As a twenty-something with a larger influence than most – well, online anyway! – self-confidence is a subject that I’ve been meaning to explore more on this blog of mine. Because in a loud, busy, overwhelming and often scary world, self-confidence can be often discouraged and pushed aside.
I can, hand on heart, tell you that today I feel like a confident kinda gal. Yes, I do feel very confident. But with that, I am simultaneously shy and awkward and introverted and not at all one to put myself out there. And, right there, is why so often we brush off any compliments and curl up in a ball of embarrassment or why we feel forced to downplay our sparkle and attempt to blend in a little.
Growing up, I was always made to feel that I was different. Of course I didn’t recognise this until I was in Year 3 at primary school and a girl physically knocked me to the floor and told me I couldn’t play with ‘them’ because I looked different.
As an 8- or 9-year-old, that is incredibly damaging. I remember thinking there and then that I’d forever vow to blend in with my peers, to not stand out or speak out or be too different. But that is the beauty of our everyday and in meeting people: we’re all so vastly different from our genetical formations to our unique interests and personality traits. Someone out there might match your interests and they may indeed become your soulmate but nobody in this entire world is just like you. Nobody. So take confidence in that.
Moving swiftly on to another topic that I hold close to my heart, and that is of body confidence. Not a single day goes by that we don’t see damaging headlines from celebrity gossip magazines or the trashier newspapers regarding women’s bodies and how we should look. Written, obviously, by an older white male who of course is incredibly baffled and equally offended at the sheer marvel that is a women’s body. Right before we shot these photos on a quiet little beach in the South of France, I’d eaten about 3 fresh pastries, downed an entire coffee and hadn’t exercised in about 3 days. A quiet voice in the very back of my head complained about the bloat, a louder one about the bloody wind and breeze we had that morning. And I went ahead to shoot these photos regardless.
Looking back at these photos, what do I see? I see a bad ass bikini by the awesome Hunkemöller. I see toothy laughs because of my girl gang behind the scenes holding onto our belongings for dear life, wrapped in beach towels and being my full-time cheerleaders. I see a weekend full of memories in the glistening sun, the first of my year. I see a body that’s been through rigorous stage school, countless Barrecore classes, several delicious meals. I see curves and the most annoying thigh gap that I lose my phone and several chips to each week. But more importantly, I see me, at my happiest and most carefree.
What does self-confidence mean to you?
Photos by Elodie Russo.
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