Stripe Tie Front Swimsuit: Target (bought in-store)

When I first decided to go travelling one of the things nagging at the back of my head was the expectation that I would have to be in swimwear for the majority of my time around people I didn't know. The idea of it was one of real worry for me, so much so that I must have bought and returned at least ten different swimsuits from ASOS before I found one that I didn't completely hate my appearance in.

I have never been skinny, more curvy around the edges and sitting firmly in what is now being called by some as 'mid size'. I love this movement, I love the idea of any movement that makes people feel included and accepted just the way they are and this in particular has really stirred something in me. 

I have worked for the fast fashion brands who don't quite understand that just because they make a dress in a size 16 it doesn't mean that it will come anywhere near to looking flattering on my figure, even on the rare occasion the sizing isn't absolutely ridiculous. But they are trying, and so are the highstreet, with Topshop's inclusion of a size 18 somewhat behind the times it still makes me happy that when something would just look a little better with a little more room, I have the option to size up. Even Primark and H&M are finally listening to our cries on social media of stupidly small sizing and slowly reassessing their entire ranges. It's not perfect, but it is movement.

One of the things that has both improved and blighted my self confidence as a lady with love handles is social media, in particular Instagram and YouTube. There are hordes of those beautiful, skinny girls in bikini's so small they might just cover one of my nipples, and there are gorgeous girls staring on national advertising campaigns for plus size brands. What there seems to be a complete lack of however, is average girls with average figures showing up anywhere as ambassadors for clothing brands.

There are some amazing ladies out there doing great things for girls like me, Lucy Wood does brilliant try on hauls in a size 14 (I even bought her 'average' merch that's not merch t-shirt), and Helen Anderson who shared a brilliant video on the same subject a few months ago. There is also now an Instagram page called Midsize Collective who exclusively share outfits from girls like myself who fit in this size 10-18 bracket which makes my heart happy every time it pops up on my feed. These girls really helped me to realise that having a slightly thicker frame was nothing to be ashamed of, and that I should embrace my curves. 

Since being in Australia I have posted a picture of myself on the beach in a swimsuit which is something I never thought I would do. I have become more secure in myself, and my curves, slowly retraining my brain to not be repulsed every time I sit down in denim shorts and my tummy sits more rolled that I would like underneath me. It isn't an easy journey, I aim to be healthy over any particular  clothes size, however falling into the trap of comparison especially on social media is all too easily done. My solution has been to unfollow or mute anyone who has elicited negative feelings within myself when I see their photos. It isn't anything others have done or a passive aggressive act, more an act of self love until such time that the little voices in my head don't automatically go "you'd look like that if you hadn't of had pizza for dinner again this evening" and just learn to accept my mid size self. 

While my own train of thought it part of the problem, it will also be part of the solution with gentle, continual and positive reaffirmation that actually my body is pretty damm great the way it is, and I should be so very thankful for it.