1. The feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something.
2. The state of feeling certain about the truth of something.
3. A feeling of self-assurance arising from an appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.
Body confidence has never come easy to me. Sometimes I feel like it was something that I was born without.
My self-esteem goes up and down without warning; usually in line with feelings of anxiety and depression. And there can days be when I look in the mirror and think my outfit looks ok. And then there are days where I look in the mirror and can pick out every single little thing I don’t like about myself; from my skin and my shadowy eyes that I think make me look like a vampire to my short fingernails and stomach.
There have been a great deal of changes in my life over the past year; 2016 was somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster, and I’m only recently just starting to come out of the fog.
So towards the end of last year, I decided to start doing things that I never normally would; wearing clothes I normally wouldn’t; going to the cinema by myself; and reading books I may have avoided in the past. And I took the biggest leap of all and booked a confidence photoshoot with Alexandra Cameron.
I can’t explain what made me want to do it, and taking my clothes off in front of a complete stranger only seemed to dawn on me after I emailed Alex. But send the email I did. It was about 10pm in late December so I must have been feeling a tired boost of end-of-the-year bravery. She replied, and the date was booked.
On Thursday 12th January, I got up at 5am, packed my bag full of food and lingerie (sent to me by the lovely Tutti Rouge) and chased the dawn on a long drive to Cambridge. Alex was warm, friendly, and could make absolutely anyone feel good about themselves.
An hour or so later, in a lovely little cottage in Cottenham, and I was out the other side. Yes, it was scary, but not as much as I thought it would be, and it was actually truly liberating.
The fog is lifting. I’m starting to do more for myself. Self-care is a huge part of my routine now.
I get out of bed and go to work even when I don’t really feel like it, and sometimes I might go out at the weekend but other times I might spend the entire Sunday in the flat. And that’s ok.
The medication is slowly re-balancing the hormone that I have been missing for so long; leveling out the fight that goes on in my brain whilst I write, in the office and at home, whilst I read, do yoga, and whilst I sleep. I take vitamins (when I remember) and drink green tea and water; I read fiction and non-fiction; I light candles day or night; and I take Lush baths. Sometimes I eat and sometimes I don’t. If I run, I run slowly. I call my mum and text my sister. I fill in my brows and wear nice underwear; and sometimes I don’t do anything at all. And that’s ok.
Because it’s surviving. I’m surviving. And I’m starting to like myself, truly, maybe for the first time ever.
I can do this. I am doing this. And underneath it all I am awesome.
It’s the little things that are ensuring my survival. And one day I can look in the mirror, or not, and be truly happy and content with everything I see around me.
Body confidence on the outside, and self-acceptance on the inside.
Photos were taken by the incredibly talented Alex Cameron. Her confidence photoshoots will cost you less than you think and will make you feel amazing.
My gorgeous lingerie was also provided by Tutti Rouge; in the image above I am wearing the Jessica Bra and Jessica Brazilian.