Trying to find the words to convey what I want to say in this post is quite tough. I have so much to say on this topic, but making myself articulate is something I struggle with a lot.
Me, my body and self-esteem are not exactly the best of friends. I have struggled with body dysmorphia for a long time. In fact, and this is a huge leap for me to say, but I am a recovered Anorexic. That is also a post I plan to write about in more detail soon, but currently haven’t quite found the confidence. But just to be able to say those little words out loud is a huge step, and one that I want to put out there and tell you as for me its part of who I am, and to know I am more than it now, and having the confidence to talk about it, is what makes me stronger.
So let’s talk about body confidence.
It’s something that every woman, old, young, thin or large, will understand. The ability to feel confidence in our own skin is one of the most crucial things as it is the foundation for so many of our other qualities, whether we want to admit or not. We can be the cleverest woman, successful in our careers, an awesome human being, but when the world puts so much emphasis on our bodies, it ends up becoming something we internally judge ourselves on, even though the two should not be linked.
Women have been battling with our bodies since the dawn of time (OK not really, but it feels that way). Right from the sexist 60s ads that told women the only things they need to do are look thin and please their husbands, to the pressures of magazines saying look which celebrity put on some pounds this week. Social media has gotten a lot of flak for perpetuating the cycle of self-loathing, and I do agree it fuels the fire, but I believe social media is not the start of the fire itself. My hatred for my own body started way before social media was a thing. OK we had Facebook (I’m not that old), but Twitter and Instagram were just a twinkle in a Silicon Valley nerd’s eye.
For me, body confidence was/is intrinsically linked to my self-worth and ability to love myself. My true downfall is that I compare myself to others and I care what others think of me. I’d look in the mirror and I wouldn’t see all the great things I had going for me. Everything I had ever done, ever achieved or even things I loved about myself would just be wiped away, and all I’d see were lumps and bumps and things I hated. I hate my breasts, they are big, but flat and long. I hate my thighs for the way they wobble when I walk. I hate my ass as it’s covered in cellulite. I hate my stomach as it sticks out.
I hate myself.
And that was the view I had of myself. I hated my body, and I hated myself.
It’s been a very long, painful and dangerous road to get to where I am today. There are days when I look in the mirror and want to cry. My heart sinks when I see what I look like. But on the whole, I am much stronger today than I have ever been. I feel like I’ve sunk so low in the past that the only way to go forward now is to climb on out and open myself to critics and be Ok with not being perfect and have the confidence to say, actually, my body is damn fucking awesome.
Which is why I did this shoot.
I was so damn nervous putting these up, but for me they tell a story.
See I was inspired by Megs from Wonderful—You, after seeing her do a body confidence shoot by Alex Cameron (who by the way is THE most talented photographer ever). Megs is my blogging hero and I saw how beautiful she looked in the photos. Not because of how hot she looked (although she is stunning) but because the photos showed confidence, power and said, this is me and I love me.
I did this way back in I think March time, as I was just about finally happy with myself and starting to feel OK with how I am, and so I wanted a way to show that and give me the confidence I wanted. I remember emailing Alex being like, can I book one of your shoots? Thinking that I’d be rejected for not being good enough to be her subject. But no, the whole point of these shoots is about body confidence in everyday women. It’s not a lingerie shoot, I’m not trying to be sexy. God help me if I did, it’s to show that I am happy in my own skin and don’t feel the need to hide it out of fear of rejection.
And you know what? I came away feeling empowered. I mean heck, I just striped in front of a woman I had never met before!
I don’t want to look in the mirror and hate myself anymore. I don’t want to look at someone else and think, why don’t I look like that? I want to proud of what I have achieved, proud of the woman I have become, and be happy with myself and the life that I have. Why should I pin all my hopes and dreams and confidence to achieve on what my body looks like?
I am more than my body.
I want us all to be brave enough to stand in the mirror and say I love you. Pick a part of your body that you love, no matter what it is, it could be your arms, your legs, God even your on fleek eyebrows, and say: