This weekend I modelled at an amazing plus size fashion event Style XL. Whilst I had an amazing time I have come to realise that I’m not as far down the body confidence road that I wished I was.
For those that don’t know my journey I will briefly recap.
I cannot say I’ve ever been a confident woman even back in the days when I was a size 8 dancer I would hide under layers of shapeless clothes. So when my illness left me carrying extra weight the clothes just got bigger and I just hid away more.
I would hide from the camera constantly. Always wanting to be the photographer never the photographed.
Then Olivia died, and I found myself searching through all my photo albums for photos of myself and my beautiful girl. In the whole of her short nine years I had only taken three photos of us together, 3.
This realisation alone should have shocked me into taking more photos with my girls but it didn’t. In fact I couldn’t, you see I didn’t recognise myself anymore. The loss of Olivia left me struggling with who I was.
I was lost in the grief.
Then about 4 years ago I came across the plus size community. Beautiful woman celebrating who they are. Loving their bodies as they were, not how society deems they should be. It was this amazing community and these inspiring woman who slowly started to allow me to piece my confidence together.
I started taking family photos, making sure I was part of the memories.
Started taking little steps forward, dropping the layers after layers of shapeless clothes.
Skinny jeans, camisoles and even the occasional dress.
This journey wasn’t easy, I can promise you I deleted more photos than I shared. Yet slowly I began to like the woman I saw in the mirror.
I began to recognise that she wasn’t all bad.
This time last year I walked on my first catwalk at Style XL and yes whilst I did shake on every step and barely spoke more than a few words it was a major personal achievement.
This year I was asked back again and this weekend I walked for 5 brands, how amazing is this.
Yet like any journey in life sometimes we do lose our way a little and for me today I got lost.
Somewhere I took a road back into the darkness.
In fact I have completed fallen apart.
Looking at the photos of the weekend event I couldn’t see how far I have come, just the woman I have self loathed for a long time.
Now I’m exhausted and I know that tiredness is one evil enemy , I mean how can one love themselves when they can barely lift their head off a pillow.
I’m in pain too and this always opens the door for the past self hate to walk right in.
So yes I’m struggling.
But as I shared this within the Plus size community I have been lifted.
Woman reminding me of all I have achieved this weekend.
Brands thanking me for wearing their clothes.
So in my darkness the light has began to shine a little again.
I’m starting to realise beyond the modelling I achieved a great deal this weekend. I may have not reached the place of body confidence I so desire but I have found myself a lot more.
I spent a wonderful weekend with woman I actually spoke to. I introduced myself more and gave out the hugs I’ve wanted to to give out for such a long time. For me this is massive and it’s something I need to see for the achievement it is.
Whilst it may take me longer to feel happy with my body I am finally happy with who I am inside.
This weekend I have laughed until I’ve cried.
I’ve chatted, met new people and caught up with the old.
But mostly I’ve been inspired.
Inspired to continue back down the road of body confidence. To accept that sometimes even the greatest journeys have setbacks but moving forward is the only thing I can do. I cannot go back to the lost woman I was, in fact I’m quite sure the amazing woman I get to call my friends wouldn’t allow me.
So now I’m just going to spent the next few days resting and hopefully as the tiredness and the pain eases I will finally be able to see all that I achieved this weekend.
But before I do head back under the duvet I just wanted to say thank you.
Thank you to the amazing brands that allowed me to wear their clothes this weekend and thank you to the beautiful woman of the plus size community, I don’t think you realise how much you all mean to me.