She lacks confidence, she craves admiration insatiably. She lives on the reflections of herself in the eyes of others. She does not dare to be herself.” - Anais Nin
It’s Charlene McElhinney, yeah, this post is a completely different kettle of fish from my usual posts but it is one that I have been wanting to do, eminently, for quite some time now. There have been several incidents, if not more, in my life that have triggered my want to do a post like this. Things have sparked feelings and emotions inside me that I do not know how to express. This is my opportunity.
I am not significant. Nor am I empowering, exhilarating or educated. Nonetheless, I am me. I have feelings, I have thoughts and I have the right to express myself in any way I believe is fitting or appropriate – in my own little space – on the internet.
Those who know me, and I mean know me, will fathom why I am doing this particular post. It is because I severely lack confidence – don’t let the pictures fool you. I’m a self-conscious, sheepish and self-effacing person. In these pictures, I am fully aware that this is not how I come across. And that is precisely why I wanted to do this post. People are not always how they seem…
I suffer from Depression and Anxiety: Once, I posted a blog entry all about it, and to finish it off – I thought I would post a photograph of me smiling. I received a comment underneath this post asking how on earth I could possibly be smiling in a photograph when I suffer from Depression? Is that not just ludicrous? I’ll tell you one better: I posted a photograph, a ‘progress picture’ that I had took after the gym, wearing a sports bra (basically a crop top) and a pair of high waisted leggings (which I had pulled down slightly to show off my stomach definition from my work outs at the gym). All that was on show was my stomach and my arms – that was the only flesh visible – and I was scrutinised for it and made to feel ashamed. Why?
In this day and age, as I scroll down my ‘Instagram’ feed (or any social networking site, for that matter) I witness an abundance of inspiring and beautiful woman – with next to nothing on, proudly flaunting – and quite rightly so – the skin that they are in. Sometimes, yes, I do feel jealous and envy their impeccable bodies; but do I let this take over me and do I feel the need to comment, negatively, on these woman? No. Why? Because I look up to these women. I profoundly want to be as comfortable in my own skin as these ladies are. I am in awe of them. And today, just for today, in my photographs that I have took for this post: I am trying to learn to love myself and do what these wonderful and inspirational women are doing.
So, what is unacceptable and inappropriate? Me, posing with my gym wear on? Me, lying on a bed with a ‘swimsuit’ style top on, in the comfort of my own home? Me, posing with a bikini on by the beach on holiday? I have came to realise that I can not please everybody. There are jealous people out there, nasty people, people that just do not like to see you getting on, progressing, becoming happy and content with your own life. These kinds of people are negative. No matter who they are – do not surround yourself with those kinds of people. It will eat away at you and you will be left feeling broken and empty. If you want to do something: Do it. Do not seek for other people’s approval. (Which is quite hypocritical of me to say as before I went ahead and wrote this post, I asked a few of my friends for their opinions. And do you know what? They told me to go for it.) If it’s something that you want – do not let anything stop you.
I am preparing myself for a whole load of negativity after I publish this post. I’m ready for it. I’ve been mentally preparing myself. I also know that there will be at least one other person out there who, like me, needed to be told that it’s ok to express yourself in whatever way you chose to do so. I chose to pretend I was fearless and confident and post pictures on the internet, followed with a heartfelt post, and tell people that I am going to stop letting them hold me back. I am not going to let people bring me down anymore or make me feel like I am nothing. These pictures are an example of how much I no longer give a damn (to be polite) about the unnecessary comments from irrelevant people.
When you post things like this on the internet, it makes you vulnerable. If you post anything online it exposes you. You must be ready for that. I am. I am ready for that because I have the most incredible family around me, an amazing boyfriend who endlessly supports me (and also took these photographs for me), wonderful friendships – in ‘real’ life and on the internet – mainly in the blogging community. I have developed such beautiful friendships with other bloggers online whom I have yet to meet. These friendships provide me with encouragement, motivation and support on a daily basis. I am eternally grateful to each and every one of these lovely individuals. They have no idea how much they have helped me recently. This post is for you lot. I know you will always have my back.
I’m just your average girl. I do not love myself but one day I will learn to. Each day is a stepping stone and I am embracing every opportunity that I can to enable acceptance of myself.
“Small minds can not comprehend big spirits. To be great, you have to be willing to be mocked, hated and misunderstood. Stay strong.”
“Transform criticism into creativity”.
Until next time
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All of these photos are my own.