It is another Friday! However, after the events on Tuesday I have sensed an understandable sad lull amoungst us. Therefore I have another fantatstic interview for you all, and I am super excited. Niamh is a body positive blogger with a passion for beautiful lingerie. I am very much enjoying seeing how different people have overcome their demons, and strive to lead a positive life. Find Niamh’s blog H Cup Chronicles and find her on Instagram as hcupchronicles. Here is what she had to say about her journey:
- At what age did you start becoming aware of your body and a pressure to look a certain way?
I’m pretty sure it was at a very young age. I remember feeling like I looked different from everyone else in primary school, because I was bullied and the bullies usually talked about my appearance. I was told I was fat, which I wasn’t. I think because I started developing earlier than everyone else and had my first bra at 10 years old, they thought I was weird. I started comfort eating around the same time because at such a young age I didn’t know how else to deal with it.
- Do you recall any defining moments in your past that negatively affected your body image?
One of the girls who bullied me in primary school made some really horrible comments about me and how fat I was, so for a long time I believed I was much bigger and heavier than I actually was. It became a vicious cycle of thinking I was fat and that that was bad, comfort eating, inevitably putting on weight and comfort eating more to deal with that. I never actually became “overweight” until my early twenties though. My mum was also always a really negative impact. She has her own body issues and projects that onto me and my sister. So many times stand out in my memory of her berating me for needing to go up a size in jeans (which is normal for a growing teenager), saying a girl my age shouldn’t have to wear THAT dress size, and that men wouldn’t want to go out with me because I was so fat.
- What has been the biggest struggle for you to overcome on your journey to self-acceptance?
Weight, and how it looks on my body. I’m naturally curvy and will never be thin with a flat stomach. My weight has fluctuated a lot over the years, and while I am lighter now than I was at my heaviest, I didn’t lose weight because I thought it would fix anything. I realised that certain foods were causing health issues and that exercise actually made me happy, so weight loss was just a natural result. The hardest thing I think has been having to listen to people’s compliments. At my lightest, people would constantly say how well I’d done to lose all the weight and I looked so much better. Did they think I looked awful before? I don’t like people to see me as an after, and even though I know it doesn’t matter what weight I am, it still got into my head that I was “better” at a certain dress size. So when I started to gain weight again earlier this year, I found it really hard to deal with because it’s so tied in with mental health. I don’t weigh myself because I find it extremely triggering, but I could see my body looked very different and my bras were not fitting. I started to hear those negative voices in my head again telling me I was worthless and ugly and that my girlfriend would stop being attracted to me. I had to learn to overcome that again. I know that it is an ongoing journey and I will probably have to go through this again, but at least now I think it’ll be a little easier each time I deal with changes in my body.
- What prompted you to start promoting body confidence on social media?
I’ve been so passionate about lingerie for a few years, since finding my true bra size and working as a bra fitter. I decided to start a lingerie blog and it seemed natural to post photos of myself in my lingerie. My body type is not typically represented, even in brands that make lingerie for larger cup sizes, so I thought it might help some women to see someone similar to them wearing the bras they like or wanted to try. When I first discovered body positivity and fat activism, it was seeing women who looked like me that really inspired me to try and love myself and my body as it is, so it kind of seems like a good way to give back to the community that gave me so much, and continues to do so.
- If you could give your teenage self some advice, what would it be?
You’re completely normal, and in no time at all you will have way too many other things to worry about to waste time worrying about what people think of you and your body! Your body looks the way it is meant to look.
- How has the body confidence community helped you stay body confident?
Just looking at photos of other bopo bloggers everyday helps me and motivates me. I definitely notice a difference in my mood and mental health if I scroll through a bunch of photos of women who more closely resemble me, compared to when I’m bombarded with images of one, unrealistic body type. I’m aware skinny shaming is a real thing and doesn’t help the body positive movement, but I still need to see myself represented and to see women with bodies like mine to feel like I’m normal and valid and beautiful. The honesty of many bopo bloggers also really helps me when I’m having low days. We’re all on this journey and not every day is perfect, and it’s nice to know we still all falter sometimes and that I’m not judged when I don’t feel positive about myself.
- Finally: if you are having a low self-confidence day, what do you say to yourself or do to remind you how amazing your body truly is?
I usually look at myself a lot in the mirror and focus on the bits that I really like, even when I’m feeling low. I take a lot of pictures of myself and make myself talk about the things I do like and try not to.
Big love to Niamh for telling us her truth. Honesty can be one of the most inspiring things when it comes to self-acceptance. Thank you, Niamh.