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Recent posts

Twitter 10
Love's Language's Lost

Places to shop and visit

My Top 10 Toys - Women
My Top 10 Toys - Men
My Top 10 Toys - Couples
Fleshlight UK
Durex's Ora!

Monday, January 01, 2018


It's the 14th anniversary of this blog, so here's my annual navel-gazing post marking the day.

I don’t believe in new year’s resolutions. People set themselves all kinds of unrealistic challenges beginning January 1st, mostly about lifestyles or diets or exercise, and so little of this is sustainable or achievable (or even, a good thing to do…). I also don’t partake in the annual ‘This is what I am grateful for’ lists that many seem keen to share. Forgive me, I just find them pretentious and performative. Say private thank yous to the people that matter, not announce your general love of the world on social media… Anyway, maybe I’m just grouchy about it because I’m so crap. At life, I mean. I’m stuck in a place I don’t want to be, both figuratively and metaphorically, and I feel like I’ve not managed to move on in ways that make me happy, or even content. Depression, and its close friend anxiety, are daily uninvited gatecrashers to the party that is my mind; whilst I generally do a good job in hiding my suffering in public, privately I’m struggling with it, and these impact my ability to get stuff done. This is nothing unique to just me, I know.

I contine to run to help with mental health stuff, though 2017 was filled with illness and multiple health issues, and these impacted my ability to keep up regular training, or even just gentle running for the joy of it. I feel out of shape, and unfit, and my pace is back to being incredibly (and frustratingly) slow, and this isn't really helping ease my black cloud. But still I run, and luckily I have good muscle memory and structure in my legs, so whilst my lungs aren’t yet working at full capacity, my thighs are able to power me on. I’m doing my first ever half-marathon in March (you can sponsor me here, if you wish - all proceeds go to Brook, the young people’s sexual health charity), and I’m genuinely terrified about that, but I will put one foot in front of the other and hope for the best…

I often feel like I’m grasping for things in my life a little too late, like I’ve arrived at the tail-end of a movie and missed the main story. Or, as if I’m in the middle of a Punchdrunk immersive theatre production, and everyone else instinctively knows how to follow the action, but I’m completely lost, wandering around alone in the dark, when the cue lights have dimmed and the performers long gone, wondering where the story is and feeling lost. Ironically though, when I’ve actually been to a Punchdrunk show, I’ve taken risks I never thought I would, chased after things I would be too nervous to in the outside world, and thrown myself headfirst into creating my own narrative. I’ve been rewarded with joy I never thought possible, neverending glee of childish excitement, and feeling that my world has been enriched by art so intense it’s drawn rainbows across my heart. The greyness of my day to day life feels profound by comparison; its lack of colour almost mocks me.

But that’s not to say there isn’t light in my life, because there is, and I greatly value even the small things which give me joy; it’s just that I’d like (and need) more of them. If I extend the Punchdrunk analogy further, I guess I understand that I need to find my own cue light outside: I need to strike out and make my own rainbows happen. Be daring. Take risks. Be bold. That’s what I am telling myself right now: be bold, in everything that I do. Yesterday, I reset my daily phone alarm to say just that in its wake-up message: Be bold (and a heart emoji to remind myself to be kind). I need a reminder that it’s not one big thing that you do, but the small things daily which allow bravery - and joy - to flourish.

So I need to be bold and create more opportunities for myself, from love and sex through to my work. They say build it and they will come, and there’s a bunch of things I want to do this year, which I’m scared about, but I know I need to put them out there. If I don’t risk failure, then I’m not allowing the possibility of success either. Right?

My main objective, for 2018, is to create a lot of content, and for this, I’m launching a Patreon. Yes, I know everyone and their dog has one... The thing is, I have pieces of writing which have no home, because they don’t fit here (though some of them are about sex) and they’re not right for a national paper. And I really miss daily blogging and engaging directly with readers, and this blog’s -ahem- one-track content doesn’t really allow for me to experiment at all (and the comments are broken). I want to test out new ideas, and I’d like to offer snippets of those with people who enjoy my writing. In addition, I will shortly be setting up a regular podcast (on film, art, theatre, sex, and objectification), as well as a few other fun activities planned…. so I want to expand out from text-based things, and offer different creations to those who might be interested.

I’m soft-launching my Patreon here first (for the few people who still read blogs…), and will publish some content in the coming days prior to a proper announcement later this week. If you’ve ever enjoyed my writing, I hope you might consider being a Patron: every person subscribing will help me to create more, and in return you’ll get first-look at drafts of my projects, and also locked content not published elsewhere. I won’t be updating this blog anymore, but I will be blogging over at Patreon. So, come find me there? If you fancy it, that is - and if you don't, well, see you here this time next year. x

Sunday, January 01, 2017


It's that time again. That stupid bloody day where everyone's talking about turning over a new leaf, and how they have great plans and resolutions for the upcoming year, and it's annoyingly also the same day as this blog's origin date. Happy blog birthday to me. 13 years: blimey.

I posted something on Twitter just now, about how I feel wordless, that I have nothing to say about this anniversary, and I suppose that's not entirely true: I do have things to write about, I just don't feel they're worthy enough to be noted here - or they're too self-wallowing in pity to be shared publicly. But you know me: never one to not overshare...

I've no fascinating news about my life, either personal or professional, that I want to note here. I've had a hard year - but who hasn't? There's been tough family stuff, but that's private and I only confide in friends about that. I've had a constant black cloud threatening to hang over me - but I keep it just out of reach by running regularly, and every day I'm grateful for this giving me the strength to carry on. Running has provided a reassuring foundation on which to build myself up, so even though I've had many lost days (and weeks) to illness and injury this past year, knowing I can return to running and fitness keeps my spirit high. Mostly, anyway. Striving for personal bests - competing with myself - continues to drive me forward and some days that's all I feel I have to go on. It may not be much, but it feels like a huge accomplishment just getting out of the house on a bad day and forcing myself to run; some days that's all I am capable of.

Reading the above, it's clear I have been down quite a bit. 2016 was, I think, also a lonely year for me. I really miss the companionship of being in a loving relationship. I miss someone laughing at my stupid jokes and my terrible clumsiness. I miss playing boardgames, and watching silly telly and making meals for two, not one. I miss being at a social event as a couple; it's horrible feeling like you're some kind of social outcast because you're the sole single person there. People talk about 'couple privilege' - that couples have a societal advantage over single people - and I mostly think that's bollocks (and single person's envy), but I do think it's true that people who are coupled up forget how tough it can be, being single, when most of your friends are married and have kids. Or as in my other social circle, where everyone is polyamorous and partnered up with multiple people, what it might feel like to be to be on the outside periphery looking in. Not that nice.

I've been single a while and I have managed. It's what I do: plod on and try not to think about it. But I miss being in a relationship. I miss cuddling a lot. I miss it more than I miss sex, though thankfully my life is not entirely lacking the latter; it's just the meaning that goes with a deep loving connection is absent. I found myself agreeing with and relating to this recent piece about missing physical intimacy, even down to how I've mocked 'cuddle parties' in the past, and thought they must be for sad pathetic people. Maybe I am sad and pathetic? I don't know, I just know I'm bored of being single, and having someone who loves you caress you and stroke your hair and kiss your forehead is hugely underrated. That shit is awesome.

I'm not sure I am ready to trust someone else with my heart again, but this hesitancy must surely be holding me back. I'm a believer in putting your all into things (which is how my blog and book happened and also how I got my heart broken), so I'm sure that the only thing I can do is try to be bold, try to be strong, and push forwards in the belief that good things will come if I strive for them. I need to let go a little - because to reap rewards, you have to be willing to take risks - and I'm scared, but I have no other choice really.

So this year, I'm going to try to push past my comfort zone and pursue the things I want. I have some work I want to make happen, there is a running goal I plan to achieve, and I hope to try to maybe remove one brick from the wall of defence I've built up to protect myself and let someone else in. It seems only fitting, I guess, to end this with Rocky. 💜

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Twitter 10 

Ten years ago today, I joined Twitter.

When I signed up, on December 22nd 2006, my life was a roller coaster. It was just a few months after the Sunday Times outed me as the author of Girl with a One Track Mind, and it's fair to say I was still traumatised. I'd become mistrusting of everyone in my life (because I didn't know how the press found out my identity - I still don't) and I had hidden myself away, barely going outside. But what I still trusted were my online friendships - people I'd met through this blog - and those were connections I cherished. They'd supported me when my world had turned to shit and to this day are some of my dearest friends.

So when Meg and Troubled Diva and Diamond Geezer and Sasha got accounts and said they were trying out this new service, I did so too. As early adopters of blogs (them, more than me), it was natural to give some new tech a go and Twitter's basic question, "What are you doing?" was something that resonated with us all. As (mostly) personal bloggers, sharing insights into our daily lives, it was natural to post content that to many people seemed mundane (we didn't care: we weren't writing to impress, or to sell ourselves, or to make money); offering a brief snippet of that was appealing. And the platform itself was an interesting challenge: we were used to editing our blog posts into 300-1000 words, generally, and Twitter's limit of just 140 characters seemed fun. What better way to shape and craft our writing, than to only be able to post a few words? It offered an interesting restriction and one we all enjoyed.

But Twitter for me, back then, also offered something which I found immensely pleasurable: being able to write openly, sharing my thoughts and feelings, but only have a few people able to read what I had said. The first account I opened on Twitter, back in 2006, was locked - private to only those I had allowed to read it - and remains so to this day. The 13 people who follow me are the people I met and know from my old school blogging days. This privacy was of paramount importance to me then: my private life was in tatters, following all the media attention, and every Tom, Dick and Harry could read about my life - and all my oversharing - on this blog. Sure, I could have deleted it, and I know other bloggers have chosen to do that, for privacy reasons (or perhaps book sales...), but that felt so dishonest to me. I wasn't ashamed about my sex life, and removing all the content here - shit writing and all - seemed to me like giving up. I wanted to maintain an air of pride and confidence, even if privately I was suffering, so this blog stayed. And Twitter, for me, became the only space I could continue to voice my thoughts without feeling vulnerable and exposed to strangers.

It was kinda fun, back then. It seemed this silly geeky thing would never catch on, and us nerds who were on there were a very limited few. There were no @ replies - what you said was to all your followers: it wasn't possible to direct it to one person in particular - there was no retweet button, no hashtags, no "share this via" option. It was just posting a sentence or two out there into the internet, and no one necessarily responding.

Fast forward to March 2008 and I'm in Austin, Texas, at the annual geek fest that is SXSW. Twitter had just hit the town - you literally couldn't avoid it: all evening events were shared solely on Twitter - and everyone there was signing up in order to find out where things were taking place. 

And there you have the change. Whereas it was once about posting what you were doing, it then became about reading what was happening. It's a subtle difference, but it's important: it was an instant, direct, content-rich medium for others to consume - and later, to respond to.

I had to sign up, again, in order to connect with others in SXSW. This time I did so with a public account. Twitter's username limit prevented me from having @girlwithaonetrackmind, so @girlonetrack I became. (I kinda hate the name, but I've stuck with it.) Having a public profile on Twitter seemed like the most logical step forwards because whilst I was no longer sharing much of my personal life, I was writing and book promoting and doing telly stuff, and being able to post publicly was a benefit to me then.

And in the intervening years, between then and now, I've enjoyed it immensely. I've watched the service change and adapt and expand; I've made friendships on it, I've got work through it; I've used my reasonably-sized platform to try to help good causes and promote Sex Appeal, the comedy benefit event I run for the charity Brook. And I've of course had some lovely flirtations sliding into my DMs, too. All this has been fun.

But its changing has so many downsides – too many to list. People get abused, become the targets of attack, get harrassed and threatened. It's pretty horrid. And what makes this unique, I suppose, is the format of the medium itself: anyone can @ anyone; anyone can abuse anyone, celebrity or not. With blogs, at least with mine, you can have commenting set up so that only you can publish the comments, and you can ensure hateful stuff isn't posted. Sure, the blog author will still see that - and I can tell you it was never, ever nice receiving rape and death threats this way - but you still have the power to a) delay seeing those comments, and b) not ever giving the arseholes who wrote them the platform on which they would be published. Delete, block IP, fuck off. Done.

Not so with Twitter. I think one of the most awful things about it - which ironically is also one of its best features, and what has made it continue and expand for so many years - is its immediacy. You can tweet someone and they can see your communication instantly. Brilliant! Or not. Having hundreds (or even thousands) of people 'pile on' to you because they believe you need to be put in your place (for whatever reason) is fucking horrible. It's enough to give people anxiety and panic attacks. I know, I've been there.

I don't want this to be a post about Twitter, the company, and their failings, though arguably they have been very poor in addressing abuse, particularly of women and people of colour, and other oppressed minorities, on their platform, and they still need to do far more to challenge the awful hateful behaviour of some of their users. But I suppose I'm trying to express that I feel quite conflicted about the service and, like my friend Mike decided to recently, I have considered leaving it. I've experienced too much crap thrown at me and I find the performative, marketing, self-promoting aspect of it quite dull. It's great for breaking news - and I follow some fantastic journalists - but then it's also full of fake news being shared, and stress-inducing information overload is there every time you scroll down the timeline.

I still have my locked account, and I still enjoy the privacy that gives me, but my public one is much less enjoyable. I'm sure no one has noticed how little I now post there - and how I share almost nothing about my own personal life - and I'm sure no one would miss me if I deactivated. But, for now, I think I'll stay, because I think professionally I need to - and I also value the connections I have made over the years. 

Oh, and if you're wondering about the pic below - which was my first tweet - the answer is yes: I still leave my tax return to the last minute. I guess some things never change.

[Comments aren't working, ironically. Please @ me on Twitter if you want to respond to this post. Thanks.]

Tuesday, September 06, 2016


I'm running a 10k race this evening and am stupidly nervous - to the point of feeling like vomiting. This is not because I've haven’t done this distance before - I've run three 10k races in the last year - but because I'm so scared of failing and being disappointed. My body is shaking with nerves.

When I ran this same race a year ago, I achieved my personal best time and was very proud of my accomplishment, particularly because I’d run another 10k race eight weeks prior and managed to beat that time by over 6 minutes. So I was looking forward to running tonight’s race again, because it clearly was a good omen for me; I was determined to again beat my previous PB by repeating this race, and felt sure I would.

However, since that race last September, I've had a series of physical setbacks - fracturing my foot; ripping my calf muscle; multiple chest infections; ongoing joint issues with my hypermobility - all of which have severely impacted my training. Over the last 12 months, I’ve been practically couch-bound for weeks at a time, so running consistently has been a challenge. It's only really been in the last six weeks or so that I've felt anywhere close to the level of fitness I had this time last year, but I'm still not quite there yet.

So today I'm forced to accept that beating my PB is near on impossible. Indeed, even running at all carries some risk given my back injury (sciatica) from 13 years ago resurfaced a fortnight ago and I've had to be very careful just going about my daily activities. This means I’ve also had to accept that I probably won’t get close to my PB, or even be able to run 10k in under an hour, which disappoints me hugely.

All this is making me upset and anxious. I want to prove to myself I can get better (both in body and in mind) and I can set myself targets that I can smash. I still want to do well; I want to beat myself. I will be so upset if I don’t - even given the above physical issues. To not win tonight, to not achieve what I want to, feels like defeat; it seems like I will lose all the momentum I have built, and the pride I have earned, in what I have managed to accomplish so far.

I know I'm fighting a battle with no one other than me and my ego and I am aware it sounds stupid: I’ll run the race and just doing it is a win, right? I never thought I would be someone who (boringly) talks about PB race times, and running training, and time targets, but I’ve found something I love and which I am passionate about, and it means a huge amount to me to be able to do it well, rather than just ‘do it’

So my body’s nervous state - I feel *so* sick right now - is a response to me struggling with accepting that failure *is* an option; I don’t want it to be, I want to win, damn it. Quietly, I will admit that here’s a glimmer of hope in the back of my mind that I manage to achieve what I hope I can do tonight, but if I don’t, I hope I won’t be too hard on myself. I’m my own worst enemy, sometimes. And there’s always another race, in which to improve, I guess…

(Comments are broken; please use @girlonetrack on Twitter instead.)

Monday, August 08, 2016


Yesterday, I ran nine miles - two and a half miles further than I’d ever run. Nine miles non-stop. And I ran around Regents Park for an hour and 45 minutes wearing just a pair of shorts and my sports bra.

Me, in a sports bra. No vest. No big baggy top to hide under. With my H-cup boobs. Running with my wobbly belly jiggling about, on display to the world. Who would have thought it? Not me.

I was planning a long run yesterday, because I’m training for a couple of races next month, and it was so hot out that I decided not to wear an additional layer over my bra. ‘Fuck it. Who cares?’ I thought. ‘I don’t give a shit what people think. What’s important is whether I can run 8 miles (which was my original target) comfortably’. Inspired by runner Kelly Roberts who started up the #SportsBraSquad social media hashtag, to get women to ditch wearing additional tops when they run, I went out, in public, wearing very few clothes: something I never do. I dressed for practicality, not vanity; I dressed not worrying about how people might see me.

I imagine this shift in attitude is not unrelated to the change in how I now view my body; I am able to see it as something I like, and even enjoy, rather than something which I used to despise. I value the strength and resilience that I now have and appreciate the achievements my body is capable of. My body feels strong, which makes me feel strong; this is where my confidence to go out in a bra and shorts comes from, not thinking I look super hot.

But when I first started running regularly, back in January last year, I wanted to hide my body; actually, I just wanted to disappear. I was suffering from depression and felt like my existence on the planet was so worthless that I didn’t deserve to take up any space on it. My clothes reflected that mood. I’d put on black leggings, black thermals, a black jacket, even black running shoes, when I went for a run. I didn’t want to be seen in the winter gloom and I wanted to cover my body in the darkness I felt inside. For months, I tried to be as invisible as possible, as if by camouflaging the outside of me it would somehow disguise the pain I felt inside.

When I wrote about running and depression last summer, I was still healing; I now consider myself in active recovery - that is, I keep self-medicating by running on an almost daily basis to combat my depression, and that has kept the inside of me happy for a long time now. I can’t put my finger on when things altered for the outside of me. Along with me feeling confident enough to go running in just a bra, I’m aware how colourful I look when I run, because all my running gear (which currently consists of 90% of the clothes I wear each week, no joke) is now bright and boldly patterned.

My altered self-perception, and confidence, has brought about a shift in how I present myself. No longer do I want to hide, or cover up the shame I used to feel; now I want to be present in the world, be visible. So when I run, I don’t try to disappear anymore; I feel bold and strong and my outfit reflects that, whether that be lots of colour, or running in a sports bra.

It’s so strange to me to feel the confidence that I currently have. To not give a shit about people judging me. To look in the mirror and be proud to see the outline of muscles I have *earned*. To feel the rewards of my hard work by being able to run for almost two hours straight - and be buzzing with joy at the end of it. To run free, with just a bra, and give zero fucks. I’m not the fittest person out there and I’m definitely not the best toned, but I sure as hell am going to enjoy my body and its strengths. So if you see a woman drenched in sweat, panting away, as she pounds the pavement in her bra and brightly coloured shorts, give her a smile and nod: it may well be me.

I don't do dull, anymore.

Saturday, July 30, 2016


Today marks four years since I asked someone to marry me. It was such a huge moment in my life, possibly the most exciting and terrifying thing I have ever done.

We’d arrived in New York a few days prior. He’d never visited the city; for me, on the other hand, I called it my second home: somewhere I’d been visiting since I was a baby; my first true love. What better place to take him to, then, than the city which filled my heart with joy; I so wanted him to experience that with me.

He ‘got’ New York. He witnessed its beauty, he experienced the excitement I always talked about; he fully understood why the city’s vibrancy energised me and made me so happy. We did some magical things there: we saw New York band LCD Soundsystem’s documentary on its opening release in downtown Manhattan; we had front row seats at the The Daily Show taping where Jon Hamm was a surprise guest; we sat in a tiny theatre and watched fellow Brit comic Simon Amstell perform to a confused, but adoring, local crowd. I took him to my favourite cocktail hangouts and dive bars for Martinis, Manhattans and sake. We ate the best burgers and salt (corned) beef sandwiches, and stuffed ourselves with cheap sushi. We met with my oldest, dearest friends, and drank mimosas over lazy brunch. We wandered all over Manhattan, just soaking in the atmosphere, both of us laughing at his disbelief of how pretty everyone looked. We ran hand in hand through the most torrential downpour I have ever witnessed - puddles up to your ankles in minutes - and laughed till we were choking because we were so drenched: far too wet to sit in a restaurant. I have so many memories of that trip, so much laughter; it was a joy to be with someone I love in the city I love.

But it wasn’t all roses. I remember having a huge row and then us sitting apart in silence in Bryant Park, mutually seething with fury. I can’t recall what we argued about, but that coldness between us I’ll never forget. At the time, looking at all the seemingly happy people in the park going about their normal business, I felt so sad, and wondered if fighting like that was normal; whether other people argued with such anger that silence was the only possible way to cope. After a while, though, we both apologised and had fantastic make-up sex when we got back to our tiny rented apartment; a couple of days later, I proposed to him.

It was something I had been pondering for a while. When we booked the trip to New York, a thought occurred to me that it would be the perfect place to propose. We had talked about growing old together, starting a family, building a life. Why not get married? Seize the day.

On our final evening in the city, he finally met my closest friend, whom I’ve known my whole life and is like an older brother to me, and after some drinks, he and I walked to Brooklyn Bridge from the Promenade in Brooklyn Heights. What could possibly be more romantic than walking over Brooklyn Bridge and then asking someone to marry you, as the sun sets over Manhattan?, I excitedly thought to myself.

My heart was racing the entire walk and I was flush with anticipatory worry. He wasn’t perfect - but then neither was I. We both had flaws and baggage and things that were difficult to deal with: we’re just human. We fuck up, we behave like arseholes, we hurt people with our stupidity, tunnel vision and inability to compromise. But we also nourish and cherish and care and that’s what makes relationships possible; you have to give love to feel loved. So any momentary doubts I had paled into comparison with the love I felt for him right then. I knew it was the right thing to do: I wanted to spend my life with him.

As we approached the midpoint of the bridge, we stopped to marvel at the view, and I posed the question. “I know you don’t believe in it,” I began, which wasn’t perhaps the most romantic way to start a marriage proposal, but he’d often voiced his dislike of marriage as an institution, so I needed to accommodate that. “I know you don’t believe in it, but I’d like to spend my life with you, so would you, um, marry me?”

He was silent for a moment. As anyone on the asking end of this equation will tell you, a second’s silence seems like five minutes. Time expands, rapidly, when your heart is on the line. I don’t know how long he was quiet for, but he finally grinned, and said “Yes, of course I will!” Later, he told me that he paused to think; that he wanted to give my proposal proper thought, to explore any conflicting feelings he had, so as not to just instinctively respond, but to genuinely do so with heart and mind in sync. We kissed and then walked over the bridge to Manhattan with our feet light as clouds. It was lovely.

I’m glad I can look back at this with warmth. He’s no longer in my life in a meaningful way, but my thoughts of him are mostly fond. There is some pain there: it didn’t work out, which is sad, and today reminds me of that. I miss him - particularly the companionship we had, because we were best friends for years, and I still feel the loss of that closeness now - but I can see now that we weren’t right for each other in a relationship. Love isn’t enough if you can’t make each other happy day to day and also in the long term, though we tried our best.

I don’t regret proposing. It’s perhaps the boldest thing I’ve ever done. Opening your heart to someone that way is scary, for sure; I won’t be able to do that again in a hurry, I don’t think. But living a life without emotional risk, is, to me, not one really worth living. You have to experience pain to be able to value the flip side, which is joy; you have to put yourself out there, and face possible rejection, to be able to find someone with whom you deeply connect. Fear eats the soul, but love nourishes it. I hope to one day again find the sort of love which time won’t fade, but instead will fill it with colour. Here’s to making rainbows and enjoying sunsets with someone else in the future.

(Comments aren't working. Please @girlonetrack on Twitter instead.)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016


This body. This body tells a story; it has its own narrative, distinct from the chaotic thoughts in my head. It finds its own way, journeys separate to the me I am conscious of, and sets its own pace. No panic or anxiety for this body: it is steady, firm, unwavering.

This body is not young, nor sprightly. It doesn’t move with ease; often it creaks and strains and is ungainly. It doesn’t bounce so much as thud, but its forward motion comes with focus and clarity.

This body is not unblemished: there are age lines on my face, many grey hairs on my head, and scars, wrinkles and pock marks in too many places to mention. This body hasn’t yet seen childbirth, but it owns plenty of stretch marks and cellulite, and deep creases of skin encase the fat beneath.

This body has been sexually assaulted and violated and its youth taken advantage of, but the scars from that don’t show on the outside. It’s also had consensually lustful fingers and mouths explore and caress it, but the secrets within were only shared with those whom I loved.

This body has been operated on, prodded by doctors, explored with medical equipment, and treated with pharmaceuticals, and it’s still not entirely healthy, but then it has kept me alive thus far: it can’t be doing too badly.

This body has had injuries, pain that endures in the background on a good day, and requires a daily question be asked of it: am I pushing too hard? I trust this body will have the answer; it makes its own decisions, choices I have to follow, whether I want to or not.

This body is something I used to feel shame over. Much of my life was spent hating how I looked, wishing I could change my physique, and unable to view my own reflection in the mirror. I have felt ugly and unattractive, and this includes to the people I had crushes on - even the people I was intimate with. Though intellectually I have always known, and tried to accept, that other people’s validation of my appearance or attractiveness shouldn’t matter, it still did. I still cared what people thought of me; even now I do, a little.

This body is not something I have ever displayed; revealing or tight-fitting clothes have never been something I am comfortable dressing in. Throughout my life, this body has been covered in layers of fat and in layers of clothes, both in order to hide my shame and disgust of it.

This body has caused me internal turmoil about my politics - on the one hand reading Fat is a Feminist Issue and knowing that women’s self-hate and body image issues are due to patriarchy and capitalism, yet on the other hand being unable to feel little else but disgust in how I looked. If the personal is the political, how could I, a feminist, be so hypocritical in saying women need to reject patriarchal judgments of their beauty, yet still - privately - questioning my own worth within that?

This body is not, in today’s valuation of female beauty, Internet-perfect. There is no “strong eyebrow game”, no “flawless” smoothness of skin due to youth or expensive foundation, no fancy “eye-liner on fleek”. This body is not glossy, or firm; this is no Instagram fave-worthy photo, filtered and cropped for the best light, best pose, most attractive view. This body is me, moments after finishing a run. This body is drenched in sweat, this face is red, this hair is frizzy and pulled back in an unglamorous, but practical, way. This out-of-breath body is me.  Those tired legs are mine. That wet sheen all over me I earned - with this body. This body doesn’t look attractive, in the *heart eyes emoji* sense; it’s just a body, in a spontaneous, badly composed, photo, capturing a moment.

This body I like. This body is strong. This body got me through four miles of running today and afterwards it thanked me for pushing it, even though it was hot outside and mentally I was ready to quit after five minutes. This body powers me - not just in my runs, but through my ongoing defeat of depression: a battle I fight daily. This body allows me thinking time, a space where I can just hear my heart beating and I know: this is it, I am glad to be alive *right now*. This body lets me push it through injury and illness and it still continues on, making me grateful every day that I have two working legs I can run on. This body has shown me that confidence isn’t about being seen as sexy, but in feeling strong; and there is nothing sexier to me than strength and confidence. This body isn’t indestructible, but every day I run using it, I feel better about who I am and have learned to hate myself a little less.

This body in this photo - a photo I am sharing publicly, for all the negativity it might bring - is something I am proud of, finally. It’s my body. Me. Flaws and all. I think I may finally love my body. I think I may finally love me.
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