Getting comfortable in your body can be a lifelong journey, and we all have our own unique body hang-ups.
For me, it was my height.
I was always in the front row for school photos, my school dress went past my knees, and my taller peers often felt compelled to ask, ‘How’s the weather down there?’ I watched as all my friends, and even my younger sister, stretched and grew taller, praying for my own growth spurt. I also felt kinda iffy about my hair. I grew up in a small coastal town where long, blonde, surfer girl locks were all the rage, and I was stuck with a dark, wispy little bob.
My growth spurt never came, and my hair stubbornly refused to grow past my shoulders.
Now, in my 20s, I can honestly say that I’m grateful. I love being short and petite. It means I can buy kids shoes (which are substantially cheaper), am a gun at hide and seek, and always get to be the little spoon. And as for my hair? I finally accepted that it would never be long and thick, so I cut it into a pixie and never looked back. It’s taken me a long time to get here, and I wish I’d been able to appreciate my body for what it was when I was younger, instead of pining for longer legs and mermaid hair.
How can we teach girls to start the journey of self-love right from the start?
Local Melbourne author and social worker, Jessica Sanders, is doing just that with her new book, Love Your Body. This gem of a book is chock-full of body positive messages and self-care tips. It also features tonnes of gorgeous illustrations by Brazilian artist, Carol Rossetti (her insta is full of beautiful drawings with some proud feminist messages – definitely someone worth following.
Love Your Body encourages us to start practicing self-care and self-love from an early age. It’s bursting with ideas on how to celebrate and connect with our body, from positive affirmations to yoga and meditation. It encourages us to value our bodies for what they can do – dance, laugh, hug – rather than how they look, which is becoming an increasingly important message in the age of social media. It emphasises the importance of tuning in, listening and giving your body what it needs to thrive.
Image: Love Your Body
One of my favorite things about Love Your Body is that it encourages us to look beyond our physical bodies and see ourselves as more than just our figures; we are daughters, sisters, nieces, friends. And that is worth so much more than looking the way society tells us we should.
The book also features a list of resources for those who are struggling with body image concerns and other issues, so it’s great for anyone who needs a helping hand but isn’t quite sure where to go.
It’s taken me a long time to get to a point where I’m more comfortable in my body, and it’s definitely something I still struggle with day-to-day. Love Your Body is something I wish I’d had growing up, and I hope it inspires the next generation of young women to celebrate themselves and their bodies in all their beautiful, unique glory.
Grab your copy here.
Where can I get help?
If negative body image is effecting your life talk to someone you trust about it, like a parent, teacher or school counsellor. Talking about it will probably make you feel a whole lot better. You can also speak to a counsellor on the phone or online at eHeadspace.
If you think that you or someone you know might be suffering from an eating disorder, it’s important to seek help straight away. Visit the Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders or the National Eating Disorder Collaboration website for more information on help in your local area.
Click here for a list of Support Services.
Sarah is a sociology graduate and freelance writing living in Melbourne. She is fascinated by issues of gender, sexuality and psychology. She can often be found reading, listening to music and watching Broad City.