A few years ago, posting a picture like this would not have been possible. In fact, no pictures like this exist of me from a few years ago. They were instantly deleted before anyone could see them. The idea of sharing a photo of me in swimwear, showing all the perceived flaws of my body was inconceivable.
If I’m honest, I have a little tingle of sweat breaking out at the thought of doing it now. This photo shows my double chin, my ample belly, the indentations on my thigh as my fat is caught wobbling against gravity. So why would I share it now? Because even though I still see all those things – I also see the joy in my face. Joy at being able to be outside on a gorgeous beach at sunset, leaping around freely and revelling in what my body is capable of.
Earlier this week I attended my first ever modelling shoot as part of the Cossie Confidence Crew with Sequins & Sand. Sixteen wonderful women met at Kingscliff to be part of a movement that encourages women to get past their fears and get in their bathers so they can enjoy summer. For the last few years, I’ve been actively involved in the positive body image movement and I’ve heard countless stories from women who simply could not imagine being seen in public in a pair of togs. Many women who wouldn’t even put a pair on in their own backyard for fear of judgement from their family and friends. I could relate to that. I’ve been the one who sat beside the pool pretending I wasn’t hot enough to swim, while trying to hide the sweat rolling down my face. I’ve feared people seeing my flabby thighs, my belly apron and the abundance of brown spots all over my legs from seborrheic keratosis. You’ve gone back to see if you can spot them now, haven’t you? They didn’t show up much in the main photo – so I’m bravely posting another picture below that shows them in all their glory. Those spots represent the last part of my body I need to accept, as I’ve been embarrassed by them for so long. I can’t even stand my husband touching my thighs because I worry he’ll be disgusted by the feel of them. Of course, he isn’t. But oh, our inner dialogue if fucking loud sometimes! I also acknowledge that these photos are quite flattering as I had professional hair and makeup artists for the day. I definitely don’t look like that normally – so I’ve also shared my before and after shots below.
So why am I sharing these photos? No, I haven’t changed career paths to become a swimsuit model, despite the fact that my Linkedin profile does list that! I just know that on my journey to embrace my body as it is and love it for all it can do, I was motivated by seeing other women share their photos. So, my hope is that by posting this picture, and the many others I’ll be sharing over the summer, somebody out there sees it and thinks – I can do that too. You don’t have to post pictures of yourself in togs – although I’d love to see them if you do – tag me and use the #CossieConfidence or #Ihaveembraced hashtags so I can see it. However, if reading this encourages you to try something new this year, to get off the sidelines and be active, brave and grateful – then I’m forever proud to have been a part of your journey.