Saturday, 12 December 2015

The Truth About My Body Image & Shopping Addiction Pt. 1

I think I've been putting off doing this post for a while, purely because it's a tad easier to talk about SS16 collections and what's going to be in next season. Saying this, I've been thinking a bit more about what my goals are for this blogging platform and I really do want to make sure I keep pushing myself to share some of my experiences in order to help others. At the end of the day, it would truly give me happiness to think that my blog post reached someone across the globe who needed that boost of confidence...

In one blog post I'm not going to be able to cover everything, far from it actually but I hope I can at least share with you my realisations and understandings of myself and my relationship with the material world, particularly fashion and beauty.

Since I was really young, I had a clear interest in things like dressing up, wearing make-up, doing my nails etc. I will always remember my Barbie perfume, my lip-gloss maker and collection of hair accessories to name a few things from my obscene diva-worthy collection. For many years, dressing up was always the fun part of going out. I always looked forward to co-ordinating my own outfits (which I always picked myself for school) and accessories. When you're young, everything is somewhat exciting and the lack of self-awareness allows you to experiment a lot, at least for me anyway.

Posing in sequin dresses gave me lifeeeeee.
What I didn't know was that this borderline obsession with self-image would carry on into my adult life and I didn't understand the true meaning behind it.

I see a counsellor regularly now to help me with various issues and in my eyes, it helps me a lot to have a neutral third-party to really tell me what's going on with me. In one of our sessions related to my spending habits and perceptions of myself, she began to make it clear to me that I had somewhat of an addiction to shopping. The reason why it was an addiction was because I felt the need to accumulate lots, which meant that I had no desire to buy one or two things in a shop but needed to leave with a mass amount. As I'm not the richest person in the world, this would mean that I shopped at your typical high-street stores like Primark and New Look, often on a weekly basis at least. I bought a lot online too... browsing late at night became commonplace. It was also more appealing and fulfilling to me to get a lot at once, rather than save and get one luxury item. The other reason why it was an addiction was because I felt compelled to buy things regularly and also that I felt pressure to wear new things all the time. Oh, and the most obvious reason is that I was unaware that it was an unnecessary expense. I genuinely believed I was purchasing sensibly, even though most of the things I got would just be added to my already huge collection of clothes, bags & shoes only to collect dust.


Truly, I felt entitled to buying lots because of the tough life I have led so far. In my mind, I thought I owed it to myself to make myself feel good and feed my ego. I want to make it clear at this point that I acknowledge things could have been a lot worse. A lot of addicts buy overly expensive items like designer bags and shoes which are out of their means. Without making excuses for myself, I at least am thankful that I wasn't overly destructive but this still doesn't rule out the fact that it is a problem.

So, why was I compelled to shop a lot?

A lot of it boils down to my feelings about myself. For a long time now I've often felt a bit down about my appearance and always felt like I could look better and present myself better. As a blogger, I think the industry also puts pressure on you subconsciously. For instance, when you attend events and see the amount of effort girls go to in order to look good, it sort of dampers your mood and you feel inadequate. Another thing is because I have been facing quite traumatic times as of late, my mood hasn't always been great and when that happens and you feel depressed, it's natural to feel low about everything including your image. Sometimes it means that I comfort eat or feel no motivation to exercise. I can also put it down to verbal forms of bullying I received during my childhood, some of which I can now retrospectively look back on and understand that it stemmed from jealousy. Girls would often make comments about my tremendously long hair and tell me that I needed to cut it, which once got to me so bad that I actually tried to cut my own hair in front of the mirror. The only thing is that I actually cut some of it from the top! Thank God it grew back... :/


My generation is living in the digital age and having gone through various issues relating to self-image, I am actually quite scared for a lot of young women who are coming under this pressure to look a certain way. Before, I used to be able to go out without makeup but now I find this very hard unless it's a quick trip to the GP and back and even this can give me anxiety sometimes.

Ideas of beauty have shifted and now that everyone is so obsessed with contouring and highlighting, using waist trainers, airbrushing their pics to the max with Facetune and making themselves appear to be the best version they can be. It can be quite disheartening when you feel like you're not making that same effort and fear that people may judge you for that. It's also worse if you're already suffering from something like anxiety or depression because it is known that sometimes when you're in a state of lows, it's common to neglect your appearance. Often, doing everyday things like brushing your hair can seem like a drudging task yet alone glamming yourself up every single day.

I honestly believe that young women in this generation need to be very careful and aware of these pressures and try to not succumb to them. It is very dangerous and dark. Often, it can lead to so many issues or make existent ones worse like depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts... the list goes on. I really do want to help anyone who may be going through similar issues who may just need a boost of confidence or someone to listen to their story. I would be more than happy to do this so please email me at manitarughwani@gmail.com and rest assured, anything you email will be strictly confidential. I have said this before and I will say it again, I am by no means a therapist and can not offer anyone professional advice but what I can try and do is be supportive and often, all people struggling need is a little bit of support.


I want to end this post here. I think it's going on a bit too long. I think what I'll do is do another follow-up post talking about how I have managed to deal with these issues and share what steps I have taken that have helped me out and also what I am still struggling with and why. At the moment, I'm trying to figure out some of my own health issues which if proven true, have a big link to body image and self-esteem like PCOS, for example. When I complete my tests and know a bit more with what is going on, I would be happy to share more.

If there is anything people would like me to discuss more specifically, please do feel free to get in touch as well. I truly want my platform to become more 'real' and open, discussing topics that are not easy to discuss but so important to bring awareness to. I hope this has given everyone a bit of insight into a few of the issues relating to self-image that I have dealt with and perhaps made me more of a human figure to you all, especially those who do not know me in person. At the end of the day, everyone is going through something tough and even the bloggers who may seem like they have everything in the place from the hair to the makeup to the outfits to the popularity... I guarantee you that behind the image, is someone who is still dealing with something pretty dark. So never feel like you need to live up to the women who 'have it all together'. Be real with yourself and do what makes you happy and never go on too long with negative thoughts about yourself as this is self-destructive and dangerous. Acknowledge your mind and your body, be in tune with your thoughts and reach out for help if necessary, even if it feels like the hardest thing in the world.