• Alex Bovell

"Because without the right shade of lipstick I am not enough"

I'm along for this journey just as much as the next person and, confession, yes I still find myself Idolising thin. Through Anorexia Nervosa recovery I haven't simply woken one day, eliminating 1000's of expectations & ideas I've created. Fuck No. However, I work bloody hard at silencing that horrible voice in my mind. But the thoughts creep back at times. When I'm down, when I lack confidence, when I feel inadequate or when I'm feeling lost, the thoughts creep back. There's days I wake, staring in the mirror, unhappy with the figure looking back at me, because I wish I looked a little bit more.... thin, beautiful, natural blah fucking blah. There's a subconscious voice telling me that if I were thin, everything will be okay.

It's the same old story we're ALL told daily by the things we don't even realise. Research estimates we take in between 4000 - 10,000 advertising messages DAILY. It's in the media when they only show perfectly photoshopped women in their ads, in the tv shows/movies with the main character a caucasian, blonde, tanned, thin girl who gets the guy, in the health industry where messages state weight loss simply = health, shown through mannequins at retail stores & many more! We learn through the comments of others who revel in your recent 'weight loss' asking what's your secret? When in reality you've been stressed as fuck & barely coping! These messages create 1 ideal type of woman. Yet, you only have to walk into a cafe & realise that's such a small minority of women & our bodies are extremely diverse. These messages tell us WE'RE NOT ENOUGH, AS WE ARE. We NEED what they have for us. Maybe it's a slimming shake, diet pills, a fat-burning supplement, meal plan, booty burner honestly I could go on, the point is WE DON'T NEED THESE, & we don't need to improve our appearance for societies approval.

I have never, and I bet you haven't either, considered yourself "good enough".

In school I worked my ass off to receive 75% on exams but should've got in the 90%.

I'm the person who's relatively fit and active, but not fit enough.

I'm the yoga instructor who feels like a hypocrite because I cannot do specific arm balances.

I'm the Nutritionist who doesn't know enough and should be more of an example to others.

I constantly feel like the more I achieve the more pressure I place on myself and when all of this turns to shit, I feel my mind drifting into the idea that losing weight is the answer to all of these problems.

I read a poem from Stefanie Preissner, which truly tugged at my heart strings and perfectly sums up how I feel.

"Am I doing it right? Am I being a good girl? Am I staying in my lane on the highways of the world? We are socialised and raised to be good and compliant Subliminal messaging to soften us, so we don’t get defiant. Subliminal women will learn to be Polite and quiet with a flare for maternity From the very first doll they place in a pram To knowing what garnishes go well with spring lamb She can parallel park She can cook a rare steak She takes her holidays during midterm break She has a sixth sense for when something is wrong She’ll remember her in-laws’ birthdays and look good in a thong. She’ll be a loyal loving friend who has learnt to share She’ll have a perfect waist-hip ratio and silky soft hair These subliminal messages filling me killing me Coming at me from all sides and silently willing me To believe I’ll be better if I invest in their stuff Cause without the right shade of lipstick I am not enough Without a pout shaded “crimson cherry pop red” I am not worthy of love is what’s being said If I can’t climb up a cliff face overlooking the sea Or do couch to 5k effortlessly If I can’t resist chocolate or get rid of fat If I give in to wrinkles, if I’m not a doormat If I can’t run in a sports bra or spin on a bike Or go for a predawn meditative hike All while I bleed excessively and am in pain from the movement I’m not a good enough woman and there’s room for improvement. Subliminal women are curated from birth Like seeds harvested from their mothers and buried in earth And the soil around is fertilised, augmented With impossible standards to drive us demented."

- Stefanie Preissner