American culture and the rest of the world. While abroad I’ve noticed a great deal of difference in image culture. Although there are plenty of advertisements with almost naked women, eating pizza or just advertising for a perfume, the women here are not obsessed with looking like that. At least in my opinion. In America, during the summer, lots of women want the perfect bikini body. With this new body positive movement coming up with models like Tess Holiday, they say everyone has a bikini body. AND IT’S TRUE!
Before I left for Europe I bought a super cute 1-piece swim suit that’s black and white striped. I thought I’d be the best-looking chick at the pool/beach. I also thought that I would be too embarrassed to wear a bikini. I’ve got a little belly and some stretch marks and just didn’t feel comfortable. However, going to the pool I quickly realized I was the ONLY person there in a one-piece swim suit. There were women there tiny and big, boney and plump from all walks of life all in 2-piece swim suits. For someone who sees people down on themselves too much (including me) to sport your body however you like, this is amazing.
As I witnessed this and as I traveled more, some other things came up with body image. Since travelling, I have had little time (or interest) to primp myself everyday with makeup and nice clothes. Every so often I will get around to looking nice, but often it is just trousers and a t-shirt. I hardly shave my legs and arm-pitties and I almost never put on make-up or do my hair. And you know what? It feels good. I’ll be honest, there are some women I have met, who take the time out of their day/week while travelling to take care of themselves by grooming and putting on loads of makeup. But that life is just not for me while traveling. If you can do that, more power to ya. But I’d rather take that time and use it for something more productive. I can go back to looking normal when I stop traveling.
In short, the one wonderful thing I learned out here in this great big scary world of ours is: selflove. I am here to impress myself, not other people. Love yourself.