Yesterday I posted a bikini shot on Instagram. Immediately after this I saw a post that I feel was directed at me.
I had been invited by Debenhams to attend an event at the Radisson Blu hotel in Galway and each guest got a treatment as well as the opportunity to use the spa and hot tub before Debenhams showcased their racewear. I was feeling good about myself yesterday. Many days I do not feel so good about myself. If you had seen my stomach just a week ago you would not believe it was the same body. Last weekend I was in absolute agony with menstruation pains, which unfortunately for me is a monthly occurrence (the unfortunate thing being the pain of course, not the period!) and I suffer from severe bloating. I wish I had shared that image with you! It has gotten worse over the past few years. At Christmas the pain was so intense that we very nearly called the ambulance twice, but I was worried I wouldn’t last the journey in. It was really very bad.
Don’t believe everything you see in your Instagram feed! Often it’s an illusion. I have another shot on my phone, which I’m going to describe (God forbid I share another bikini shot!) In the photo my legs looked thin, as did my whole body. I can assure you that my body looks nothing like what I’ve saved in the camera. In reality my thighs are muscular. It was an illusion created by the way I was standing. So, bear this in mind next time you study an image online.
My physique is naturally athletic as I started running competitively from a very young age. I have maintained this tone in my core area. What you don’t see in the image above is my bum and thighs! Gaining and losing weight over the years and a poor diet has led to stretch marks and cellulite. On social media, all you see are our best bits. We’re all guilty of this.
Do you want me to list all that I dislike about myself? We’d be here for a while!
Running and fitness used to be a major part of my daily life. I’m happiest when I feel fit, but since I’ve moved out the country I’ve made excuses and exercise is the last thing I want to do when I get home in the evenings. I tried to run 3k the other day and had to stop and walk. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest when fitness bloggers share images of there abs and bikini bodies. I’m like ‘wow, good for them’ and scroll on. I just wouldn’t have the discipline to eat so healthily, prepare meals and exercise strenuously, but I respect them and accept that that’s ‘their thing’. I don’t feel like saying: ‘you can’t do this. You’re portraying a body image that is unattainable to young girls.’ Images like these have been around for years, just in a different medium. I know I’ve become immune to these images.
Absolutely anything can make you feel unattractive. Be it a bikini shot, someone’s beautiful face, perfect teeth, that perfectly perfected pose and perfect smile, someone’s clear skin. Deal with it. Am I not promoting a positive body image? I by no means starve myself. I have a massive appetite and enjoy eating. What about my lunchtime runs? Is this not something exemplary and attainable for all young girls? It’s not only young girls that are impressionable. We all are. So many of you follow fitness bloggers. If it bothers you that they share bikini snaps, choose not to follow them!
Moreover, on a recent school trip it was frowned upon that I went swimming with my students. I think in Ireland we can be so conservative and narrow minded. Would you believe that it’s actually normal to go swimming and wear swimwear? Regardless of shape, age or size this is what people do! It was necessary to have someone supervise the students.
For anyone who is interested, last week I started drinking a combination of Yo Chi (Thérapie Clinic) and Fabuloss Detox tea (Karora), which I was sent to sample. I am a blogger – I get sent products to review. I’ve just shared an image of the results. I do feel that this teatox has helped my bloating and really helps flush out waste and improves digestion. I look forward to taking it in the morning and I find it keeps me fuller for longer.
‘What are we teaching young ladies of today?’
Yes, I am a teacher. Nine months of the year. I think I’m entitled to let my hair down and share the odd holiday snap, just like anyone else online. What’s the difference between me sharing an image and you sharing an image with your ‘friends’ on Facebook and Instagram? I’m so sick of being prim and proper. I’ve barely put a foot out of line over the years. I’ve studied hard from day one at school and right through university. Are my actions always going to be dictated by: ‘Oh what if that student sees me?’ ‘What will their parents think?’
For God’s sake. Teachers have lives too. We have other interests. We can have a spa day out and wear a bikini!
In my teaching I incorporate my interests and passions. This past academic year I organised and coordinated a fashion show with my students and we raised €800 in a matter of hours for Sligo Cancer Support Centre and North West Simon Community. I set up a refashioning module in TY to encourage students to reimagine their preloved clothing, get creative, upcycle and recycle. If students ask me about skincare or beauty products, I give my suggestions. What am I teaching my students? I am teaching them to reimagine, recreate, reuse, recycle, repurpose. My blog is my creative outlet. It’s where I have a voice. I’m following a passion. Surely this is something a student respects. Surely I’m setting a good example. What kind of teacher would I be if I wasn’t following my own dreams? What kind of teacher would I be if I didn’t encourage students to follow their passions and exercise their unique gifts and talents? I am practising what I preach.
For God’s sake.
I have a sound academic record and I feel I have so much to offer. Sometimes you’re not given a fair chance to express your passions. The past couple of years I’ve been teaching subjects that I’m not necessarily passionate about. This can eat at your self confidence and sense of being valued. Teaching is trying on your patience. You can only teach a child so much. It’s a two-way thing. There has to be a degree of independent learning and judgement.
It’s no longer as straight-forward as getting your degree and HDip and voilá – maith thú – job for life.
First class honours. Check.
Leaving Cert examiner. Check.
Oral examiner. Check.
IT lecturer. Check.
I could go on…
I mean, I couldn’t be more qualified. Yet, I still don’t have a permanent position!
Last year my hours reduced to 7 hours per week! In times of recession with job cuts and hours cut, I think you’re forced to get inventive. Your creativity shines through. With my blog I am effectively building something of a career for myself. Am I not teaching my students to be resourceful? One door closes. Go open another! Bloody wear your bikini! Whatever shape or size. If you’re unhappy, fix it! But do this with regular exercise and regular meals. My blog has evolved from solely fashion to beauty and lifestyle as the opportunities have presented themselves. I think it’s OK to share an annual bikini shot!
We all piss each other off online every now and again. It will be someone else tomorrow. I am accepting and tolerant of others. I don’t mean to offend anyone.
It’s. only. a. picture.