I was always really skinny. Awkwardly skinny in fact, so I was always conscious about my weight. My nick name was literally Olli (meaning broomstick) among the family. As a teenager in the 2000s, I could not fit into the low waist jeans that was trendy at the time, or any jeans for that matter, so I always had safety pins way above the hips holding it all together which made me a laughing stock.
I only started to gain some weight when I reached 20. By this time, I detested jeans but lived in denim shorts for the entirety of my 20s. My wardrobe consisted of a collection of denim shorts, bikinis and figure hugging basic dresses from Topshop, River Island and Forever 21. No matter how much I ate, I could not gain weight. Friends would envy how skinny I was but at the same time, some would go so far as to say that I had an eating disorder, hand me a burger, say I could fit a couple of chickens in my pants or that I would fly with the wind. The truth is, I was not happy with my skinny body because my weight was always the butt of jokes. In contrary, I wanted a more voluptuous figure, the likes of 1950s Hollywood stars like Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot. I tried drinking more milk and protein shakes but all that did was gave me severe acne breakouts. I resigned myself to my stick thin body and learned to live with it.
This was me at 26 *cringe. Can’t deny I would still like to rock the outfit today if I could but not to Chanel though. I wasn’t kidding when I said I lived in my booty shorts.
Fast forward to after my second surgery (from cystic fibroids due to endometriosis), I noticed my abdomen started to bulge. I was 29. I was working 12 hour shifts 6 days a week in the cosmetic industry at that time so I barely had a social life and when I did find time to hang out, I did so in my fit-to-form uniform and full face of make up so it was hard to notice any changes taking place. I had a month off work to recover and when I got back to work, I realised I didn’t look and feel as good in the uniform anymore. Around this time, I also started to notice a few strands of white hair, double chin starting to form, light blue veins on my thighs and the appearance of cellulites. I thought that either the stress from work, the surgery, Endometriosis or all the drinking from the years prior had finally caught up with me and was causing the changes in my body. Now, when I look back, I think that was when I noticed my first signs of aging.
As I slowly settled into my 30s, changes in my body became more glaring. I can barely fit into any denim shorts or bodycon dresses without a girdle. White hairs make an appearance every other month and although the acne issues that have dominated my youth has subsided significantly, I now look out for products that can help lift my skin and reduce fine lines. Now, when I bump into an old friend, they’re stunned by how different I look. It is true though, I am a completely different person from the girl I was in my 20s. I’ve ditched my bold makeup for a more nude softer look and I’m almost always in a flare cotton or vintage dress. Besides it being easier to put on and get going with my day, it also doesn’t draw attention to flaws like my abs in my case. Less is more as I age.
What is more though is exercise. I have to get my ass up earlier than usual at least once a week to go for a run with Baeley no matter how tiring or busy my week is because I gain more calories faster than I can burn them now. I also go for more short walks, I emphasize short walks because I cannot walk the whole stretch of Orchard Road without stopping for a seat like I use to. And, most importantly, I need more sleep! I cannot stay up as late as I use to and when I have to stay somewhere pass 11pm, I need to take a going out nap before I go. Hell, even if I have something on in the evening, I try to sneak in a going out nap.
I use to think that this is some old people shit and I’ll experience fatigue when I’m older like in my 50s but the truth is, you start feeling it as early as 30 and the earlier you learn to cope and remedy it, the easier it will be for you when you’re older.
Bikinis are definitely out of the question now. I only wear them under a kaftan, a robe or paired with sarong/cotton shorts. I got to get creative with accessories to dress up my summer outfit now like sunhats, bangles, conch earrings and sunglasses. Omg, sunglasses. The best tip I can give is to always carry a pair, it glams you up in an instant, blocks UV rays and it hides how tired you look when you have no makeup on. And don’t ever forget sunblock especially when you’re going to the beach, even though you’re a brown girl and love a tan, even if it’s for a short while, with a kaftan on! It burns like hell and you won’t recover from the burning and peeling as fast as you use to. Trust me, I’m never risking it again.
Do I look back at photos of myself and gush at how skinny I was? Yes, I do. It’s ironic because I remember how much I wanted bigger hips, butt and boobs and I resented it when people point out my collar bone. Now people point out that I need to suck in my stomach for photos, lol! My point is, no matter your weight, if you allow haters to get into your head, you will never be satisfied. I love my body now despite its flaws, I think I look closer to Monica Belluci in Malena than I’ve ever had so far. But having said that, I also do not wish to show off my cellulites and areas I’m more conscious off. Have I considered going for cosmetic surgery? Yes, I’m not opposed to it. I have considered getting botox, liposuction and a face lift but I don’t want to do it too early in my life. I want to know what I can live with, what I can do without and everything that can possibly happen before I go under the knife.
Before I end this post, here is a summary of taking care of our body in our 30s and beyond.
- Rest. It’s important and productive.
- More skincare, less makeup.
- Incorporate a good skincare and body care regime with anti-aging products if you haven’t.
- Never forget sunblock (and a pair of shades, sun hat or umbrella).
- Be mentally prepared that you will gain weight as your metabolism decreases and it’s ok.
- Dump clothes that don’t fit your body (and style) anymore. It’s an awesome excuse to shop.
- Find time for exercise and eat less junk.
- Drink lots of water, you will need more hydration as you age.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff, your mental and emotional health matters more.
- If cosmetic surgery is an option, you’ve done your research and it will help your self-esteem, you do you.
I don’t know how I will age further down the road and how my hormones will affect the process. Aging is different for everyone, much like our journey. Who knows, 20 years from now, I will be a silver vixen more comfortable about growing my white hair out, proud of my rolls in a Brazilian-cut bikini and wearing even less makeup to show off my wrinkles like battle scars? May be. But for now, I’m taking my time to learn more about my aging body and appreciating the progression.