Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Jumping for joy...



While we were drinking our first beer of the day on holiday we watched a couple take photographs of each other. Posing this way and that way, they would pause to take a look at the screen, giggling together and then take a few more. At one point the man put on full snorkeling gear - mask, snorkel and flippers and did the biggest leap into the air. I'm not too sure if that photo even came out, his girlfriend was laughing so much I doubt the camera was steady.

Sion asked me if we should take some photos, but we found ourselves giving reasons not to - "I'm not quite tanned enough", "I ate too much at breakfast time", reasons or excuses? Then the perfect photo day dawned, beautiful blue sky, only a gentle breeze occasionally cooling your face and so the camera was taken out for our lunchtime stroll.

Pretty soon we were like the couple we had seen, taking photos of each other and laughing at the result - but it was more about "Look at my gut", "Oh my god, I've got a double chin", "My nose is so red". We took the obligatory jump shots and while Sion is leaping high, my best one had barely an inch or two of lift. I could say that is the reason I almost chose Sion's photo for my J is for Jump post, but I wouldn't be telling the truth.

When did I become one of those women who constantly compared herself to others? The lead up to the holiday involved weeks of gym sessions, protein shakes, salads and alcohol free days. Did it make any difference? I'm not too sure. I found myself poring over magazines, looking for ways to achieve a beach perfect body in only 8...6...4 weeks. If I see another spread of "Fabulous at 40" supermodels and actresses, who have the luxury of facials, personal trainers and the surgeon's scalpel to help along the way, I can't be held responsible for what I might do.

We are all so aware of the effect airbrush images have on teenagers and young adults, yet here I am, a woman of almost 36, still having body hang ups. I have over 20 years on some teenage girls but hand on my heart, I couldn't sit in a room and tell them I don't feel the same way as them. Sure I probably could get back to having the body I had at 18, but it would involve a lot of money, sweat, starvation and pain.

I looked long and hard at my Jump photo and asked myself "What do I see?". At first I saw a body that is the heaviest it's ever been, I saw a tummy that despite the countless sit ups stays defiantly wobbly, I saw a nose that is always red. Then I asked myself to look deeper, now what did I see?

I saw a strong body, capable of lifting all 12 stone into the air. I saw a body preparing itself to create and nurture a baby (just not quite yet!). I saw a body capable of swimming, cycling and walking for hours. I saw a image of a happy, healthy 30-something woman jumping joyfully into the air, while the man of her dreams snaps away. I saw something to be proud of, me.

And that is why the photo you see is not of Sion, but is of me...in all my beer drinking, holiday eating, bikini wearing glory. I'd be happy to show it to a roomful of teens and say "This is me". I think perhaps we should all dig out a photo and proudly ask "What do I see?"

38 comments:

  1. I hate looking at photos of myself and am terribly self conscious. But I guess everyone is different and its our uniqueness and looks that make us who we are. You look gorgeous in that photo and I think its a fantastic jump shot :)x #sharewithme

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  2. Thanks for this post. It's very honest, and says what a lot of women think about their bodies. We all have things about our bodies that we don't like and that we'd like to change. If we all focused on what we didn't like about ourselves all the time we'd be pretty miserable, all the time! You're right, we should be proud of ourselves and everything that we are. And I think you look fabulous in that photo! xxx

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    1. Thank you, I chose happiness over misery...yummy food over salad!

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  3. What a great post, I to spend to much worrying about how I look, but yes you are so right we should be proud of ourselves and what we are x

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  4. We all need to take in a bit of this sentiment. I am so critical of myself in photographs, deleting them immediately if I don't like what I see. What kind of message is that giving to my 14 year old daughter? Not a great one. Thanks for the reminder to look a little deeper before we criticise ourselves in photos.

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    1. Thanks Suzanne - I look forward to seeing you and your daughters' jump photo!! ;) x

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  5. Want to know what I saw? A happy woman on vacation! Why do we fall prey to these body image gimmicks? I don't know, but we need to keep reminding ourselves of why we should be proud of what we are.

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  6. Now maybe if Sion had been lower down, then you too would have looked like you were jumping higher. It is all down to perspective. The jump, the body and the person. Great photo. #AlphabetPhoto

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    1. Sion is now under strict instructions to get lower! Thanks for the tip x

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  7. Well done for looking deeper and seeing something to be proud of, it is so not easy and you're right it's not just teenage girls who are affected by all of the airbrushed images of perfection, we all are and so it is hard to see beyond the imperfections sometimes. great post :) xx #mmwbh

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    1. Thank you Caroline, no photos were deleted this weekend - not even the one of me with a traffic cone on my head!!

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  8. You look amazing! I do hate looking at pictures of myself (if not just a head shot) but then I haven't got your figure xx

    http://www.youbabymemummy.com

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    1. Thanks Aby, you look pretty beautiful to me! x

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  9. I live near the beach and summer is hurtful for me. Since I gave birth a lot of changes happened to my body as well and I think its not pretty. I am so envious of your confidence and thats my goal. I will try to tell myself that my body is strong and powerful. Thank you. You are inspiring. #alphabetphoto

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    1. Hi Merlinda - Wow no-one's ever called me inspiring. You're a very pretty person inside and out...always leaving beautiful comments - it's much appreciated! xx

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  10. What a fabulous photo. I see a happy smiling woman who looks like they are having the time of their life.

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    1. Thank you, it was an incredible holiday! x

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  11. Fantastic post. I absolutely love love this photo. You look amazing and it's great that you took photos on vacation. Mr P is always telling me to put the camera away for excuses and life passes us by we need to capture the moments be fun and happy and play and laugh more as a population. Like you said who cares we are on holiday we should be drinking beer, enjoying food and have tan lines. Its' the best way to be. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

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    1. Hi Jenny, yep life is too short to get caught up in envy and stress...especially on holiday! x

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  12. It's a great photo, I love it. In fact, I am inspired to get one done of me. There's something about jumping in the air shots that makes you smile when you look at them. They are so much fun and that stands out more than anything when you look at it.

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    1. Thanks Nicola, make sure to let me know when you've done it! x

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  13. Hats off to you and I think you look great and you know why? Because you look happy and normal! Neither are things that money can buy!.....Love the setting too.

    You are a good example of how women should be, even though you may not have felt it when you hit the publish button!

    Popped over from #BrilliantBlogPosts.

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    1. Thank you Debbie, all these lovely comments..this is what blogging is all about! x

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  14. Haha this is such a fun photo!! x

    http://www.superbusymum.net

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    1. Thanks Deborah and I love your daughter's jump photo...she looks like she's having so much fun! x

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  15. Well what I see is a woman with an amazing body, laughing, having fun and living life. I instantly looked at this photo and wished I could look like this! Thus proving your point that some of us automatically compare ourelves to others. Its natural instinct I'm sure. But I stand by my point- you look amazing! x x

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    1. Thanks Susanne, I think it's natural to compare...we just need to have a health attitude with it...you look pretty damn amazing too! x

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  16. I see a gorgeous, slim woman full of fun and life-LOVED it! Please link back or add my badge-thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts

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  17. What an awesome photo, you look absolutely amazing and like you're having the best time. Funnily enough I looked at your photo and thought I wish I could do that! Really great post, thank you so much for sharing #alphabetphoto

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  18. Thank you for sharing this post with us in the blog carnival, I think we all need to dig out a photo like this. I have hang ups about my body, wish I didn't but I think it is human nature.

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