My path to self-love has been more like a rocky road, hindered by a couple of avalanches, breakdowns, a coup, and a very long drought.
To be honest with you, I’ve spent most of my life self-hating myself, rather than ‘self-loving’.
And by hate, I mean hate in every essence of the word.
I hated my body.
I hated the way I looked.
I hated the skin I was in. The body I was born with. My personality.
I hated me.
I mean, who could ever love someone like me. I certainly didn’t.
I was unworthy.
I was stupid.
I was ugly.
And I was miserable.
Even writing those words brings back a flood of feelings and memories.
Memories of how I used to lie in bed crying to myself, starving, lonely, and so very, very lost.
How I wanted the world to stop moving so I could get off.
How I thought everyone else thought I was horrible, ugly, and worthless.
How I just didn’t want to exist anymore.
I can’t believe I was so hard on myself. So horrible to myself. So negative.
But others were too, as a lot of the self-hatred stemmed from bullying I experienced as a kid. On top of that, there was my obsession with beauty magazines, music videos, supermodels, and grunge ‘heroin’ chic. They all helped to formulate the belief that ‘thin’ was ‘perfect’.
And so I over-exercised, over-drank, and denied myself anything that was good for my body, mind or soul.
No one deserves that degree of hate.
No, my path to ‘self-love’ didn’t come easy. So much time wasted. So many tears shed.
It’s taken years of counselling, self-reflection, learning, and mistakes.
It’s led me into my late 30’s even, but I made it, and I’m incredibly happy to finally be in a place where I [mostly] love myself as I am:
- These days I’m a healthy size 12.
- I accept and love my tiger stripes (my nickname for my stretch marks across my ass, thighs, lower back and boobs. I’ve had them since I was 15).
- My face is covered with sunrises (aka freckles) which I don’t block out with concealer or foundation.
- I am mostly at peace with my anxiety. I know I experience it, and I design my life accordingly.
- Depression. It’s no longer a big, looming beast. It’s now a little puppy dog I shelter with a mixture of self-care and medication, which is totally cool with me. I’m definitely no longer ashamed of it!
- I love my red hair. I mean, what’s not to love! Okay, I DON’T love the white hairs taking over my head. Nope. Especially the wiry ones that stick out at all angles. WTF’s with that?!
- I’m learning to love the lines developing on my face. As my bestie says, they are the paths of my life. No botox for me.
- I made the conscious choice not to diet / lose weight for my wedding in January 2016.
- I’m no longer ‘hangry’ all of the time. I like to eat. And I eat well. possibly too well… I also drink wine.
Which brings me to my BIG news!
I’m super excited to officially be selected as a Body Image Movement Global Ambassador!
Despite being happily married and successfully juggling motherhood while running a thriving photography business, Taryn Brumfitt was privately struggling with crippling body image issues. Close to resorting to plastic surgery to ‘fix’ her post-childbirth body, Taryn decided that what she really needed to change was not in fact her body, but her attitude towards it.
This was the beginning of the Body Image Movement. It’s an internationally recognised crusade (don’t you love that word ‘crusade’ in such a positive context!) recognising the importance of body diversity, seeking to encourage people to be more accepting of who they are, to use positive language regarding their bodies and others, and to prioritise health before beauty.
We are on a quest to redefine and rewrite the ideals of beauty.
The Body Image Movement is more than a women’s movement. I need to emphasise that, as men suffer from body image issues too. The fact is body image issues affect us all at all ages, starting right from when we are little. Can you fathom the fact that kids as young as 3 years old are suffering from body image issues? At a time when kids should be carefree, playing and having fun, kids are worrying about what they look like and what they should and shouldn’t be eating! And with the emergence of social media, it’s becoming increasingly widespread with devastating results. This is why it is oh so important to change our thinking on a global scale, to start talking openly, and to help share the following messages:
- We need to embrace body diversity and all body types, shapes, sizes, colours and revelling in the beauty of the human form
- Teaching people that their body is not an ornament, but a vehicle to their dreams
- We need to celebrate the journey our bodies have been on
- That growing old is awesome (this one is a stand out for me as I turn 40 next year!)
- Focusing on things that are important, and not comparing ourselves to others and tearing each other down
- Being healthy at every weight
I’ve searched high and low for a program I can throw my support behind and champion, one that aligns to my values, that is authentic (and not just saying they are), and is doing what they do for the right reasons. I’m looking forward to being involved in the Body Image Movement. Now don’t expect to see any photos of my with my kit off promoting my body – I’m still of the belief that my boobs and ass are for my own and my husbands viewing – but never say never I guess!
If you haven’t heard of the Body Image Movement yet, do check it out!
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