Body confidence and body image is something that I've always struggled with, I know everyone says that, but I think my relationship with body confidence and body image is slightly different to what the typical person has. When I was younger, before I hit the teenage years, I was relatively thin - my family commented on it quite a lot, not just my close knit family but also my extended family whenever I'd go to family parties. At the time when I was eight, nine and ten I don't think I realised how much it affected me until a certain comment was made once by a family member and I can remember the comment vividly.
I was sat in a family members house and they turned to my mum and said, "Chloe looks a bit bigger than she did last time, she looks different in that shirt." It was one of those moments that I now realised when that seed of self consciousness was planted in my mind for the simple fact that a family member had made that comment. I also remember that I was wearing my favourite shirt which was a tartan red, button down shirt which tied at the bottom and had no sleeves, when we got back home from that trip I threw that shirt out because I couldn't stand the idea that if a family member had said that, I didn't know what everyone else was saying.
However, I don't think it was until I entered my teenage years that I realised that what I did was because I was self conscious in my own body and realised that my body was changing in a way I didn't want it; my hips were getting bigger, I was getting boobs, I had a waist. I thought I was going to be happy with all of this, I'd finally feel like a grown up, but it only added to my self conscious thoughts about my body image. Knowing that I wasn't as thin as I used to be was a really big issue that I had to try and deal with, and it wasn't easy by a long stretch. I think the moment I realised I had to stop 'hating my body' if that's the right wording for it was when I was sat with my friends in the music room at lunch was and I was staring at my friends thinking 'I wish I could be as thin as they were' but then one of them said that they wished that they had my figure instead of being stick thin, they wished that they had a waist and an hourglass figure. That's when I realised that enough was enough. As much as I might have wanted to be thinner again there were people who wanted to look like I did.
Social Media is something that has had a massive affect on how I viewed and now view my body. With exercise, thigh gaps, stick thin models being shoved down my throat I really think that I got a twisted view on how I had to look. Social standards made me think the only way I could be successful was to be stick thin and tall, and that just wasn't and still isn't me. It never will be. I think there needs to be a change in social media to help promote people, not just girls, but people of all sizes and shapes because even though top magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan might not view people as 'beautiful' if they're not six foot tall and thin but the reality is that no one looks like that, not even models.
Over the past two years I've really become an advocate of being comfortable in your own skin. After an injury I had which landed me on crutches for ten months or so and having everyone stare at me and talk about me I realised that it didn't matter what other people thought, as long as I was happy that was all that mattered. I'm not saying it's been easy, there have definitely been moments where I've hated my body, especially when I started Sixth Form and everyone seemed to be so much thinner than me, but I think working through those has really helped me with my confidence. I think clothing has really helped me with my confidence. For a long time period I stuck with what I knew I looked okay in but over the past six months I've really started experimenting with what I wear because I've realised that if I feel confident in what I'm wearing then it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or says.
I still have moments of if I eat healthily and go to the gym then I'll get the body I really want but then I remember that I'm not that person who eats healthily or enjoys going to the gym, I have the appetite of a three-year-old and I think going to the gym would make me feel more self conscious compared to doing anything else. Taking charge of your own body and being able to stand in front of a mirror in your underwear and being able to say 'This is me and I'm happy with what I look like and that's all that matters' then you've done it. You've been able to overcome the backhanded comments and whisperings from your family, the stares of strangers or people in your year group when you wear something that they don't think looks right on you, and most importantly you've been able to overcome your own private thoughts about yourself.
Recently my friend asked me to do a photo shoot in order to help her with her art project for A Level and for the projections she wanted to do she told me that I had to stand in a classroom at school in my underwear. At first when she mentioned the idea I was so self conscious but I agreed to it because she's one of my best friends and I'd do anything for her. When the day of the shoot came I felt physically sick, I thought she wasn't going to like the photos because of how I looked etc., however, once she started taking the photos my confidence grew and she told me genuinely loved the photos. Upon seeing them I fell in love with them and the girl who was in the photos, this confident kick-ass girl and for the past couple of weeks I've really carried her close to my heart. At first I was just going to keep the photos to myself but because I felt so confident in my own body I've put a couple in here.
So what do I want to come from this blog post? That's a good question. I know that this blog post has sounded awfully braggy but that's not how I've meant it to sound. I wanted you to know that if you're suffering with body confidence and body image issues that you're not alone. It might be hard sometimes to really feel amazing in your own body but I can assure you that you're amazing, no matter how you look because you're kick-ass and as long as you feel confident then it doesn't matter. Also, don't forget that the celebrity you think looks perfect probably has days like you do, so don't think that they're any different to you.