I’m not a naturally confident person, which might surprise people. After all I always used to be on stage, singing and dancing my heart out. But the point of that was that you are always someone else, playing a part that you can hide behind! I’ve not got a problem singing in front of 500 people, nor do I have a problem delivering a presentation at work to the board members, or putting my name forward for a new project…
It’s when I have to be ‘me’ that I struggle. I’m socially awkward, make the wrong jokes, say the wrong things, and just want to curl up in a hole. I don’t want people to notice me. The way I feel about my body is a big part of that. As long as I can remember I’ve felt like the hideous person in the room, the fat, ginger, ugly one.
For years I was told I needed to lose weight, that I had massive thighs and fat shoulders, needed to change my hair, wear more makeup, dress better. Always followed up with ‘are you seriously thinking about going out looking like that’, and ‘make sure you don’t say anything weird tonight’.
That really sucked. I wasn’t free. Always feeling like I was embarrassing someone, that I had to be someone else, look a certain way, and only speak when spoken to. Just smile and nod and fade away.
It’s taken a long time, and I still have a long way to go, but I’ve finally realised that it is ok to be me. To make stupid jokes, to openly like ‘lame’ things. People are complex and interesting, it’s these things that we love. And if you don’t like me, that’s ok. Not everyone will like everyone they meet. It would be weird if you did! I’m not going to stay up worrying at night because someone doesn’t like me and want to be my friend.
You can see see through the fake. If you aren’t being authentic, you know. That’s been a life changing realisation to come to.
And what about my body? I still feel huge, but I don’t feel ugly anymore. I’m proud of what my body can do. Yes I hate the cellulite and stretch marks, and the acne and how I’m so pale you can practically see straight through me! But, despite this, I can feel sexy and whole and no one but me gets to judge my body. It’s mine, and I won’t ever let anyone’s opinion of it make me feel substandard again.
So I’ll continue taking vanity pictures, I’ll continue being my annoying ridiculous self, after all, this is who I am right now, and not giving a damn is an incredible thing.