When Natalie from Style Me Sunday asked me if I would take part in her Warrior Woman 3 campaign, FIERCE, I immediately said yes.
Because I wanted to get naked with a bunch of super cool and good looking media-ites then have my picture taken? Yeah, I REALLY wanted to be in THAT situation…
I’m THAT confident?
In fact, the exact opposite.
Natalie is gorgeous. And SO self-assured in her skin. She oozes this body confidence that I just totally lack. I am the opposite of body confident and I was out of my mind terrified about displaying my lumpy self, not just to all these coolios but to then post on my blog… I like to choose carefully selected, scrutinised and best angled pictures for the most flattering pose possible… Letting someone else take the shots while I tried to hide behind… Well… There’s not much you can hide behind when you’re 6 months gone, it was daunting I can tell you!
The thought of being in my all together with her and her mates (I mean one of them is Cherry Healey for crying out loud – one of my biggest girl crushes ever) really didn’t appeal to me so why then?
Why did I jump at this chance?!
Well, because essentially Nat’s project is all about empowering women and making them feel confident, getting them to embrace their wobbly bits and saggy bits and bits which don’t look like they used to… Trying to encourage women to love themselves a little. Something I wish I could do.
So… Number one, I thought some of this ethos may rub off on me and number two… I’m raising a little girl who I want to just grow up with this mind set and not be someone who has to strive to find it like her Mama.
I wrote a post a while back about how these days young girls seem to want their bodies to be STRONG not skinny. Back in the 90s, my heyday, it was about not eating and trying to look as emaciated as one could possibly manage without passing out and, well, that’s just crap isn’t it?
I’m pleased that today sees more girls are wanting their bodies to work, to be powerful and to just be. I’m pleased for my daughter and though I may not be the confident Mummy who leaps about on a beach wearing a bikini and smiling about her sodding saggy arse and fucking fat tummy, I do WANT to be that woman and more than that, I want my daughter to be her.
I want her to be able to stand in a room with a post, pre or pregnancy body and not feel absolutely disgusted with herself. I want her to eat the cream cake and not wish she could throw it back up again, say no thank you altogether or look at herself in the mirror afterwards with sheer regret at her now immediately ballooning tummy.
All things I have done.
I don’t want her to be at school stood in the toilets while her friends stuff tissues down their throats in order to make themselves feel full enough not to eat as she considers doing the same, I don’t want her to be in hospital with something entirely unrelated to her weight but not being allowed out until the consultant sees her eat something because he’s so worried, I don’t want her Mummy, me, to be given the numbers for eating disorder helplines.
These things all happened to me.
I don’t want her to over eat and put on so much weight she feels revolted with herself and wishes she could go back to the days when she controlled it all.
I don’t want her to not be able to look at herself in the mirror because she feels sick with what she sees.
I don’t want her to have to pretend.
This is me now.
I want for Florence to grow up happy with herself. Being healthy. Being the body shape she is destined to be. Not doing anything to any extreme because she can’t control her eating habits. Not having to weigh herself only after she has been to the toilet and with no clothes on.
I basically don’t want her to have to think about it.
I basically want her to be normal.
I basically want her to enjoy food because I love food but I never enjoy it.
BASICALLY, I want her to just be happy. Within herself and with herself.
And for that she needs an example I am unable to set without faking it. So I’ve decided, I will fake it until I make it. I will do my darndest to make myself feel confident and happy and content and change my own mindset but until that happens I am going to pretend it’s just there, that I have it, because I want her to see that and in turn have it herself.
I’ve no idea if I was the only woman at the Warrior Woman photo shoot who feels like I do? I’ve no idea if everyone else was really and truly that fabulous, if their Instagram stories were real or if they were fake too, if their smiles and confidence were as ployed as my own or if they own it totally? But… I certainly felt that it was all going on in the real world and I was the only outsider so… This means if I believed it, true or not, then I can make other people believe it too (what was all my acting training for after all?) and if I tell the world this is me then one day it might just be so!
So… Here I am, not particularly enjoying being semi naked with women I think are thinner than me and better than me and lovelier than me and… Oh you get it. But here I am. Regardless. Yes I DO hate my legs and my knees in particular. I also dislike my arms, my face, my… Oh everything. No I don’t think I look better pregnant and want to embrace my bump and that god awful sticking out tummy button – no seriously, I get that you may have done but not me.
I’m as self-conscious as buggering hell and most of me wants to be swallowed up but…
I am me. I am feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
This one’s for you Florence.
Because say what you like about this Mummy, she IS FIERCE, scared? Sure! But FIERCE!
I’d like to thank Mothercare for sending me the most gorgeous (if HUGELY cupped – pregnancy) underwear. I LOVE it and have been wearing it loads. It looks very pretty and feels incredibly comfortable. It also doesn’t dig into my wadgy bits which is perfect – the girl who helped me with the fitting was so kind and so lovely and SO interested in what I was doing and why. She was also incredibly complimentary which was very, very much needed stood in a brightly lit changing room with tears pricking the backs of my eyes. I popped back in recently to buy some maternity leggings and she rushed over and asked me how the shoot had gone, asked me how many weeks I am now and was just the most gorgeous she could have been – thank you, thank you, thank you!
Dove and Marks and Spencer sponsored the event which was very kind of them – you guys are doing a great thing in promoting positive body image for women – I’m in the market to buy it all and I think soon everyone else will be too, so keep at it!
Natalie, I love your vision and drive. You are amazing creating such positive vibes over the internet and although I didn’t enjoy the shoot I will make sure I take positivity away from the experience.
To the stylist whose name escapes me, you really made me feel better. You stood me in front of the mirror and told me what I saw isn’t what you saw. You were so kind and though I couldn’t quite believe you I wanted to hug you for doing it anyway. What a lovely lady you are and I’m sorry for being so negative and needing your lift.
And Katy, my friend who was also on the shoot. It would have been easier for you to enjoy the experience without me bringing you down with my insecurities. You didn’t, you held my hand and even though you were nervous yourself you looked after me. I love you. Thank you!