Every girl has insecurities, right? Things they would want to change about themselves, things they are not confident with? But what if body confidence is something you've always had, and then one day it completely disappears?
I've always been pretty confident in my body. Growing up I didn't pay much attention to it and never tried to change it (my face on the other hand was a different issue - I could always find imperfections on my face but rarely did on my body). On summer holidays with girlfriends I was always the first to walk around the hotel naked and I loved taking self portraits during my photography degree, often with boobs on show.
Recently though, this all changed.
(Disclaimer: I haven't mentioned this and how I was feeling much to anyone other than close friends so please bear with me. Also I want to point out here I'm not after any pity and compliments, I was just given an excuse to talk about this issue, that some others might feel the same about and wanted to share with you - you have been a part of my life for 6 years now!)
In the past year I've put on a lot of weight (pretty much two thirds of the weight I was previously). I don't know what changed, I wasn't eating hideous amounts of food, I tried to be relatively healthy but weight just kept piling on.
During the summer just gone, I felt so, so low and disgusted at how I looked on a daily basis. None of my clothes fitted me, even walking in my body felt different. On one evening I went to the pub with a friend and completely broke down in tears to her explaining how I felt about myself; my self confidence was at an all time low.
(I'm currently trying to pin point what is was that made this happen - it could have been the medication I was on for 6 months at the beginning of the year and I'm also currently waiting results from scans & blood tests for PCOS which could explain it. You could also say it's from having fallen in love and being happy for the first time in a really long time, which I would never swap, but it's important to feel good about yourself at the same time, right?)
Long story short, I've recently had a really shitty time with my body confidence. I didn't realise quite how much something like this could control every aspect of your life, mood and happiness. I was in the depth of this self-hatred when Alex Cameron got in touch and asked me if I'd like to be photographed for her Confidence photo series. I'd seen some of her previous photos on some of my favourite blogs (and they all looked incredible) so I decided to go for it.
So I met up with Alex on a Monday afternoon and let her photograph me in my birthday suit...
I'm not gonna lie, I was nervous on the day. I dug out some of my favourite lingerie to take with me (the black bralet I had never even worn, that's how crap I felt about myself) including a white lace bralet which is actually the bra my mother wore on her wedding day (things like this make me very happy).
Alex was brilliant, it felt like I'd known her for years, so after chatting for a while there was nothing left for me to do but take my clothes off. The only person that's seen me like this in ages had been Andrew and my mum so this felt VERY odd but I followed Alex's direction and before I knew it we were finished.
When she sent the images through, I was in all honesty dreading it. I had butterflies & my heart was beating really fast but as soon as I had a proper look I was filled with emotion. I haven't included any full nudies in this post just because I'd like to keep them between myself, my close ones and Alex, but I am just so chuffed and overwhelmed with how they came out.
I didn't look like a beached whale? Is this how others see me? I don't mind that!
I sent some of these pictures over to my closest girl friends and their response was interesting. They were obviously so supportive and complimentary but they also mentioned how they'd never be confident enough to do something like this, they wished they had my body, their pictures would never come out like this etc. These girls and their bodies in my mind are the ultimate perfection - and they weren't confident enough to do the same?
Us girls really put ourselves through a hard time. Always comparing, always wishing, always talking ourselves down. I wish every girl in the world had a chance to do what I did and see themselves as I saw myself, because I now believe in myself. There's much more to it now than being confident in my body, but I know I am brave enough to do this, I look pretty good and I believe in myself!
I'm really happy I did this. I think I will always look back on these pictures and smile. I did something out of my comfort zone when I felt really crap and came out of it feeling like a new woman.
Yes, my ribs are wonky and I have scars down my back (I have scoliosis, it's a whole other story but mentioned here). Yes, my thighs and arms are bigger than they used to be and yes, my stomach does hang in an awkward place when I'm laying on my side BUT this is me, this is my body, I can't change and it and I wouldn't want to.
If you fancy releasing your inner goddess and getting some pictures like this of your own, Alex is currently offering a 5% discount to my readers (just quote my name on booking)! You can check her other work and more photographs from this series on her blog - www.alexandracameron.co.uk.
Please say you would do something like this?