Let's get real.

reading time: 4 min

There's something I want to talk to you about. If you've been a reader of my blog for a little longer, you'll know that I don't just upload vegan recipes and DIY tutorials, but I also address more serious, vulnerable topics that are near and dear to me, such as dealing with failure, eating disorders, big boobs and being scared. I'm a big fan of being honest and open about any emotions and taboos.

Today I want to talk about body image and self love. I'm not a big fan of hashtags, but in this case the hashtag #ImPerfect seems to be more than appropriate for the message of this blog post.

First, let's talk about the phenomena of "public persona". It is no secret that people present themselves online the way they want to. The control over published material by editing, photo shopping, contextualizing etc., is immense. Every image and every sentence that is published on online platforms such as blogs, Facebook or Instagram is a concious decision (or at least, it should be).

I definitely wouldn't call myself a public figure, but I do manage a public blog and try to maintain a certain image of myself. The pictures I upload of myself are only those where I think I look acceptable, or what I think you expect from a 25 year old vegan female (which is ridiculous). The words I choose are just that: chosen. Selected. Just like some of the products and cutlery/decoration I use in my posts were bought explicitly and solely for my blog. This manipulative control over media content is what creates a certain image of "perfection". In other words, it's often staged and boring.

Now, I don't want to give you the impression that the content on my blog is "fake" in any way – but I do want to remind you that neither I nor you nor the others out there are perfect, in spite of what it may seem like. 

My fitness? Not perfect. 
My diet? Not perfect. 
My relationship? Not perfect. 
My self love? Far from perfect. 

Looking at others and perceiving them as flawless and effortless can make you feel small and incapable, and I have to admit that this happens to me, too, when looking at other people – fitter people, more beautiful people – on the internet. It's easy to idealise people when you only see the finished product, and we easily forget the work and process behind that finished product, aka the picture. We forget that those seemingly perfect people, too, present themselves from the most flattering angle and in the best light. 

Which is why I am showing myself in a way today that I wouldn't normally do on public because I would feel embarrassed to not conform to the fitness standards. I have boobs, I have hips, my hair is a mess, my nose is too big, my feet too wide, and my face isn't slim either. But in comparison to what? I'm able to recognize the judgemental voice in my head that used to turn these self-conscious observations into reasons to beat myself up, but luckily I don't care enough any more, and I've learned to treat my body with love even though it's not perfect.

While veganism has helped me a lot to have a peaceful and loving relationship with my body on most days, I feel like being vegan makes the entire issue of public persona and body image even more difficult.

Why? With vegan internet "celebrities" like Tess Begg, Bonny Rebecca, Niomi Smart, Sarah Lemkus, Kristen Leo, Sweet Potato Soul, Anna Laura, Jolie Janine and Jenny Mustard (which I all love and adore but that all seem to look like models) I felt pressured to look just as slim, athletic and pretty as they do. I feel like there is this image of what vegans look like (i.e. slim, toned and tanned) that makes it hard to have just a "normal" body shape with curves and chubby cheeks, saggy boobs, cellulite and little tummy rolls.

Veganism isn't about appearance, it's about health and it's about the animals. Yes, you might lose weight when transitioning to a vegan diet (or you might gain weight if that's what your body needs!), but we're not all going to look the same. We're not all going to be slim and toned like fresh out of a fitness magazine. And that is okay.

Most days I'm happy with that "not ridiculously toned" and soft, feminine body. I've come to embrace that softness of mine, both internally and externally, and I know that I don't need to have that six pack or those firm butt cheeks to be happy. But there are still days that I'm very insecure about my outer appearance, and where I do feel ugly and shapeless and like a piece of dough.

There is this poster that you can purchase at a store called junique that says:
That poster pretty much sums up the essence of this blog post. Do not compare yourself to anyone, not even to yourself! The only thing that matters is how you feel.

Do you feel comfortable in your body?
Can you look in the mirror and smile instead of scowl at yourself?
Can you wear a bikini without thinking about your tummy or your thighs?
Do other social media sites inspire you or do they depress you?
If you treated your body like your best friend from now on, what would you do differently?

Perfect people aren't real, and real people aren't perfect. There's always more to the picture. Keep that in mind.

With love, Maisy

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On Boobs