you really believe what you’re saying. Today I can look at Nicole fucking Scherzinger (new video #mindblown) and say she has a damn hot body BUT so do I!