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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The boob pencil test and the awkward teenage years.

Scurrying quickly up the stairs, my awkwardly un-confident 13 year old self  hurried into my bedroom and closed the door tight behind me. I shut the curtains and turned on the lamp as the full glare of my bright room light was never flattering. I took off my top and rummaged into my school bag for a pencil and then standing up straight I popped the pencil under my boob and sighed.
For those of you who are thinking 'What the.....?' I had just been watching some glossy women's magazine style beauty show on TV and on this particular episode they had mentioned the ultimate test to determine whether or not your boobs were perfectly pert and youthful; you pop a pencil underneath and if it drops to the floor your boobs are amazingly perfect and if it stays there, comfortably tucked underneath with no danger of it budging anywhere ever then you have shamefully, horrid, saggy boobs. Needless to say mine came under the latter of those two results.

At the time, I was devastated. ANOTHER issue to add to my ever growing list of things to hate about myself, now my boobs are horrid and droopy too. Of course the reality is that this was stupid because if at 13 years old my boobs were not youthful when were they ever?! Being big busted from the minute my bosoms appeared just meant that mine had more to them than other girls. They were bigger and because of the weight and the fact they are not held up by any strong muscle or bone, they don't stick out in front like two traffic cones (unless of course you paid for them) they sit at a more comfortable angle. They were normal. Nowadays, I am in fact very happy with my bust, whether that will be the case in ten years and after having had children remains to be seen of course but at the moment I am extremely happy with how they look - they're in bloody good shape! but for my former 13 year old self, that test brought my world crashing down around me. I already hated my skin being pale and patchy, my spotty face, I hated my hair colour and the fact my mum wouldn't let me dye it, I hated that I had to wear glasses and I hated that I was curvy and not skinny and slinky.


That is the problem with that time in life, everything is changing for you, how you feel and how you look. It is pretty daunting at times and unfortunately silly little tests such as the one mentioned above really leave their mark on impressionable youths. I would see pictures of busty women in magazines or in newspapers who had teeny tiny waists, perfect skin all over their body and perfect bosoms and wonder where it had all gone wrong for me? I was naive to the fact they would have been buffed, covered in make up and air brushed (subtly back then too not like they are in today's magazines) I would watch interviews with the Spice Girls in awe of how confident and forward they were and wish I was the same. The closest thing I could do was emulate their dress sense in order to feel I was more like them, cue the very tragic 90's fashion traps I fell quite frequently into. Dressy tops and Adidas bottoms anyone? Platform trainers? Massive hoop earrings and sleek tied back hair? Bright blue eye-shadow? Garish eye catching outfits like a lime green miniskirt or an orange sleeveless top. Does anyone else remember those hooped hip belts too that you wore as an accessory around your waist rather than as an actual belt. Halter neck tops and puffa coats. The list is endless! The fun thing about all of that is looking back at the photos today and gasping at the idea that any of it was ever fashionable and the truth is that while I wasn't any of the fab five I was me and that was OK. I just didn't know it at the time. Hindsight is a beautiful thing eh?

I remember being obsessed with magazines and loved reading beauty tips and hair tips as well as interviews with my favourite celebs. My favourite thing to read though was the advice columns - I used to find them quite helpful sometimes even if it was that the letters people wrote in just made me feel a bit more 'normal'. I started buying 'older' glossy mags when I was about 15 such as Cosmopolitan and being horrified at the prospect of an adult relationship. Seriously, you don't really get THAT intimate do you? How can you let someone see all your bad points and faults? My mind would boggle. But the truth is, everyone does! I also remember reading an article of tips advising how to make yourself look desirable naked and what will put a man off such as laying on your side because of the droopy boob, floppy tum and thigh squashing factor. Laughable really (although probably a good tip for the beginning of a relationship just for making YOU feel better about yourself) however I do still think about that article whenever I roll onto my side in the nuddy and it used to make me think twice about doing it in the past. I don't feel it is as important now though and know that while I haven't got a body like Cheryl Cole I could look a lot worse.

AWKWARD TEEN YEARS: Me aged around fourteen or fifteen (note the 90's Laura Ashley decor!)

I think the worst situation of all though was when other friends became 'active' with their boyfriends. Suddenly you felt left behind because while you were reading the problem pages about it they were living it. Suddenly they seemed more self assured and 'grown up' and because they wanted to tell you every gory detail you were left with mentally scarring images which did not make bumping uglies sound so pretty after all. It actually sounded quite awkward and like bloody hard work. The idea of showing someone my body - that thing I disliked most about myself - filled me with absolute horror. 'If I like a guy, why on earth would I put him off by showing him this?' Would be my most frequent thought when thinking about relationships. In fact if I ever liked a member of the opposite sex the best way to deal with it was to not speak to them and pretty much avoid them. It made for a much easier life! It never crossed my mind that men would have body hang ups and insecurities too. Oh no, such a thought was a crazy idea!

Today, the 29 year old me obviously still has insecurities, I am a woman after all! And I of course I have days where I don't like my wardrobe and everyone else's is better than mine or I look fat in everything or my hair just won't go! I would be surprised if that wasn't the case as I would like to think even the most perfect of women have 'off' days. The great thing about growing up is that a lot less of the superficial stuff matters, you have a lot more important things going on to worry about and while at 15 you wouldn't dare utter to anyone else any body hang ups you have for fear of being teased, come your mid 20's you don't care! You're telling your friends of the hairs you pluck out of your chin or your bunions, we are all human and all have body issues so know there is no need to be ashamed. We are only human.

Lately, I have found a whole new massive respect for my body in fact, I think I have finally kinda grown to like it a lot. Right now it is carrying mine and hubby's first baby and it is doing an amazing job! All is going well, I feel well and seem to be growing well and at a good pace. You realise all of a sudden just what an amazing instrument our bodies really are in situations like this. You also realise all that superficial stuff doesn't matter so long as it can do what it is actually designed to do properly, what it is was made for. I'm not saying that post birth I won't be going 'What the hell has happened to my body!?' that is only natural and as stated previously, I am a woman! But it will have gone through this amazing journey and given me the best gift I could ever want. So long as that gift is happy and healthy then that is all that matters. I hope to instill body confidence into my children as much as possible, they will never see me criticise my body like I have in the past and grow up to know everyone is different and they should be happy with what they have. (As much as that is possible to teach in the teen years of course).

Would I like to have a perfect flat tum, olive skin, perfect white straight teeth and nails that grew long without breaking? Sure. Would I like to have perfect hair every day, pretty feet and Bambi long eyelashes? YES, YES I WOULD.Would I have that over the life I have today, as the person that I am and look like?

Hell no.


  1. Oh what I would give for boobs that held a pencil. Mine don't stand a chance, they are too small! Even bf'ing they aren't big enough. I just tried haha xo

    1. Haha, see and yet I was DEVASTATED as a teen! Crazy isn't it? We are all unique to who we are and should embrace that! xx


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Hi there, I’m Marina – a girl love fashion and love to express herself with her own sense of style.

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