Ahh cellulite – you little devil. Lumps, bumps and imperfections are unavoidable; but they features that so many of us struggle to come to terms with. Body confidence – or should I say lack of it, is something I’ve suffered with for a long time, particularly as a teenager. I remember when I was around 12 years old and my body began to develop. I don’t think I was ever destined to be skinny, and now at the age of 22, I’ve realised that I will always have a wobbly bum – something I absolutely hated growing up. During family holiday’s; I’d wear shorts over my bikini bottoms to hide my upper thighs – or I’d walk around with my hand covering my insecurities, and at home I’d wear baggy t-shirts, coats and hoodies in order to hide my bum.
Last year, during a family holiday to Greece, the 16 year old daughter of our family friends, turned up to the beach in an oversized t-shirt, choosing to sunbathe and swim in it. She’s a very pretty girl with a lovely figure, yet somewhere down the line of society has told her that she isn’t good enough. Why does a girl so lovely feel the need to hide herself? I then realised that I was once this girl, paranoid about her body at such a young age when I should be out there having fun.
It wasn’t until the age of 15 when things really did begin to go too far. On a Saturday morning, not long until my 16th birthday, I took a morning shower. I began to feel sick; I over heated; before eventually blacking out and collapsing on the bathroom floor. There was nothing wrong with me – I just wasn’t eating enough. I’d avoid eating chocolate and I would purposely never finish a meal, on top of this, I was also exercising on a regular basis.
I was never fat – and I knew this; I was just paranoid about the cellulite on my thighs. I tried everything the internet told me to do, from trying different body lotions, to trying different toning exercises, using a brush before I showered, drinking more water, cutting down on sugar – I even began running and cycling. Absolutely nothing worked – even after years of failed attempts. As disheartening and frustrating as it was, this was when I began to realise that maybe cellulite will always be part of me, especially as a growing woman.
The exercises and the dieting I did were not only pointless – but ridiculous. I will admit that it has taken a while for me to come to terms with my lumps and bumps, and it has only been recently where I’ve felt fully confident in shorts or in a bikini. But if you look around you, especially on the beach, you’ll find it difficult to spot a woman without any imperfections – in fact, I guarantee there is a higher percentage of women with cellulite than there is without.
I do believe that the media are mostly to blame for the insecurities both men and women have to regularly face. We are frequently bombarded with diets; exercise regimes; weight loss products and perfect images on social media, that we have all lost a sense of reality. The perfect body simply doesn’t exist, and constantly looking for perfection – you will never be satisfied. There’s always ‘more’ you can do to improve.
Instagram has become a terrible platform for that reason. Every time I open the app and endlessly scroll down my feed – I’m over-faced with images of ‘perfect’ women, with perfectly toned figures, golden skin, gorgeous hair and fashionable clothes. There isn’t an imperfection on any part of their body. These images are so heavily airbrushed, and often chosen through a set of multiple images that we forget that these people are also human. And these people are forgetting to focus on their audience of normal people.
I will never forget the evening when one of my friends at university turned around and said something along the lines of ‘cellulite is horrible, not every girl has it’. It made me feel like shit – until I realised that every other girl in the room felt like me. One thing that we are never been taught by the media is that cellulite is normal, and it shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing to have.
I’ll be honest, I will ever be fully satisfied with the way I look – who is? But that doesn’t mean I should hide away. I’ve never felt so confident walking around in a bikini than I do now; I no longer use my hand to hide my imperfections; and to be honest, I very rarely think about the way I look in swimwear or shorts – I just choose to enjoy myself. The perfect body doesn’t exist, no matter how hard you try, no matter what the media tells you and men don’t care about that part of you either; they probably don’t even notice.
You, yourself, are your own worst critique. Cellulite shouldn’t be seen as a burden – it’s part of you – and a feature that no form of exercise or product will ever get rid of. I understand that embracing imperfections can be tricky – but you should know that since I learnt to accept my imperfections – I’ve never been so confident.
So; here’s to our cellulite, our stretch marks and everything in between. You will never be happy whilst you’re searching for perfection – as this doesn’t exist.