I’ve done a few in the past. Usually capturing myself in a positive light, looking the way I think other people see me. But that’s not accurate is it?
It’s important to me that as a society we are honest and realistic, even if that’s difficult.
I believe that high expectations are one of the main causes of depression, debt, eating disorders and body dysmorphia. It’s been created by unrealistic lifestyles and appearances presented by the media. Even those in the spotlight admit that what we see is a snapshot and not real life.
It was amazing when Paddy McGuiness and his wife Christine admitted that their children both have ASD. Their documentary was SO raw and fresh. For celebrities to admit that their life beyond the huge house, perfect hair and fast cars is actually really tough, was very much needed.
None of us is perfect. Everyone has their struggles and it’s about time we accepted that rather than competing.
Laura Adlington who was on The Great British Bake Off has an immense Instagram following – not only for her baking, but because of her lifestyle and body positivity. She documents her struggles with unsolicited comments about her weight and body shape and it’s empowering to see how she processes that. As a Plus Size advocate, she models beautiful clothes and shows women that she is happy with herself just the way she is. (@laura.adlington)
Body positivity is hard work and something I have always struggled with. I remember an ex boyfriend’s mum offering to get my a gym membership as I was getting “a bit thick round the middle”. I also remember being told I had little, ugly, piggy toes”. That one particularly hurt me for some reason.
I follow Melissa Suffield on Instagram – you may remember her as Lucy from Eastenders. She is now married with a young child called River. Melissa posts daily photos of herself in differing poses and clothes, sometimes just in underwear. Her social media following is huge, with women relishing her honesty. Like many of us, her post pregnancy body is completely different to the one she was used to before hand. She admits that it took time for her to adjust and accept her new shape, and even now she has bad days. But she is human and this is who she is now. (@the.confidentmama)
Did you know that Kim Kardashian was unable to carry any more children after her second? She had Placenta Accreta which is where the placenta roots itself too firmly within the womb. It’s difficult to remove and can result in catastrophic injury. When she employed a surrogate to carry her third pregnancy, the world went crazy about how celebrities are too posh to push etc. The woman gets so much abuse it’s unreal. But she was able to educate and show people that she IS. NOT. PERFECT. She had a problem and she overcame it.
It’s wonderful to see celebrities admitting that the media stage everything. They build us up by pushing ‘perfection’ on to us and shaming us when we cannot live up to them. The reality is completely different and celebrities really bear the brunt of it. They’re called out publicly for anything that’s deemed to be a failing. Could you imagine?
I’m not going to hide behind carefully posed self portraits any more. Like every other parent in the world, we need to set an example to our children. We need to change the narrative, lower their expectations and show them that life is precious in whatever form it takes. Health and happiness take the prize over wealth and social status.
My next road of exploration will be to represent myself visually whether it makes you uncomfortable or not. I have scars, I’m damaged from pregnancy, I struggle with depression and I am an exhausted parent. This is who I am and I’m not going to hide because other people are disgusted by it. That’s their problem, not mine.
My children will grow up with a spectacularly average Mum. Who will show them that average is just fine.