I’ve spent most of this week wearing vest tops.
Whilst that might sound OK to you, to me, this is a BIG FUCKING DEAL.
Of all the bits of my body, one of the worst relationships I’ve ever had with a body part has been with my upper arms. Call em bingo wings, call them fatceps, I’ve struggled with them. As I’ve been much bigger than I am right now, and much smaller, they’re wobbly, jiggly things, that bear stretch marks, saggy skin and that I’ve often considered hacking at just to make them seem a little less unattractive.
My family tend to have big upper arms. Always have. One of my most prominent memories is sitting on the sofa next to my mum, my arms wrapped around one of hers, my head on the upper part of her arm – me half dozing, half watching a film or television programme. We all did it, and she’d get annoyed after a bit, shake us off, and slowly we’d let our heads slide back into position, resting on that soft skin. Arms are comforting, home, belonging.
Now I’m an adult, I realise just how fucking annoying that would be. Sorry mum.
As for my own, I’ve hated them. Covered them up. Cardigans, sheer tops, jackets, and god bless em, shrugs. They’ve kept my shoulders from the sun, and my pudgy arms from my judgy gaze. Covering up in summer can be a killer. I’ve sweltered in jackets too afraid to take them off in case people see my arms. Arms swathed in fabric to hide them away, me sweltering, hating my arms, hating the heat, hating myself.
This year, something has changed. Maybe it’s because Manchester has been so stupidly hot. Maybe it’s because I’ve just returned from a trip where it was too warm for me to care – my cover up rules don’t seem to apply when I’m on holiday for some reason. Maybe because I’m not likely to see anyone I know there, wherever there may be. Or maybe I’ve just grown up a little bit.
But I’m not hiding them any more. I’m letting them get freckled and tanned. I’m letting them jiggle about in the breeze. Slapping them with blobs of sun lotion to stop them burning as they’re simply not used to being seen in daylight.
I’m not saying I love them. Not yet anyway. But I don’t hate them anymore. I don’t hate them for not being beautifully toned, or tan. I don’t hate them for being what they are, soft, a bit wobbly, strength hidden by squidge.
I’ll take that.
Whatever you need to wear to be comfortable in the sun, wear it. Fuck what anyone thinks about it.
And that includes that judgy voice in your head.