How to (try And): Accept yourself as You are
When Madison asked me what my journey towards being confident in my own skin has been like, it forced me to ask myself: Hold on. Am I even there yet?
The answer is, as I presume for most of us, unfortunately not a clearly defined YAS or NOPE.
Some days are fine. Some nights I feel beautiful, some mornings are wrapped in so many invisible eye rolls and that sensation of ugh christ, why.
But I think what I have grown into, in comparison to my more doubtful, younger self, is the appreciation that this is what it is and that’s ok.
I do think that we are bombarded with other people’s visions of what beautiful means. I also think that with time, I’m starting to understand that these opinions of people I don’t know, have never met, or am not connected to, shouldn’t hold all this power over how I feel about myself. That includes big corporations and that body positivity guru on youtube, sure. But it also counts for the hot girl on the street this morning that sent a judge-y look my way. Where I used to feel small and insecure, I now have a tendency to shrug my shoulders and think, ‘oh well’, and perhaps coming to that realization is truly what my journey is all about.
I think that being surrounded by intellectually inspiring women that were mostly all physically beyond beautiful (editor's note: Hannah works as a fashion photographer, and it was in this capacity that we met, during my modelling days), definitely impacted me. I think many of us have a tendency of comparing ourselves to one another, but thankfully - and for some miraculous reason - I found it to be more interesting to observe and learn from them, rather than allow my sense of worth to be up for grabs. This led me to understand that mostly all of them were putting themselves down, in one way or another, by not believing they were enough as they were. Some expressed this by starving themselves, others by deriving their sense of worth from male objectification, others by avoiding the mirror and some by never applying for the jobs they truly dreamt of. The list goes on and on.
When I slowly but surely started understanding the absurdity of all this, of all these micro-aggressions we commit towards ourselves, I also observed that I was in no way different. These mechanisms instilled by generations of women before me, were hidden deeply within myself as well. It saddened me.
But I am a romantic optimist at heart and I believe that knowledge injects power into the mind. As with all things in life, once you become aware of something, you have the option of changing it and so I started to question myself whenever I felt less than electric:
"Why do you feel ugly? Why do you feel fat? By what or who’s standard? Do you really look that much different than you did 14 hours ago? You have (if I’m lucky!) approximately 21.900 days to go, are you really going to waste today hating on the world (aka yourself)?"
This doesn’t always work, but it does help to put things in perspective. And let me say, perspective is everything if a sense of happiness and fulfilment is what you’re after.
If there’s anything I consider worth extracting from all of the above it's probably the realization that confidence isn’t about feeling like your best self every day of your life, but that it resides in being unapologetic and kind to yourself on the days that you don’t. I might find out I got this all completely wrong some day, but hey, I've just promised to accept it, too. I'll be sure to update you when further enlightenment hits.