Like many I am inspired to buy things because I see people I follow on Instagram wearing them and looking fabulous doing so. Sometimes you fool yourself into thinking you’ll look exactly like they do in the picture if you buy that same item, even if you have completely different colouring, body shape or swagger level. I guess that’s something brands are aware of – that’s why Instagram is such an effective marketing tool to utilise.
I bought these orange cut off shorts from BOOHOO having seen Little Magpie wear some similar ones in a shot many months ago. I’d been on the lookout ever since because I loved her look in that Instagram post so much. They arrived, and I was excited as I usually am when I have something to rip open and distract me from work for a bit, but soon as I got them out of the package I thought, ‘Jeez, they’re very teeny tiny’ which you could also interpret as, ‘They’re too skin exposing for the likes of me’.
I decided to persevere with my original plan to emulate the gorgeous Little Magpie’s style, after-all I love her for her beautiful curves. After a failed Samba style manoeuvre that almost required me to have two hip replacements, I was in the shorts and ready to appriase the results in normal try-on session protocol. Once they were over my hips, which are wide (proportionally), they were easy to button up and fairly comfortable on the body. However, I didn’t feel comfortable.
I looked in my wardrobe mirror and mentally said, ’Well I’m not going to wear those in public’. A shaft of light was coming in and hitting my thighs in a way that drew attention to just how much cellulite I have – which is a lot (a deduction I’ve made based on what I believe is the ‘norm’ – I’m completely aware this may be a warped perception). I decided that I could only wear these when it’s just me and Si when I’m lounging in the sun at one of our holiday Air BnB’s – wouldn’t get a public viewing. I then turned round and saw my evacuated and rather sad looking butt cheeks (no Kardashion fullness you see) and just how noticeable my thread and pre-varicose veins were, which only confirmed my reaction to the front view.
I wasn’t upset about it. It didn’t concern me or leave me feeling particularly bad about myself . It was just a matter of fact sort of feeling. They’re not for me. I won’t feel confident in them, so they’ll remain off Instagram and away from judgement.
Bites, bruises, bed sores, and Marks and Spencer pants – my reality.
As I write this I can almost hear some of the words people will be thinking to themselves, because I’ve received them so many times before, or eyerolls that would indictae the attitude at least. ‘What are you talking about?’ ‘You don’t have cellulite you’re a size 8 ffs’. ‘You’re slim, you don’t have anything to worry about.’ And more harshly, ‘How dare you comment on that, you’re just fishing’. But I do have a considerable amount, so much so it’s actually something I’m exploring in a medical capacoty because it might be linked to a condition I’m not yet diagnosed with – I’ll keep you posted on that.
I want to reiterate for everyone in the back that you can have cellulite whatever size you are. I am not saying it to be relatable or for attention, it’s just a fact, and not a fact I consider a hugely important to my personal level of happiness. Not everyone has it either. Some of my girlfriend who wear clothes in larger sizes than the I do, have enviably smooth looking legs.
I don’t actually want to delve too heavily into the facts and genetics of cellulite, that’s not the point of this post.
So let’s fast forward a bit. I did wear these shorts briefly on holiday when driving to Joshua Tree with Si and our friend Sam. We even stopped off at these weird dinosaurs on the side of the road to take some shots of the outfit. I kept covering my exposed mum cheeks when walking in front of Sam, and certainly didn’t feel my best self, but I had a good reason for deciding to wear them.
I knew that it would be impossible not to see signs of cellulite in the pictures when I finally came to importing them to Lightroom. I wouldn’t have the time to airbrush it all out, even if that’s what I wanted to do. But I didn’t want to, not anymore.
While I didn’t particularly enjoy scrolling through and observing the reality that is my thigh dimpling, I decided I didn’t want to hide it from anyone who might see the pictures and the eventual blog post/Instagram.
Much like natural boobs, body hair, thin lips, thin hair, imperfect skin we have been told for as long as we can remember that cellulite isn’t attractive or desirable. An underlying and sometimes screaming message that it is something that we should want to change, eradicate or reduce is enhanced by the media and beauty industry on a daily basis. In the past I have even been part of that narrative by reviewing products that proclaim to reduce the appearance of the stuff. When you think about it, it’s very strange that our brains have been wired and brain-washed so much that we see this texture and immediately think its bad, ugly, something that should be hidden or fixed. Or at least we do when we see it on ourselves. Who made the call on that initially I wonder? And why did we listen?
I guess today as I write this, and on that day when I wore these shorts I was just completely sick of and done with this notion. I wanted to rebel against the toxic things have been ingrained, and continue to be today, perhaps even more velocity and repetition. I detest the concept of the ‘holiday bod’ and being ‘beach ready’. God dammit we are ALL worthy of being on a beach, in as little or as many clothes as WE want, on any day. Not just after 9 weeks of a new fitness regime, after a month long detox, or simply when we fit someone elses beauty ideals.
But also we have the choice to decide whether we want to wear clothes that we have decided is more ‘flattering’ for us. We have the options and right to cover the bits that make us feel less confident – even with the awareness that we may only feel less confident because of the messages that are being transmitted by others. We can also use products and treatments in an attempt to change that thing/area if we want, it doesn’t have to mean that we aren’t feminists, or that we aren’t fighting against the damaging culture that is making healthy body image/confidence such a hard thing for many of us to achieve.
I may well body brush and try creams that reduce the appearance of the bumps. More often than not I won’t wear those itty bitty shorts, and will choose to cover the areas I like a bit less with clothes that are longer in length, more covered up, or draw attention to areas I like more. I might use fake tan because it seems to make ‘it’ look less obvious. I may more often than not choose the image where it’s less obivous for my Instagram feed. It’s also no coincidence that many of the shots in this blog post don’t show the back view either. To be transparant and so I don’t completely conflict with the overall tone of this post, let me remind you of the fact that my holiday tan is making the cellulite less obvious in these images, it’s also much more notiecable when I’m sitting down or when I’m moving with pace (which is rare to be fair), and lighting and angles will be impacting how visible it is.
But please do know that I will always remind you that I have it and that it’s totally normal to have it. I will make sure you not that it doesn’t stop you/me from being attractive. That while I will always notice it and not be best pleased with how much I have, I know it’s not a major or important part of the total human I am. It may be a small part of my thoughts on a given day, and I might make some beauty/style decisions based on it’s presence, but none of those will be a major, important part of my day/life.
It’s okay for us to want to look nice, to enjoy fashion and make up, and care about how we look. Please don’t assume that it automatically means its the most important thing to us, or that we’ve completely lost perceptive. I may wish I didn’t have it, but within the hierachy in my heart, soul and mind, I definitely don’t prioritise the look of my legs over what I can achieve in relation to my work and skills, and what I can offer the people in my life as a friend, partner or colleague. I know writing a whole article focusing on cellulite might somewhat negate my argument that it isn’t important, but please just see todays scrawlings as an effort to restore some balance. Think of the stylish famous men who top best dressed polls for instance, I see no one tell them that they’ve got their priorities wrong when they wear wear clothes that make them feel cool/confident and clearly put a lot of effort in to their appearance. Many of them are saying and doing important things – John Legend comes to mind. We can do that too, and we are…everyday single day whilst fighting to remind you that this is the case.
Rant over. Cellulite well and truly still here.
P.S Go follow the wonderful Jameela Jamil’s ‘I weigh’ movement. She says and does everything Ive been trying to get across during my entire YouTube/Blogging career, but far more succinctly and with an ability to reach much further than I ever could. Also Liv Purvis’ new Instagram account – The Insecure Girl’s Club – which I am confident will do some great things also, and finally my beautiful friend @lingeriemama who is fiercly honest about her body and inspires me with her posts.
Electric West Tee
Very old Primark Boots
Rayban sunglasses (gifted)