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2 July 2018

on confidence and giving less of a f*ck

i've said this a few times to friends so far this summer, but i do honestly think i haven't complained nearly as much about the heat this year than the previous summers, and i can can really only attribute this to one thing: i've given up caring about my insecurities in order to stay cool. don't get me wrong, that's not to say i've grown any more confident or comfortable in my own skin, no no, but i do think there is a point you can get to where you just think: fuck it, i'm going to wear it anyway.

now, i am a massive ally of the body positive movement, but that's other people's business. i've lived with body dysmorphia disorder for the best part of my life, so there are very few days where i think that i look anything this side of "okay i guess", and my overwhelming discomfort in my own body is at an all time high in the warm weather, when i can't layer up and cover up all my insecurities. in recent years i've approached summer as a short-term annoyance, but an opportunity to ditch the tights and wear maxi skirts and dresses until the autumn came 'round and the tights could be replaced. the last few years though, have been a little different, for a few reasons:

i'm the heaviest i've ever been. since i started taking my anti-anxiety meds almost two years ago, i have gained a fair amount of weight in relation to that, and i just can't seem to shift it - even through regular exercise. my body has changed shape, but until recently, i'd been trying to squish myself into the same clothes, and the same sizes, and feeling a little like christmas ham. there's nothing less comfortable than clothes that are ill-fitting, cutting into parts of your body, making standing or sitting, or just breathing a little uncomfortable. so this year i bit the bullet and bought a few new pieces in the next size up. and what's actually helped to make me feel okay about that (it's only a number, after all!), is that.. well, the size up is too big. but, too big is better than too small - especially in the summer, because that just means more room for the air to circulate, right?

another wonderful side effect i am struck by more so than normal in the summer, is that i'm always hot. not just, like, "i don't need a jacket" hot, but like, "i am sweating like an animal at work" hot. thankfully, i'm not smelly, so i manage to keep that problem at bay, but i have to wear natural fabric that breathes more than ever before to keep the sweat to a minimum. tees are my new favourite staple, to be worn with just about anything; midi skirts, culottes, strappy dresses - anything. it's an added layer, sure, but it ultimately keeps me cooler and fresher in the long run. and, i have to wear my hair up. my hair is thick and heavy, and wearing it down leads to sweat pouring out of my head at a rate of knots. it's so very noticeable, and makes me feel even more insecure than ever - hair up solves that, despite the fact it's way less fun (or colourful) up.

another little saviour keeping me fresh, is this wonderful canned god-send called smoov/all*. it was sent to me last week and i tested it over the weekend when the warmth was at an all time high, and i am absolutely stunned to report that with two sprays - 30 seconds before leaving the house, i was completely chafe-free for the whole weekend. there is literally nothing worse than getting in after a fun-filled day in the sun to find your inner thighs and under arms are friction-burned to a point of rash, because of chub rub. i've tried everything: talc, deodorant stick, hair spray - everything, and this is honestly the best result i've had from wearing a skirt and walking all day in the sun. knowing i can comfortably wear a skirt without hideous bike shorts or cut-up tights underneath to stop the rub but add to the overheating, is definitely one less thing to worry about! the can is small and lightweight and easily fits in a handbag for on-the-go top-ups. i didn't need to, in the 6-hour stint on saturday, but it made me feel so satisfied knowing it was there if i ever needed it.

one thing i will not give up, no matter my mental state, is wearing colour. colour is how i express myself, how i stand out from the crowd, and how i manage to stay different in a very competitive world. because i wear so much colour it is often assumed that i'm confident. well, i'm not - not always, anyway. i'm confident in myself, sure. as in, i know my mind and i know my heart, and i have nothing but conviction in all i do. but body confidence is definitely something i probably always will struggle with. one thing i definitely do know to be true, though, is that no matter how much weight i've gained, i will always present one colourful personality - you can count on that!

i don't know if it's an age thing or not, but i've definitely turned a corner in regards to dressing for comfort and not necessarily for perceived confidence. perhaps the two go hand in hand, and once you are comfortable in your clothes, you can then be confident in your body, your skin, and whatever else you're struggling with. there is definitely power in dressing, and for me, lately, it's become more apparent to me that being cool, calm, and collected is far more satisfying that looking cute and feeling shit. what say you; what are your tricks to staying cool in this weather?

*this post contains a gifted product, but all opinions are mine.