Today was so inspiring!
In support of EM campaign a my colleague, Oliver, and I set up a drop in photography shoot for anyone who was interested in getting involved and showing a bit of body love!
The support was fantastic. It filled me with pride and admiration to see so many beautiful people supporting each other and growing in confidence before the camera and around each other. A few individuals nervously poked their heads in and vowed only to watch but eventually they too got involved and I watched them laughing and enjoying the experience with such surprise in their eyes I just couldn’t have been more happy for them.
The shoot was just one aspect of this campaign. Its not about looking good in front of a camera, although everyone who came looked fantastic- its about feeling comfortable in your own skin, and then, letting yourself shine through your insecurities. That’s why the photos look so great-they show life. they show reality and they show confidence.
We all have photographs we hate. Even to the extreme that some of us avoid cameras in fear of having to view something that we dislike, or feel embarrassed or ashamed by. I can be over critical of myself and I must confess it was once a daily ritual to judge an element of my body. It’s a perk of the trade one might say…It moved on from the body-hating morning and night as I dressed and undressed and embedded itself into my modeling career – a common practice as I’ve known of fellow models feeding themselves only on cardboard to shed a few pounds to look thinner in photos. I too have in the past cut the carb to try and cut down the love handles.
Despite the progress I’ve made it remains true that the professional portfolio I advertise online is just a small selected bunch of images that I am satisfied with. There is not one photo on my modeling page that I don’t feel happy with – I’d be mortified if there was something there that I hadn’t approved. I think people are surprised when they learn that. It takes maybe 20 photos to find one that I will allow to be published for the world to see and I actively attempt to hide the ones that could be portrayed as anything that my ideal vision of beauty.
I had to hold myself back from doing the same with the photos from today’s shoot. It’s hard not to compare yourself and pick out your flaws. I thought to myself, the two hours it took to get ready and feel confident enough to leave the house ‘Oh god, why is my face so podgey today?!’…’Why do i look so fat in these jeans?’…’Have I put on weight?’,…’Nothing looks right’…’I’m going to look revolting in those photos today…maybe I can just take the photos’.
When we had set up i dived in, as I am accustomed to doing and I totally adored it. It’s not until afterwards that the gremlin comes back and forces me to assess myself in every single photo and point out the flaws I see in them. ‘Yepp. I was right, that was totally the wrong outfit and i look fat. and short. yepp that’s right I’m hideous…I’m never going to get another paid shoot unless I sort myself out’.
It’s extreme. it’s pedantic. it happens.
I think it’s really important to remember that we are made in our perfect forms and are each original copies. As long as we look after ourselves and stay healthy then we are doing enough.
Attempting to alter ourselves or constantly pick on our bodies or our images to look like something else is both stupid and pointless. We can only be ourselves and so we may as well try to simply be the best we can be. I can’t tell you how I wish I was a few inches taller; and how natural slimness was a thing for me. I can’t tell you how I wish I had a slightly less round face and a natural year long tan that didn’t come from a bottle. But these are ideals that are both fabricated and unobtainable for me.
I have learned that the best way to earn respect for yourself is to praise your good qualities. I have no shame in admitting that I’ve been blessed with a rather large behind- something i used to hate I have now endowed with a certain level of acceptance and respect. I’ve learned to love it as part of myself, and have pushed the negative thoughts about it from my head (until I have to go jeans shopping and I consider surgically scalping it off piece by piece until I can squeeze it into tight jeans).
The point i’m really trying to make is. We’re all beautiful. We all hate something about our bodies. It’s unfortunately become a factor of life. And whilst I doubt this has a quick-fix I do think we can learn respect. Our bodies are pretty amazing things, they get us by most of the time. I’m pretty thankful for mine.
I really hope that as EM gives an insight into the world of judgement we live in and gives you strength to work against it. It’s hard to accept what nature has given you sometimes, but by staying healthy and embracing the good, you can just about get there.