In around 2013 I started following a lot of fitness people on Instagram. Women, mainly, and mainly women who lift.
At the time I was pretty fit myself and looking for inspiration I guess. These accounts were pretty glossy to look at, and more often than not the women were also from magazine covers etc. for fitness magazines I’d picked up to read.
I’ve notice though, particularly over the last 12 months or so, I’ve unfollowed a lot of those people. There seems to me to be a lack of authenticity in some of those ‘fitspo’ accounts that can get a bit grating after a while. And all the power to them – I’m not shitting all over their self-chosen branding, because my initial follow shows that there truly is a market out there for that stuff. It’s just not what I currently want to see on my feed each day.
I’m following even more women now than what I was, but they’re different women. There is one woman in particular called Erin Brown (@IamErinBrown) who I draw so much strength and inspiration from. She writes a lot about body positivity and body trauma, and being authentic to yourself. She’s bluntly honest about the not-so-good days and about the tough parts of being a woman. She lifts and she swears and she writes and I basically want to be her when I grow up.
I’ve also started following a lot of body positivity accounts. Fat women (who embrace the word fat to describe themselves) who have found happiness and confidence and a fulfilled life in the body they’re in.
I’m conflicted about these accounts, even though I really wish I wasn’t. It goes back to that idea I touched on a week or so ago about confidence – does confidence come via finding a way to be happy with what you have, or does it come from making positive changes to yourself to meet the goals you have?
I’m sure it’s both, but how to reconcile those two things?
Like, I love that these women have so much pure love for their body. They’ve worked really hard to get there, and they truly get some god-awful shit on social media for it. I also love how amazing they look in the photos they post – these women put real effort into their appearance, and buy beautiful clothes and shoes, because they know they’re worth it. For a fat woman with terrible self-confidence to be able to see this is a truly wonderful thing.
But can someone fully embrace themselves this way and still want to make changes to their body? Like, can I work on loving myself the way I am now, without letting go of the fact that I want my body to be different?
Lordy – it’s something I’m really grappling with right now. In part because I really do love the fact that larger women are finding a place in TV, music and social media. But also because I’m not sure if embracing that myself means that I’m throwing my hands in the air and going ‘well this is just the way I am now, might as well learn to love it.’
Tonight I’m grateful for one particular Instagram account run by a woman in Melbourne who fosters kittens. She posts videos of her bottle-feeding baby cats and for some reason I find them very relaxing to watch. I have this thing of waking up in the middle of the night and not getting back to sleep because my anxiety kicks in – I will often look at these videos to calm my head down a bit so I can fall asleep again.
A positive thing about myself today: I really do care a lot about my clients. I have a fairly elderly client in WA at the moment and I call her a lot. I know it helps her to be less anxious about her visa situation, and she also feels like I’m genuinely on her team. My loyalty to my clients has sometimes worked against me in the past (and is always, without fail, the reason I stay too long in jobs) but I would rather be that way than the other.