When I was growing up at secondary school, I had incredibly low self-esteem. In fact, in my early twenties I had to train myself to begin walking with my head up, because I was so low in confidence I couldn't bring myself to lift my face up to the world. As I hit puberty I became more aware of things like my skin complexion and I became obsessive about checking it - always trying to blot any excess oil, or redo my makeup to feel try and feel a bit better about myself (didn't work, btw). Back then, there was no self-love inspiration for when you feel at war with your body, you just went to war, and there wasn't ever any winners.
The thing is, I went to an all girls school and I either imagined it, or someone said it to me, but I became acutely aware of how vain this seemed, and I was desperate for people to know I wasn't vain, I was in fact, cripplingly insecure and that mirror checking was down to paranoia, not adoration of my own face.
Body positive wasn't a thing back then. Having confidence was seen as vain or big-headed, and I had somewhere learnt that being an insecure girl was what the world wanted, and it's also what I was. I don't like pictures of myself, but I think I would be more accepting of them if I hadn't grown up so worried that people were mistaking my low self-esteem mirror checking for vanity.
This has stayed with me my entire life, to the point where I can genuinely scroll through my phone and not see a picture of myself for a year or two, and every photograph I do have I dislike. It's also become that thing when you get a compliment and you dismiss it with 'Oh you haven't seen me without make-up', or 'It's all I could find to wear'. I am constantly putting myself down to others - why? To make them feel more comfortable, to make them like me more, to let them know I don't think much of myself? I don't know, but I know the roots of it and at 30 years old, it has to stop.
I know how shitty it can feel to not love your appearance or want it to be different every day of your life for years and years, but we are so lucky that we're living in time when people all over are cerebrating their bodies, all shapes and sizes, and are encouraging body positivity.
When living with endometriosis has got you dealing with bloating, inflammation, hormonal skin, tired eyes, pain and a body that can feel like it's struggling all the time, it's hard. There's no doubt about it. Some days it's really tough to shift these feelings, so this week I've written about my favourite brands and accounts for self-love inspiration for when you feel at war with your body. You can read the full column here on Endometriosis News.