Fed up with body-shaming and people putting themselves down, one woman has shared a poignant poem encouraging others to love themselves a little bit more.
Olivia Giorgia Warren, an aspiring actor, wrote and recited the poem to “open up a conversation” that she felt needed to be had around negative body image.
“Social media and conversations are so full of ‘change yourself’ campaigns or sly ‘hate yourself’ language and images that I just wanted to add one thing that wasn’t that,” she told The Huffington Post UK.
“Something that could perhaps calm the minds of people like me and just remind them that we are all okay and that there will always be something to change. So learning to love what you have really is the only way to live outside of the shadows of food and body guilt that are so ever-present.”
The poem was uploaded on 12 April and viewed just over 7,500 times on Facebook at the time of writing.
Warren, who is 22 years old and in her final year of training at a London drama school, said she has battled with body confidence issues her whole life - and still does.
This isn’t helped by the fact that, in the environment she works in, there’s a lot of talk about (and emphasis on) physical appearance.
“That particular day, I had been in a room with my year group listening to so many people talk of how much they hate the way they look and how they plan to cut out certain food groups or meals to try and slim for summer,” she recalled.
“There were about three conversations going on simultaneously, all full of self-punishment and fuelling the others in the room to join in.
“It turned into a competition of who can hate themselves the most and it just made me incredibly sad - mainly because these beautiful women (and men) that I know so well are so wonderful and yet I watch them punishing themselves and know that I do the same thing.”
That evening, she was furious to the point where she couldn’t sleep. So she wrote a poem:
This is a poem for all those who jiggle,
I’ll scribble down some reasons to wiggle,
Do not be niggled by the thigh gap brigade,
I’m a homemade upgrade,
And the last time I weighed my sense of sass,
I broke the scale.
I’m a kale-dodging female,
Double the squish, it’s cool you can wish on this dish.
Measure my kindness, 28 inches of smiles, miles of compassion,
And piles of the fashion taking us by storm, called defying the norm.
70 kilos of smart under your nose,
Suppose I weigh one tonne of weirdo, don’t fear though, it’s clear to me that 12-stone of trusting is heavy but busting through the disgusting numbers that weigh us down.
To drown in the river we call ‘beauty’,
Now I’m a cutie, but my booty is not the reason why.
I’ll die before letting a size 12 label disable my sense of self.
Smoking hot, but not because I forgot to have lunch.
No, I’m firing a punch to the books that showed us that thin is in, gingers are mingers and the short need support - it’s bullshit. All of it.
Measure my wit, quit the shitty myth of pretty,
It’s a pity that we all feel the way we do, fuck it, me too.
But I know that I am fierce.
No more tears, I quit the game that leaves its winners fucking hungry.
Put bluntly, I’m a spunky chunky monkey,
But I’m also glowing from knowing that growing into my own skin is a win for me and the world.
Girls, you’re gorgeous; boys, you’re swish, a fucking dish; so join with me and embrace the squish.
The poem has prompted an overwhelmingly positive response, with people sharing the message far and wide. Jan Dryden wrote: “You are one AMAZING, beautiful, talented lady!!! Please publish your poem, the world needs to hear it.”
Maria O’Sullivan added: “Love this... well done! So much more refreshing than incessant pouting selfies on Facebook.”
Warren said it was incredibly humbling that her poem resonated with so many people.
“To have opened up this conversation is all that I wanted - just a small reminder for people that they are enough and just fabulous as they are,” she said.
“There really are just bigger, brighter and more important things in the world than a little muffin top or the lack of a thigh gap.”