Body positivity and confidence part 4
“You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving yourself and see what happens.” – Louise Hay
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Body self love is a life long lesson and journey, with twists and turns that come with our ever changing bodies from such things as weight gain and loss, pregnacy, age, illness etc. It doesn’t come easily and it takes working on it every single day. This has taken me years and years to get to the stage I’m at right now and even then, I’m still struggling.
For pretty much all my life, well as far back as I can remember anyhow, I’ve had body image issues and for the last 5 years or so I’ve been working hard to look at myself in a kind and loving way rather than hating on myself. Finding the world of pinup certainly helped me in huge way. I was always trying to dress to the current fashion, which 95% of the time was not made for my body shape. The pinup style is perfect for my curves. I love everything about the vintage and retro style, and dressing in that way was a massive break through for me. Not having to try to keep up with current fashion trends makes my life much easier. Dressing pinup is who I am. It brings me so much joy. The pinup lifestyle and fashion, so to speak, isn’t for everyone but it’s definitely for me.
Recently I’ve been really reflecting on my life and how I see myself. I’ve pondered about what I may of thought if 19 year old me could of seen a pic of 39 year old me. Not even going to lie, 19 year old me would of ended up with an awful eating disorder or become obsessed with exercise in absolute fear of ending up just how I am today. I’m being totally honest, that’s right, I would have been horrified to know that I would be the size I am (and I’m not even that ‘big’). I was after all a 90s teen and back then, skinny was the ‘in’ thing. Thigh gaps (or as I call them, ‘bang gaps’) were all the rage. Curvy girls were considered ‘fat’. Cellulite was one of the scariest things on the planet to teenager (more than likely still is) and don’t even get me started about spider veins. But what if 19 year old me could also be preview to how happy I am, then things would more than likely be different within teenage me’s reaction to late 30s me. What if, what if??
I’m in no way the same person I was 20 years ago, nor even 5 years ago. I absolutely love my curves and embrace them. As much as I’m never going to be 100% happy, seriously what woman is, I’m pretty darn close. Like 90% there.
One thing that has always been my biggest issue with my body is my thighs. My darn thunder thighs. The size doesn’t bother me so much anymore (not like it use to) but the cellulite and the nasty spider veins are what get to me these days. Being a Beauty Therapist means being on my feet for the most part of the day. This, and my age, has contributed to those beautiful purple spider web looking veins appearing on my legs. For these 2 reasons, I’ve not wanted to show my bare legs in public much at all. I’ve over come wearing a bathing suit in public but would you believe, up until a few months ago I had never ever performed on stage bare leg for an entire act.
Ok, ok, I have been on stage twice without stockings and in bathers of all things (stockings and bathers just don’t go), which scared me more than being on stage in the first place, but this was for 2 different pinup competitions. Both of which I actually won. Go figure. Pinup competitions don’t include removing your clothing (well no actual strip tease elements anyways), so it’s a bit different to burlesque. I’ve never performed any of my burlesque acts without stockings on. Yep, I always wear stockings. ALWAYS! It’s a little safety net for me…… but I finally did it. I went on stage bare leg.
I recently revamped my 2nd ever solo act from almost 5 years ago. I had kept the original cardboard bath tub I made (so crafty), and always thought that maybe one day I’d bring the act back. Originally I wore thigh high stockings and took them off on stage right before I stepped into the bath. This time I made the decision to face my fears and not wear stockings at all. This may seem so trivial to most but this was a huge thing for me.
I was so nervous, more nervous than I had been for a very long time. I used shimmer lotion and glitter spray to make me all nice and sparkly and also in the hopes of hiding some of the imperfections. I stood back stage and all of a sudden it dawned me…. I looked over at Madame Demi Diva & Bettie Bombshell and said “have I just hidden the cellulite or highlighted it?”…. Oh shit, too late it’s done now and it’s time to go on stage.
I felt so nervous and I had the shakes so bad…. but I got through the act, I felt good about it, I felt amazing and I felt empowered. I did it! I faced my fears and I’ve never been so proud of myself in my personal self love and body positivity journey.
Getting the photos back from any show is always scary for me and this show even more so. But I absolutely love them, so much so that I asked my beautiful friend, Elise from Fate Photography to do a little bit of her magic (she is a magician) so I could have them printed on glass and displayed in my home, to honour such an achievement of mine.
Celebrate the wins, no matter how small or trivial they may seem. Try to be kind to yourself throughout your own personal journey. We are all hard on ourselves and we all have things we don’t like about our bodies but you can find an acceptance and an approval of it and love it for what it is. We all have flaws but even flaws can be beautiful.
Next time you look in the mirror look at the parts you love and tell yourself you love them, then look at the parts you don’t like so much and tell yourself you love them even though you don’t like them. The more you love on yourself the more you will believe it. It’s hard at first but day by day it gets easier.
Love Delza xoxo