In the third part of her series discussing the fun and myths of the single life, Charlotte Jiggins tackles the challenge of developing body confidence outside of a relationship. Without the traditional route of a partner praising your body, it can be easy to become dependent on the praise of people who will not always have your best interests at heart. But, at the heart of it all, does the opinion of a significant other even have to matter?
The other day in a club I was attempting to dance (I admit I am a terrible dancer), but this guy was staring at me a lot. Actually not me, my boobs. Eventually he came over to me and was asked, ‘do you want to go home?’. Pretty sure he asked my boobs that too. To which they replied, ‘no’. Did it feel good, a guy not even making eye contact with me, but just looking at my body and wanting to go home? I’ll be honest, at the time it did and that’s not okay.
So here’s lesson three: feel fit for yourself and not anyone else.
I’m a size 8/10, 34D boobs and I’m 5ft (I think the doctors just tell me this to make me feel better that I’m actually 4ft 11). Anyways, big-ish boobs, petite girl, you get the picture, apparently a lot of guys seem to be into that. So why is it that even after people compliment my body when I’m half naked in bed or staring at me in clubs, day to day I constantly feel ugly, worthless and fat? Well, one reason for sure is that when you’re single you don’t wake up to someone in the morning say that you’re beautiful. I, for one, look like a monster in the morning, but it would just be so nice to have someone compliment you, sober.
For me, it actually got very extreme a couple of years ago as I was finishing my first year at Uni. After a year of seeing stunning young women who were so different to myself, I began to feel genuinely ugly and fat. It got to a point when I started thinking about skipping meals, looking obsessively at calorie labels and weighing myself three or four times a week. Why? All because I wanted some random guy to come up to me in a club and drunkenly say I looked ‘fit’. Looking back it seems so silly - but comments from drunken guys was the only way I felt good.
The relationship with my body is something I still massively struggle with. And I’m taking small steps to try and make it better. One of which right now is sharing this bikini photo I took on holiday. I never uploaded it because I hated the way it made me look (and if you look really closely you can see my webbed feet which weirds me out). And now looking back, that’s just stupid. I look healthy, happy and great. So goodbye body insecurities- well for a while, as they are definitely still there.
For me, feeling great about my body has been the toughest thing about being single for so long. I still spend a lot of time thinking, physically, I’m not good enough. But I’ve come to realise that this is me, and for any future husbands, you either take it or leave it. What’s important is you find your own sense self-worth in a dating world which unfortunately still seems to be based so much on physical appearance. Right now, for the first time in a very long time, I feel pretty good about the way I look and I feel lucky. So please learn to love your insecurities because you do look amazing, I promise, and make sure you want to feel ‘fit’ for yourself and not for anyone else.