Mummy bodies. Or, female bodies in general. Or, perhaps, all bodies in general? What I’m getting at, is that few of us are comfortable showing them.
My family and I discovered Arundel lido last weekend, after much googling on my part to find a decent open-air pool for my girls to swim in. They’ve had very little experience of this, given the UK weather and the depth of Pompey’s splash puddles, whereas my husband and I have myriad memories of Hilsea lido, in all of its fading art deco glory, back in the 1970s and ‘80s.
It was with this nostalgia in mind, the kind where you remember with startling clarity the sensation of a sun-whispered breeze on damp skin, the warmth and slip of mosaic tiles beneath summer feet, and the sheer joy of an open-aired dip, that we set off to West Sussex. There is something about limbs begin encased and suspended in the silk wrap of water, whilst your face is free in the blissful, breezy open, that is simply a little bit magical to me.
Fortunately, we were not disappointed. Arundel lido is a gem, set under the sublime shadow of the castle and, better still, heated. The day was glorious and filled with new experiences for our girls.
Obviously, given the swimming nature of the day, we were all sporting our splashing attire. Frankly, it was refreshing to see so many women completely at ease with themselves and their bodies. Or, at least, looking at ease.
This can be tough. It’s difficult to feel comfortable strutting about nearly naked, whether you’ve had babies or not. But having seen umpteen bodies, some that had babies and some that had not, but all of which bore a striking resemblance to mine, I did begin to wonder about the ridiculous effect that the media has upon our expectations.
Every image in the press is one of women with smooth thighs, and I guarantee that every caption on the Daily Mail gossip column today will begin with something along the lines of “Jennifer BARES her lithe legs a week after having baby Chardonnay,” or, “Megan works her HOT ABS on beach break in Malibu,” where the reality, for most of us, is less uppercase and more “Verity gets her cellulite out in Arundel and looks normal, except for her myxomatosis chlorinated eyeballs”.
There was only one woman I saw with abs and no cellulite under her bum or on her thighs. ONE. She looked great, but so did those with the same cottage-cheese-cum-stilton thighs as mine, or those with huge boobs, and those with zero boobs. Some mums had bikinis on and all bar the previous exception had loose chicken skin on their stomachs and c-section shelves. The dads, minus the birthing tummies but plus the moobs, were all similar. Yet we have been utterly brainwashed into thinking that if we dare to bare our untoned beach bods, then the second we remove a lumpy cankle from our shroud on the beach, teems of lithe and athletic, similarly aged, folk will begin pointing and screaming in the manner of Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Body-Snatchers.
Well, I am here to tell you that lumpy and soft is human. This is the norm ladies. WIBBLE is the norm. So, hit this summer with pride, wobble your way towards September, and believe that you are the norm, not the exception.
Having been on Facebook in the wake of Muhammed Ali’s death, it’s astounding to see how many people posted various Ali quotes from across the years. This doesn’t astound me because they’re of no interest – the man was poignant, profound, and, at times, poetic – but because Ali was Muslim.
This isn’t the reason behind my surprise either. I couldn’t care less if Ali had been a champion of synchronised swimming or a member of the Monster Raving Loony Party. However, the people posting his words are often those who also post anti-Muslim rants and general bigoted nonsense.
I wonder how many of those people realise that the man behind these beautiful quotations was himself a Muslim, thereby unintentionally highlighting what uneducated wallies this mob really are.
Chick-Chick, Chick-Chick, Chicken…
My husband and I keep chickens and have done for years. The latest additions came from his ‘living egg’ experience at school, whereby his students kept four of the little hatched chicks, and we, the rest.
However, last week someone got into my husband’s playground, broke the lock on the chicken run, and either let one of them go or removed one.
Either way the chicken was, amazingly, discovered trotting down Fratton Road on Bank Holiday Monday. She was returned to her buddies, thank goodness, because the children, having watched the feathery poppets hatch and cared for them ever since, would have been devastated had harm come to them.
Something to remember before breaking into and wreaking damage in an infant school, perhaps.
First published in the Portsmouth News, Saturday 11th June 2016
Image courtesy of http://www.thestar.com