Is it weird that sometimes I try to think back to the first time I started to feel conscious about my body? I think back to those times when I stood side-on in the mirror, holding my chin up higher to elongate my features, sucking in my cheeks to look thinner in the face. How I would hold my hands around my waist clenching as tight as I could, décolletage protruding. Shit, I still do this now.
We used to blame the traditional media for promoting terrible self image, putting size-0 models on the runway, and models with tiny waists and big boobs on our magazine covers, but, the truth is, this isn’t the issue. It starts a lot younger than that, and somehow along the way we become reprogrammed to question our bodies.
We begin to compare ourselves to others in our friendship groups, or to the Mileys and Kardashians of the world, and we begin to lose sight of what is really important when we talk about body image, which is health and self confidence.
I think I only really fell in love with my body at 25. Prior to that I had a love-hate relationship with not only my body, but my life in general.
I had always struggled growing up with food. Coming from a household with a mother who suffered from Bulimia, it definitely imprinted on me and the way I saw food. Mum’s fleeting comments of “Don’t eat that, you’ll end up fat”, or the fact she barely ever cooked a meal impacted on me greatly while I was finishing my HSC.
By the time I had finished Year 11 I was 39 kgs. My dad tried everything to get me well. We attended numerous doctor’s appointments where I would have to weigh in and read over my food diary for the week.
I had to write everyday what I had eaten so they could track my progress, or lack there of, they would check my blood pressure, listen to my heart and tell me over and over the long term effects that not eating would have on my body.
I was starving myself to death but I didn’t know how to stop. For a year I lied about food, I would sit at the table and be force fed only to bring it all up as soon as I was excused. I would chew ice to supress my hunger and find joy in the fact that I could see the outlines of my ribs through my singlets.
My period stopped and I became constantly agitated. No matter how many people I had around me telling me I was beautiful, I felt ugly inside. The only way I felt good was when strangers told me I looked too skinny. I actually took it as a compliment, because I was consumed by the disease and I didn’t know how to get better.
I was lucky that I had met a girl through my modelling agency called Misty. She was a little older than me and she was tiny. When I looked at her I thought, “Wow, you are too thin”, even though I was shrinking away at a rapid rate. But that’s the thing about anorexia, I didn’t see what everyone else saw. To me, I didn’t look sick, I was just me.
One day she stripped me down to a singlet and underwear and made me stand in front of the mirror. She stood behind me and I could see the outline of her arms, waist and legs behind my gaunt body – this is when I realised how sick I was. Though Misty and I haven’t stayed in contact, I am well aware that this exercise saved my life.
It was a long battle to get myself well. My stomach had shrunk so much that eating was not only nauseating, but painful too. I had a long journey ahead, to not only get my body better but my mind as well.
At 25 I decided to get breast augmentation. It was a huge decision for me. Did I want to make more obvious the one thing I had hated when I was a teen? How would I feel if my body and breasts became the topic of conversation? I decided that I deserved it. I decided that if I could fix something that the anorexia had taken from me then I should do it.
It wasn’t until I stepped in to the Big Brother house that all my insecurities about my body come flooding back. When I was evicted the one thing trolls and haters online talked about were my breasts. I had become the boob girl.
NW put an article in their magazine with images of my side boob, I was heckled on the street about wearing a bra, Daily Mail published photos of me on the beach with negative comments about my breasts and body, and the online haters went to town on my “saggy breasts”.
I think the hardest thing, though, was when my dress broke at a film premiere and my massive side boob was printed all over Daily Mail, Sydney Confidential and News.com.au. I was mortified when the trolling started. Women from all walks of life weighed in, writing the most awful things about me online, mostly on Facebook.
Did it impact me? Yes. I can’t lie. I hid myself in my house for days and worked through how I was feeling, and when I was ready I sat in front of the camera and spoke about the impact the comments had on me. I posted this on my YouTube and the feedback, love and support was overwhelming.
For every hater that had written terrible, untrue things about me in the press, there were numerous females who reached out and told me about their stories regarding bullying and poor body image. They showered me with love and understanding and urged me to stay strong and hold my head high.
It was these people and the love of my boyfriend, friends and family that got me through my darkest moment since leaving the Big Brother house.
The point of this blog and the point of sharing my story is to let you know that you are not alone. The point is that we as women should share our experiences and lift each other up, instead of puling each other down. We are mothers, daughters and sisters – we are the future of this world.
Compassion and caring is what should be inbuilt and imprinted on us from an early age. Love for ourselves and the world around us should be applauded and we should promote the love instead of jumping on board with hate. There is already enough of that in the world.
Love your body, love your friends, travel, eat what you like and walk it off later. These are the joys of life.
Lots of love to you all. Lisa x