Outfit | Age is just a number & a PSA

Hiya pickles!

I have an outfit and a bit of a lightbulb moment about ageing today. ;) I titled this post age is just a number after jokingly saying the 28 on this t-shirt is my age. Ha, nope. The public service announcement (lulz!) is how I feel about ageing. That's at the end of the post.

I'm in those bloody harem pants again. Someone rip them off my body! They're just so damn comfortable. I've washed them now. ;)

This t-shirt is really unusual. The 28 looks like it's embroidered, but it's actually printed.

I'm wearing:
T shirt, Yours Clothing, given to me by a Facebook friend
Harem pants, past season Simply Be similar here
Shoes, Everything 5 Pounds
Hair tikka past season ASOS similar here

I started working on my self image a few years ago. I chose to start loving myself, despite society as a whole inferring that fat people are second class citizens. I was sick of dieting and sick of beating myself up. That work is still ongoing and I've also started questioning other things I feel about myself. I've started examining the thoughts in my head and working out if they're actually MY thoughts, or if they're there because I've listened to a lifetime of oppressive bullshit.

There's a big ol' world out there, and much of it is run in favour of men. Quick disclaimer - I'm a feminist, and as a whole I'm not the biggest fan of men. That's bold, I know, but I'm talking about the acts of men collectively - murder, rape, warfare, yadda yadda. Statistically speaking, men are the kings of violent crime. On an INDIVIDUAL basis I love many men. My husband is a great man, so is my dad, my brother, my step dad. I have many great male friends and have worked predominantly amongst men over the years without shanking any of them. ;) That said, I would have to have had a blindfold on my entire life not to realise there are things which are easier for men than they are for women - for example, fat men get less abuse than fat women overall (although any kind of appearance based shaming is foul.) Men are called distinguished as they go grey and women are often called 'tired' and other unflattering terms. Why is this?

Well, different kinds of bigotry intersect - ageism, misogyny etc. Some men feel entitled to a woman who looks a certain way, but not just that. Some feel entitled that ALL women should look the way they want them to look. Some men get sad in the boner area if women don't diet, dye their greying hair, shave themselves as bald as a billiard ball all over, hack themselves up with plastic surgery to look younger and a zillion other things. If you've never in your life been told 'Ugh, I wouldn't shag you!' you're a rare and lucky woman. God forbid a woman undertakes ANY action without thinking about all the boners she might make sad by not simultaneously having the looks EVERY man might want, as arbitrary as that is.

This is why some men get butt hurt and give tattooed or pierced women a hard time. 'Oh, you've ruined yourself!' This is why some men take it as a personal affront if a woman has very short hair or doesn't shave, or any other thing they consider 'unfeminine', like we OWE them something. This is why some men are effing vile to fat women for daring not to consider their poor lonely boners. This is why older women are disrespected, ignored and expected to fade to beige and disappear once they're no longer considered shagable. Everything is about the cocks. It's entitlement on a huge and disgusting scale, and that entitlement controls the way women are referred to and thought of.

After all, who owns the media? A few grossly wealthy old white buggers, who use their privilege to tell other men how to treat women (and consequently, how women treat each other.) The insistence that women focus all of their efforts on dieting (staying weak and pliable, literally too hungry to focus on all the great things they COULD be doing) or else they're mocked and viciously hounded. We take our cues from the way we refer to famous women in the media, and it's brutal. The suggestion is that a woman's worth hinges COMPLETELY upon how young and shagable she looks, and that growing old is to be avoided at all costs. The media strips away our dignity, and business sells it back to us. Anti ageing creams, diet programs, plastic surgery, makeup, clothing. Most - if not all of us - play the game to some extent.

I decided I didn't want to give that power to anyone. I CHOOSE IF I'M BEAUTIFUL. Take the power back. Believe you're beautiful, and you will be.

I'm learning to love my grey hair and eye bags because they're testament to 41 years of living, loving and learning. No amount of money in the world would take me back to my youth where I was unsure of myself AND the world around me. I love me now, including all the good parts and all my faults. They make me ME. I've gone from hating my grey hairs to thinking 'I might leave my Morticia streaks (at my temples) alone next time I do my henna.' That's a big change in how I feel about them.

I'm seeing a lot of changes in my face this year - more wrinkles, slight crepiness, deepening eye bags. It made me reticent to show my face on my blog in close up. Why? Because I'm EXPECTED to feel shitty about my ageing face, and I did. How screwed up is that?! This led to me this thought:

If the world didn't tell you you had to hate yourself, would you?

I don't think I would. This shit is insidious - I've been on the self love train (not THAT self love) for over three years and I'm still realising how brainwashed I am. Next time you catch yourself having a bad thought about yourself, ask yourself 'Whose opinion IS that?!' and if you find it's been planted there by a lifetime of sexist bollocks from the media and Neanderthal men worrying about their precious boners, replace it with a kinder thought. And repeat, until your thoughts are completely your own. And encourage all the women in your life to do the same. Next time you catch someone you love putting herself down, nip it in the bud, especially if they're children. Children growing up with eating disorders break my bloody heart. Tell them something about them you admire. Looks neutral comments are always a winner. I tell my 9 year old niece that yes she's pretty, but she's also clever and kind and strong and funny. She's got her head screwed on right because no one acts as if her looks are the best thing about her.

Rather than harking back to my youth and the media's obsession with women 'losing' their looks as they age, I'm looking forward to the changes more years will bring, even though each phase will take some adjusting to. Beauty isn't dependent on age, or size, or any other arbitrary measurement. We are constantly in a state of flux. We aren't statues, our faces and bodies will change over time and it's perfectly natural.

Beauty is knowing yourself, owning what you are and not giving a stuff what anyone thinks of you. The media does not define your worth. Other people do not define your worth. It's within you. Claim it.

What say ye on all matters self worth? If you enjoyed this post, feel free to give it a share.

Thanks for reading,
Leah xoxo

P.S. First one to comment 'Not all men' on this post gets a kick right up the perineum.

The top was gifted to me by a Facebook friend and the trousers and shoes were bought by me.

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