No, I’m not pregnant.
This is me. Me on a normal day, the real me without tensing my stomach or breathing in. I have a little belly, and even though she’s not the ‘ideal body’ set by media standards, she is me. And it’s about time we start accepting that.
I would hate anyone to come to any one of my social media pages and feel insecure, jealous or self-loathing. I want women, young and old, to feel empowered, strong, confident and, above all, content in their bodies and lives, and so here I am, baring it all… literally.
I invited Rebecca (one of my favourite photographers to work with) to come and help shoot ‘me and my belly’ in all our glory, and honestly, it was both completely liberating and really shocking at the same time. I discovered that whenever Becca lifted her camera, my initial response, without consciously realising it, was to stand taller and breathe in. It seems I have conditioned myself to ‘suck in’ and tense my stomach muscles whenever someone gets a camera out, and that is heartbreaking. I had become part of the problem. Not only was I looking at Instagram and feeling self-loathing for not having a flat tummy like the people I was following, but I was adding to that lie by doing the exact same thing myself!
I literally had to keep reminding myself throughout the shoot that it was okay to just RELAX and breathe normally – accepting my tummy for all it is, and you know what? It felt incredible! I began to feel sexy, confident and completely in control! This is something I’d like to encourage everyone to experience! Maybe, if we all join together and start posting our ‘real’ bodies, our little tums, our stretch marks, our spots, then I am pretty certain that on the whole we might start becoming more accepting of ourselves, of each-other, and to feel more comfortable in our skins – we might actually STOP comparing ourselves to one-other!
I feel with real passion that, as ‘influencers’, or people with a following, we should give realistic expectations of our lives, whether that be body, feelings, mental health or relationships, so, right here and now, I encourage you all to share your beautiful stomachs with the hashtags #LetItOut #BeBellyBold
Ladies, please let’s vow to keep it more real on social media? Let’s let it out, don’t suck it in, let’s embrace and love and share our incredible bodies, and in turn, let’s help others to become more accepting of themselves.
Photographs by the wonderful Rebecca Need-Menear.
Inspired by a post by @lisaeileen_.