I asked some ladies to pop me a blog post if they fancied about their boobs.
This may seem odd to some but actually I feel that it is rather cathartic to write about your womanly humps and bumps and get to know you for you and how wonderful you really and truly are. How bloody amazing our bodies are.
However, it is a long journey for some to feel OK with their bodies. I haven't really shared all that much on my past with my body so thought now I have hit the grand old age of 30 and starting to be OK with most aspects of me, I thought I would share my past a little. I also want to you to note this was difficult to write and these photos were hard for me too but it is all part of putting myself out there to support others.
I have always been slim, though many called it "skinny" and that would mean I would jump down their necks for using that term. I was a cross country runner and I ran a lot at home to drive sheep on the farm. I was fast- really quick actually and more efficient than the poorly trained collie dog.
My social skills were shocking in my first primary school (probs still are to a point)- I didn't really have many friends- I struggled and I was bullied from a young age. They were all playing British bulldog when I was about 9 and the whole line of children when I was "on" started chanting "skinny bones, skinny bones." I still get anxious and sweaty thinking about it, even writing it is hard- mad right. I remember something switched and I screamed "shut up leave me alone" and I ran off to cry at the wall.
I didn't grow up in an environment where I could talk about it (this is something one day I hope to write about) but instead it was bottled up. I moved schools in Year 6- found new friends and it felt like a fresh start away from the bullying children who knew me pre 9. So I started again. But the body dysmorphia didn't go- it got worse. In actual fact I now realise I was suffering and had been for a long time with BDD but I actually only found out this was a thing until much later.
My body didn't change like my peers. So I continued to struggle. I refused to show my legs. Two tights or three was very important to make them appear 'thicker' Wearing a skort in PE made me want to cry- I had to hold it in every lesson. Swimming-fuck me that was so hard for me. I would rush into the pool and because it was outside I used to have to be pulled out of the pool early as I turned blue (so slim of course zero fat) and that was a killer.
In general all I thought about was my body and how embarrassing I was, putting up my hand in a lesson- I would pull my shirt down and hold it in my palm as I put it up, I would not look back at pictures without criticising everything. I would pick apart every single aspect of me- my neck being too long, my arms being too long, my pose, my angle, my nose, my ears sticking out. I could go on but one picture would be in my mind and I would look at it and pull myself apart over and over again. I tried to use the mirror- I tried to make myself feel better but I couldn't. I would cry and scream into my pillow about how much I hated who I was.
I struggled with the fact my breasts were not growing at all. I started to put tissue in my bra and when I changed I hid it. I wore this every day for a long time.
There was a trip away and a disco night. I think in Year 9. I had an absolute breakdown and hid in the toilets. I remember shouting at my friends for breaking a lipstick my grandma had given me and I just couldn't cope. The anxiety was absolutely riddled in my every cell and I couldn't deal with who I was. It was like having an outer body experience. When we came home the teachers spoke to my parents- kill me now- and when I went home they just didn't get it and thought it was a blip that week- didn't ever see what I was dealing with "we buy you clothes each year which are nice." I never really felt like me growing up. I never felt at one with myself. In fact I think it is was so bad I really struggle with memories of my childhood.
Coupled with the fact my parents didn't take me shopping and the only time we really bought clothes was in the January sales. So I never felt on par with others' styles because we live in a highly westernised world and when you are a young girl you constantly compare this to others if you are someone already struggling with body confidence. I HATED none school uniform day and I would go to school feeling anxious, it almost crippled me.
I started earning money when I was 15 and going shopping. Things got easier when I started to fit into women's sized clothes and I could shop in Topshop. So when I hit 16 and then at 17 could drive- I started working in a restaurant with the best group of people who changed my outlook on who I was a bit and I really started buying into clothes and finding who I was.
I was then more outspoken and really in my later teenage years I was pretty outspoken and really got into 'bants' with the 'lads' that again helped. I started to realise that I wasn't horrendous looking (because no one is and it isn't a thing) and I wasn't a nightmare person to talk to. If I covered my arms below my elbows that was OK. If I wore a slightly padded bra that helped and if I wore clothes and earrings that made me feel good, it helped.
At 16 I had a close friend go through serious anorexia. I won't share the details but I visited her in London and that was the last time I really saw her. In actual fact I had friends mention that she looked up to my weight and I took this hard- really hard because I hated my weight and who I was and couldn't understand it. So I struggled to support her because I panicked I was making things worse and when I visited her she didn't seem to want me there.
Fast forward to my 20s and I broke away from certain things in life- another time- but I started to find me. I then have spent the remaining years in my 20s being who I am and even had my legs out in heels on my wedding day which I still found tricky but I dealt with it and as the day went on I felt more confident.
My boobs continue to be small and post feeding Arlo they were left smaller a friend said to me "I didn't know that was even a thing" brilliant... yes it really is. I now have even smaller boobs than before. But, I realise now what my body is capable of, it can grow two humans at the same time, it can feed and sustain a large baby and then two babies at the same time. My body is fucking fabulous really and I am so so proud of what I have put it through and to come out the otherside makes me feel much better. I find it hard still to look at it- I have recently lost more weight post baby not out of choice but just because my metabolism is high and I am eating healthier but that means I in turn lose any fat which is hard for me- I much prefer some fat on me!
Unfortunately, anxiety now grips me in other forms and clearly being anxious from a very young age means it will always be there but at least as I have aged I have found coping techniques.
So, this is why I am passionate about supporting women to feel self confidence and supporting young girls to find who they are because our past shapes out futures for sure and I just want everyone to find a happy, medium place where they can live their life without having to think constantly about their appearance so they can actually enjoy their days.