COURTENAY EXPLORES BODY IMAGE AND MEMORIES

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So you know when you go on holidays and you think back to that time in your life… You should remember all the fun you had right? You should remember who you were with, what you ate, what you saw, the feelings you felt. The same really goes for any aspect in life too, you look back on an event that was important to you and remember how it made you feel. A wedding, a birthday, an anniversary, a new job, a night out with friends, a ball, anything. Memories, in general, should be looked back on in experience, feelings, tastes, smells. But I have come to realise I am forming a bad habit of looking back on memories and remembering how I looked physically (read: what I weighed), before how I felt emotionally.

Now that sounds depressing, doesn’t it? It is! I can tell you that much, from the deepest, darkest part of my emotions, it’s truly horrible.

When I look back on my trip to Thailand I first think “geez, who’d I think I was, wearing a bikini?”

Looking back on attending a ball in Darwin I think “shouldn’t have put those photos on Facebook, I was not looking good.” 

When I think about my European vacay I think “never go on a cruise again, look how fat it made you.” 

Then when I know I looked better, at a thinner weight, I look back on memories and think “why aren’t I as skinny now as I was then.”

Path.Et.Ic.

I don’t know anyone who would admit to this feeling, because it’s self obsessed and, frankly, ridiculous. But the thing is I don’t think I’m the only one whose self esteem mocks their memories. It’s like a nudging little voice in the back of my head: nah nah nah nah nah, you were fat there! See how fat you were! Why were you enjoying yourself? You’re too fat to enjoy yourself! 

I’ve never been super comfortable in my own skin. From an early age I was the annoying 13 year old throwing around the “I’m so fat! You’re so skinny! I want to be like you! Why are you so skinny and I’m so fat!” Me in all my 50kg of fat pissing off everyone around me. Then something happened to my generation where we had the normal teenage, female, self esteem issues, with the added bonus of growing up on the internet! It’s never been easier to imagine a better body, a better face, smoother skin, longer hair! We can have it all! We just need to pay the price of dieting, working out like personal trainers, and buying all the latest and greatest accessories to flaunt the person we were “meant to be.”*

My self esteem mocks my memories because I allow it to. I know I don’t look at my friends and think “gee what a fun memory they are sharing, it’s a shame they’re so chubby” yet I think they’re thinking that about me. So it’s a growing thing, I suppose, learning to live in the skin you’re in at that moment.

We all think everyone cares about us so damn much, and I think that’s why I care so much about what I look like photos. They don’t. Sorry if that’s a painful newsflash, but it’s about time we stop convincing ourselves the people on our Facebooks and Instagrams are hanging off our very lives to validate their own. And if they are then frankly that’s a problem they need to work on. Also if you know you do it, time to stop.

We are the internet generation and we are addicted to sharing. We share our lives and stories and most importantly we share our photos. The photos that connect us to the amazing experiences and memories. The photos that our parents and grandparents would have taken and had developed, looked at once then popped them in a box up the back of the closet and only pulled them out once in a blue moon. Their memories are felt.

My memories are seen, and my memories are playing into the hands of my fragile body image. Does this ever happen to you?

PS. This whole thing made me realise I really gotta turn off Facebook memories. Mark Zuckerberg, you cruel billionaire.

*when really the person you’re meant to be is kind, inspired, generous, motivated, etc.

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Carly Portch