It might come as a surprise to some of you to discover that I haven't always had the confidence instilled in me today. I haven't always had the courage to try new things, put myself out there, or the inclination to meet new people. For a long time I liked to blend into the background afraid of the spotlight ever shining my way.
I thought way to hard about the way I looked, how the world would perceive me. I spent so much time getting ready because I never felt like I was enough, I would wash my hair, dry my hair and straighten my hair before allowing myself to leave the house. Pony tails were a big 'no no' as I felt they made my face look odd and drew attention to my nose. My hair was worn down and straight, day in and day out. It was my way of making me feel like I was acceptable now to face the world.
If people whispered I would automatically assume that it was something to do with me. Was there something on my back? Had I got food on my face? I never felt part of a group although I would never let on. You see along with my insecurities I was also very proud. I felt that by drawing attention to any of those things, I was just making a rod for my own back, because if people knew about my insecurities, if they truly knew these things were a issue in my heart and in my mind, they ultimately had the power to destroy me.
I could never get my head around people sharing their insecurities, people saying 'I'm to fat' out loud for the world to hear. I could never bring myself to say them out loud. Never. I didn't want to draw that negative attention to myself, I didn't want people to know that I felt that way.
Looking back on it all now, no one really would have had a clue. I was a fantastic magician and anything I did feel was buried so deep within me that no one would ever know. No one knew that I was to scared to show the 'real me', that I was afraid no one would like me, that I wished I had a bigger chest or wished I could change my body, to be skinnier and prettier, that I felt like an outsider or that I really wasn't happy in my skin.
When I write it all down i'm aware I sound like a manic depressive but it wasn't like that. These thoughts would pop into my mind, but I shrugged them off, they didn't consume me. Although I wasn't confident I was strong willed and never without a smile. In fact to anyone reading this who knows me in real life, I imagine these revelations are not something they would have ever thought ran through my mind. I was far from quiet around people I knew, but put me in a class at school with people I didn't really know, you would get an entirely different person. I would sit there and not say a word unless I was spoken to, and even then it was short and sweet.
Friends would describe me as loud and the teachers would tell my parents how quiet I was.
It has taken me years to truly feel happy in the skin I am in. I no longer look at other women and think 'Wow. I wish I had her legs, her tummy or her arms'. I look in the mirror and there is no one else I would want to be. I have accepted that I am who I am. I am the very best version of me that I can be. It's taken me a long time to reach this mind set but through working on myself I have found that sanctuary.
Today my hair is mainly up in a pony tail, I don't care how it makes my face look. I usually rock out of bed late and a pony tail is the quickest way to a half decent hair style that I can muster before I have to fly out of the door. I usually head straight to the gym from the school run, so having my hair out of my face is the only real option. I rarely straighten my hair these days, I get out of the shower, blow dry it, and 9 times out of 10 put it back in a pony tail. I haven't even had a hair cut or colour since June last year, and I am closer to my natural hair colour than I have been in over 10 years.
Today my new found confidence has over spilled into my everyday life. I am no longer scared to drive on motorways, or do things completely on my own. I don't need someone to hold my hand and I love a new challenge.
Any anxiety I once felt has been completely blown away.
Today I look for adventure in everything that I do, I no longer hide away in the corner. I meet new people all of the time, and I make friends so much more easily than I used to. I no longer feel like an outsider looking in, and I have an incredible group of friends who I know would have my back through anything and everything.
Im not afraid to stand out anymore. Im not afraid to shine. Im not afraid to show who I really am. Not everyone is going to like me, and do you know what? That is absolutely fine. I can't change that but I would rather be hated for being myself then accepted or tolerated because of who I choose to represent.
My mind set was changed slowly and over time, as I began following Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide, exercising regularly, seeing my body change and slowly but surely learning to love myself. The journey has not just changed my body but it has reset my mind set. I now no longer care what people think about me, I don't care about rocking to the super market after an intense work out at the gym, I don't care if anyone see's me rocking my worst outfit combined with my uggs or if my hair is drenched with sweat.
I don't care.
It wasn't a quick fix, it didn't happen over night, but over time I have finally got to my happy place.
Life is far to short to care all of the time, and for the first time in my entire life I feel content with just being me. It wasn't about changing myself for other people, I made changes so that I was happy with myself. Being happy on the inside has radiated through my body and reflects out to for the world to see, today I smile more, and I laugh more.
Now if someone asks 'Who does she think she is!?' I have no problem standing up, looking them straight in the eyes and saying 'this is ME!'.