If you watch the vlogs, then you’ll know that I’ve been working hard on my Final Major Project (FMP) over the last few weeks and you’ll also know that I’ve managed to finish it! This means I’m officially free until October of all college work, which is great, but also a little daunting.
Before I totally leave my FMP behind though I wanted to share it with you all and have a little chat about body image.
Now you’re probably thinking “What on earth do those two things have in common?”, which is an excellent question, so allow me to answer it. For FMP I chose the topic ‘Journey’ and after a lot of back and forth, cancelled plans due to lockdown and a bit of sulking, I chose to do my project on my ‘Journey with my body’.
I think everyone battles with body image at some point in their lives and it is becoming more and more of a problem in today’s world. I don’t want to go too much into that because I don’t feel I really know enough to form an opinion on it, but I did just want to talk a little bit about my journey with my body and show you the photos I took to represent it at the same time.
[TW: I’m going to be talking about weight, eating habits, body image and briefly mention eating disorders – please DON’T read if you think it might trigger you in any way! <3]
Below are the 9 self-portraits I took for this project:
I did a whole behind the scenes video of this shoot, so if you’re interested in that, then you can check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZvoaT4XSBk
Due to the lockdown, I wasn’t able to create images quite as high quality as I usually would because I didn’t have access to any lights, but I think I made the natural light work and really the light is secondary to the subject of the photos
My idea behind these 9 images was that as you looked from left to right the poses would become more confident, I would be happier in my own skin and also there would be more flowers in the later photos. I wanted to show how my attitude to my body had changed over time, which I think I achieved pretty well.
Enough of that though because this isn’t an evaluation for college! Let’s talk about my actual journey that the photos represent…
Body image is a very complicated thing, but having issues with your own body image is unfortunately incredibly common. I had my issues with my body as much as everyone else does. For years I had a very skewed perspective of what my body looked like and genuinely didn’t understand how skinny I used to be. I’ve put quite a lot of weight on since then (thankfully), so I’m no longer as skinny as I once was, but that brought with it a whole host of other issues.
I really hated my body when I was in my early teen years. My body type was very different then to how it is now, but in my mind by body has always looked the same. I really never had a concept of how I looked when I was younger, so I just felt insecure. I spent years hiding my body, but as my mental health improved and once I was out of the school system I started to put weight on again. I had been incredibly skinny because I couldn’t eat at school or I would feel like I was going to throw up. School made me incredibly anxious and that doesn’t go well with a full belly.
Once I started putting weight back on and I was happier in myself I started to understand how skinny I had been and got a better idea of what my body actually looked like. That then brought up a whole host of other issues though. Now that I understood weight and size, I wanted to go back to being skinny. I never had an eating disorder and honestly I never had any eating disorder behavours. I just carried on eating as I always did before school made me incredibly anxious and put a healthy amount of weight on. The problem that while I was now a healthy weight and eating better I still didn’t feel any better about my body.
I felt just as insecure and hated my body just as much as I had when I was super skinny. The only difference was that I now understood what size I was. I spent months hating my body, but not doing anything about it. Eventually I got fed up with hating myself though and realised it wasn’t productive, so I started changing my mindset. I realised that I didn’t matter what size or weight I was because I felt just as insecure as a size 18 (UK) as I did when I was an 6. I didn’t need to change my body, I needed to change how I thought about it.
It took a good long while, but eventually I managed to change the way I looked at myself and learnt to love my body and what it did for me and with that came the confidence I have now. I suffer with a lot of different mental conditions, but thankfully my body is pretty functional, which is something I really wasn’t appreciating before.
I’m still not always happy with how I look and I would like to be a little fitter (not thinner) because I want to be able to walk further and do more things before I get tired, but that will probably have to wait until after the lockdown when I can go out for long walks again.
I know that was quite heavy, so well done if you made it this far! I’m much happier in myself these days, so no need to worry about me.
Let’s bring it back to the photos now. I wanted to show the journey I’ve just shared through the images and how I went from very insecure and not understanding or liking my body, to accepting and celebrating it. I think the flowers are particularly useful at representing this part of my journey.
What do you think of my images? Do you have any tips for learning to love your body?
I hope you’re all staying safe during this time and loving yourselves to the best of your ability.
Goodbye for now!
Over and Out