I was just…normal
For a really long time, I had an image of myself in my head that dated back to probably some point in the 90’s. I had a little bit of puppy fat (at times a bit more), and and perhaps a large dose of self consciousness.
For far too many years, this image in my head would over ride any any actual visuals which I would see.
And now, when I look back on photos from this time period, I remember how I felt, but I have also realised how much my low self esteem got in the way of life. And actually, I was not half as curvy as I imagined myself to be. I was just…normal. I will never be a super skinny little thing. I’m short at only 5 foot 2 and a half inches, so every extra little bit shows up straight away in a not too flattering way. I have a naturally curvy build, so over the last few years I have worked hard to keep active by doing yoga, running, perhaps even just walking home rather than taking the bus. It’s all about balance right?
And one day recently, I woke up and before I got a chance to bundle up my preconceived ideas of what my body looked like, I glanced in the mirror. And what I saw surprised me, in a really good way. I looked strong, and slimmer than the image in my mind. When did this happen? Where did this person come from? What she always there?
All I do know is that this picture in my head held me back for a really long time. It held me back in 100 small ways, that added up to some pretty major self imposed obstacles about what I could or couldn’t do, all because of how I THOUGHT I looked.
There’s a big gap in time, years probably, where I just don’t appear in any photos. The odd ones that I do have, all I can see now, is how I felt, rather than how I looked. And feel a little pang of sadness that I couldn’t give my younger self a little advice, to not worry so much, the image in your head is just that.
I think as soon as I put down the desire for perfectionism, I stopped being so hard on myself.
I won’t be able to share my least favourite images of myself, because they don’t actually exist. But I can happily say that over the past couple of years, I have stepped out of my comfort zone so many times, and actually got in front of the camera, regardless of whether I was having a ‘fat’ day or not. This is by FAR one of the the most powerful and transformative things which I have experienced. It helped me get out of my own head, and realise that my worries were way larger than my imagined behind. As a massive bonus, I also happen to have some really amazing images that I can look back at one day, say ‘Check THIS out!’
All too often, I hear people talk about booking in their family portraits when they are a little bit slimmer, a bit more toned, a little less whatever. Do me a favour, ignore THAT voice in your head, don’t put it off for another day. Whether it’s with me, or someone else, you won’t regret it for a single second once you see your most precious people captured, with you being part of it. Be present, be proud, and for goodness sakes, be in your family photos.
*Images by Nikki Cooper Photography