Lets talk body image and confidence.
I’ve always had a weird relationship with my body and with my sense of self worth and confidence. I had a tumultuous childhood and a changed schools twice in primary and three times in secondary, coupled with that I was moving house every 12 months and I had an adult figure milling around that made my home life far from ideal. All of this instability culminated in an eating disorder shortly after I finished secondary school.
I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and I can honestly say it was the most horrible illness I’ve ever endured and the most mountenous one I have ever overcome. When I was ill all of my self-doubt, anxieties and anger was directed inwards at my body. I hated every inch of it and all I wished for was to get sicker and sicker and eventually wither away into nothing. However, I am incredibly lucky to have two parents who are extremely well regarded psychologists who put me through the right channels to get the help I needed. But after I had been through treatment and wasn’t engaging in disordered behaviour, I was left with an empty confidence meter and a really crappy body image.
I was constantly comparing myself to everyone else and my self-talk was something akin to Lucifer whispering in my ear. I wasn’t sure what I was doing in life- I was nearing the end of my History undergraduate but I didn’t know what I actually wanted to do with it and my life at that point was clouded by an anxiety that had kicked off when I developed my eating disorder.
So there you are. Me. At about 18. Anxious. Rudderless. Feeling shitty about my body and lacking any morsel of confidence. Banging. Recipe for bloody success that was.
It’s quite strange to look back on now, but I clearly remember when my life did a U-turn. I think I had just become exhausted from constantly beating myself down and living a life ruled by anxieties and insecurities. Within the space of six months I was put on medication to help with my anxiety and began seeing a psychologist to help, I finished my undergrad and graduated, I was accepted into a post-graduate course, went on a holiday to London, decided I wanted to live in London, declined my post-graduate position, got a job, obtained my Right of Abode and moved to England.
A woman posessed I was. Posessed by the inexhaustable variety of life, to reference the great F. Scott Fitzgerald. It finally felt like my minds eye wasn’t turned inwards anymore but was looking out at the world and the world I saw was no longer a smudged canvas of black and white, but a vibrant vivid picture bursting with energy.
Moving to Britain was almost like an experiment to prove to myself that I can do adventurous and spontaneous things and that my life could be one that is free (well, as free as it can be in a world like ours). In the process my confidence and body image has lept and bounded up and up. I no longer look at myself in a mirror and feel disgusted of compelled to fix something, I see a woman who is strong and determined and capable. How cool is that?!
Living in London has been incredibly challenging, but I’ve done it and I am doing it.