Everybody has moments of self-doubt, self-hate and occasionally, loss of self-worth. When some girls are only just getting their first period, I was encouraged to focus most of my subjects towards the ‘creative arts’, music and drama being my favourites. Why on earth are we expected to make career choices at a time in our lives (aged 14) when we are still trying to find secret places to go and snog with our boyfriends/girlfriends?! I think I was more worried about coping with ‘first love’ commitments than academia, never mind the huge undertaking it is to pave your way in a career-driven society. Over a decade later I still haven’t got the hang of it now!
Here’s me, a fresh faced 15 year old. I was frequently sneaking to my boyfriend’s flat at the weekends and very rarely thinking negatively about my body. I was however, just under 6 foot tall which made me quite the target for bullying:
I would give anything to tell that girl that she is beautiful. That the boys only bullied her cause she had a cracking rack (true story); mostly, I wish I could have warned her, to mentally prepare herself for the idea that her body is not always going to follow the path she hopes or imagines. To enjoy her defined bone structure and ability to fit in most high street clothes while it lasts. Hindsight is a tricky old friend.
Back to self doubt. Four years ago, at the age of 21 I completed a degree in Music Theatre. I thought I knew what I’d spend my life doing. There were stars in my eyes and I was intimidated by what it meant to pay council tax. Suddenly, the shit hits the fan and my body hits the deck. Hypothyroidism (especially undiagnosed) is an absolute bitch, and I will happily elaborate on that statement soon, but for now lets just call it moody-sad-fatty-disease.
For a long time it made me moody, sad, and it caused me to gain a lot of unwanted weight. Years of depression, totally losing my personal style and one very patient fiancé later, I realised that I had to change my mind before I had any chance of changing my body.
Photo by Ian Brooke, MUAH by Ewa Baberska at HMS Vintage
This was the best decision I ever made. You will learn about my journey as we go along with this blog, but for now I’ll say this: I have never been happier with myself. I have spent the last year working my way up to publicly advertising myself as a plus size model. I know, right?! How on earth can you go from avoiding your whole body in the mirror to letting thousands of people have unlimited access to it? It’s not been easy, and accepting yourself is one of the hardest things we can do, but I hope to inspire as proof that ‘before’ and ‘after’ does not always have to be in the order that society dictates.
WOW, that’s a little heavy for a first blog post! I’ll make sure the next one is a bit more warm and fluffy!