EMBRACING ME

I talk a lot about self-love, confidence and living your best life on here and that’s all good when trying to get OTHERS to love themselves, however, when it comes to me, the path is not so linear. When I often speak with my readers about the struggles they face and the confidence issues they have, I find it easy to tell them what is so awesome about themselves, because everyone is awesome and unique and has something that makes them amazing. In my case, I’ve just never been someone who has been able to take a compliment or embrace something about myself with full confidence. I can be cocky about it sure, but it’s almost all in jest. Some have said it’s good old British self-deprecation but for me, I think it runs a bit deeper.

A month ago I spoke to Metro about living with Cherophobia, which is a fear of happiness. Having Cherophobia means that I can never fully embrace any positive aspects of myself or be happy about my achievements for fear that either that happiness will not last, or that something could go terribly wrong. I’m slowly trying to rebuild my confidence and self-esteem after a traumatic year, and this means learning how to embrace me, my achievements and the things that make me happy.

I believe getting to know yourself and accepting/embracing your, flaws and all is such a huge step towards self-love, and it’s because of this that I’m thrilled to be collaborating with Curvissa on their new #EmbracingMe campaign, which is encouraging women to celebrate what they are most proud about themselves. I’d challenge you all to take part in this campaign, as you could win a pretty awesome prize if I do say so myself!

Tropical print top // Tropical print skirt // Trainers // Sunglasses

I’ve been thinking long and hard about things to embrace, and while there are quite a few, I’ve narrowed it down to two or three:

MY EYES

Yeah yeah, I KNOW this is a shallow one, but it’s an issue that I’ve lived with for a long time. I am not the biggest fan of my eyes. When I was younger, I had a slight squint in my right eye, and I still have it now although it’s a bit better. For as long as I can remember, I have also always hated the shape of my eyes; how round they are, how bulging they look, how they turn downwards so it always looks like I’m sad when I’m not – I just thought they were hideous and they are the reason why you hardly see me take a forward-facing photo. I’m trying to make my peace with them slowly but surely. While I don’t have 20/20 vision (-4 in each eye ffs), I am grateful that I have a pair of working eyes to allow me to see, albeit barely. I’m trying to embrace the shape of my eyes and to stop hiding behind my glasses. I have contact lenses that I wear for when I’m going ‘out’ out or for blog shoots, but 80% of the time you’ll see me with my Raybans on and it’s sort of become my comfort blanket. In this shoot, I purposely decided not to wear any makeup with the exception of red lipstick as my eyes do not look the best here, but fuck it. It’s me.

MY BUTT

Growing up in an African/black community, you’re often raised with certain ‘expectations’ of what a black female body ‘should’ look like. Being raised on hip-hop videos in the 1990s and 2000s taught me that in order to feel validated as a black woman, one should have a big butt. All the video girls had big asses. The black girls in school/college had big asses and had guys on their tails. My female family members all have generous behinds, yet I was born lacking in that department. For the longest time, it gave me a complex. Don’t get me wrong, my butt is big on the account of the fatness, but it’s not ’round and bouncy’ like you see with all the Instagram models knocking about. It’s disgusting that we’ve been brought up in a society that reduces a woman’s femininity and black validation to the size of her bumpa.

Again, some may see this as very shallow, but for me and other black women who grew up not feeling ‘part of the crew’ because of their non-gelatinous behinds, it can be a very isolating feeling. Having a ‘traditionally curvy’ figure, complete with big breasts, big hips, and a big butt is what separates black women from every other race. It is why you have the Kylie Jenners and Kim Kardashians of the world buying their body parts in order to attract black men. It’s attractive, and so when you are part of a community that buys into this ideal, yet don’t have the attributes, you can feel like an outsider. Well starting now, I’m going to try and embrace this part of me. A few years ago I seriously considered getting a BBL (Brazillian Butt Lift) or something similar because I was so unhappy, but now, I’m going to try and embrace it and live my best non-big-ass life, because I am more than my body.

INTROVERT/AWKWARDNESS/SHYNESS

“But Steph! You’re so bubbly and funny on Twitter!”

Yeah but that’s Twitter though. It’s not to say that I’m selling you guys a fake personality on there, absolutely not. How I display myself online is exactly how I am offline. The issue arises when I’m around people. I have this terrible awkwardness that makes me sound like an absolute blubbering fool at times. I’m am exceptionally introverted and being around large groups of people takes a lot of my energy. Growing up, however, people saw my “introvertness” as rude, or impolite, so I forced myself to try and be as outgoing and as bubbly as possible. Why? Because people love bubbly women. We love the life and souls of the parties. Men love a super confident, outgoing woman. So I forced mysel, but failed miserably.

Sometimes when I’m around people, in order to curb the silence I’ll just start talking randomly about absolute shit. The introvert in me always needs to think thoroughly about what i’m going to say before I say it. I really take the time to process what I’m going to talk about before I chat to a person. I think about whether they will find it funny, or insightful, or engaging. I think about how to deliver what I’m going to say. I think about what I’m going to say after their reaction. I really go balls to the wall in my mind about this, and because of this long thought process, the atmosphere becomes awkward as hell because i’m taking too long to think about what to say.

So what do I do? I start blabbing, and my mouth moves before my brain has had a chance to think about what to do, and it comes out as awkward. This can sometimes manifest itself in conversations with the opposite sex too. I don’t have any witty, brilliant opening lines. I can’t flirt. I sometimes don’t see myself as funny and sometimes, I’m not quite sure what my personality is, or why some people like it, but it’s a part of myself that I want to start embracing. I don’t want to change who I am to get people to like me, and if they don’t like how I am, they were probably never meant to be in this chapter of my life. So we all just have to deal!

CURVISSA COMPETITION

So! I’ve shared mine, are you ready to share yours? There’s no harm in trying, as you could be in with a chance of winning £1000 TUI holiday vouchers! All you need to do to enter is fill out the form on the Curvissa Facebook page, or you can hop on Twitter or IG, tag @curvissa and talk about what you want to embrace about yourself! Make sure you tag @Curvissa and use the tags #EmbracingMe and #FeelGood.

You can also enter here on the Curvissa website. The competition runs until the 30th of June, so what are you waiting for?? Good luck!

Please see the Curvissa website for full t&c’s.
This blog post was written in collaboration with Curvissa. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always!
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