I'll be on E4s Naked, Alone and Racing to get Home on Wednesday 6th October at 9pm along with 3 other contestants one of which is Chrissie Wunna, a lunchmate on Steph's Packed Lunch(!), though none of us knew each other before meeting naked at the top of a hill in the middle of nowhere.
For years I have suffered with anxiety and lack of self confidence when it comes to my body and for many women and girls this is their reality. I used to think twice about wearing shorts because of my thick thighs and when I decided to 'go with it' I would regret it the moment I got too far from home to quickly pop back and change. I had many clothes that would come out of the back of the wardrobe, get squeezed into before being thrown back into the wardrobe for "making me feel" uncomfortable. I was always feeling like I needed to lose weight, and when I lost weight I still felt that way about myself proving that the problem was nothing to do with my physical body.
So if its not about my body… what is it about?
This is where the self-love element comes in. The problem was not with my body its self but the way I saw my body.
Am I 100% there? No freaking way! Self-love is a journey. It has ups and downs. Some days you wake up feeling your boss self and others you feel like shying away. For example I got my period right before the show (Typical! I'm about to be naked for the next 3 days!!) so I had some insecurities around my stomach being bloated. But the more I remind myself that it really doesn’t matter how I look the more comfortable I'm becoming. You don’t have to wait to be a certain weight or look a certain way to do things. You can still go swimming with your friends and do fun things just as you are right now. That is your right.
When I was all out of self confidence, I knew it was time to work on myself. I did a yoga teacher training and was the biggest girl there and it added to my limiting beliefs that everyone was better than me and I didn’t fit in. I stuck with it, and along with reading inspiring books, attending self help seminars and a little coaching I finally got over what was holding me back. I embraced the importance of self-love.
Now this is all well and good but the real test comes when you put yourself out there and people say negative things about your appearance. It’s a big thing exposing yourself (pardon the pun), and doing that on TV is quite a vulnerable thing to do. But I reminded myself that I have the opportunity to show a ‘normal’ body on TV. There are a lot of shows where people look a certain way, so this was an opportunity to go and show a body which is different to that. I promote body positivity online, and saw this as a chance to practice what I preach. I can’t go around telling people to love themselves and preaching that if I am not willing to do that myself.
Naturally I was worried how I would react to the negativity that would come from being naked on TV. The show hasn’t even been aired yet and it’s already coming in thick and fast.
I've learned so much from being on Naked, Alone and Racing to get Home and I would love to share with you how I handle sexist, misogynistic online trolling (and let me remind you that its not just men who comment these things). I have a unique way of dealing with it and I'm going to share my 3 step process with you so you and others can benefit and feel confident showing up as yourself.
Remember they don’t know you, and you don’t know them, even if it's someone you actually know… you still don’t 'really' know them, what they have been through and what makes them feel this way. I like to remind myself how hurt people, hurt people. Happy people, don't.
You don’t have to believe what they think! You don’t have to believe what they say. You don’t even have to believe the things you think and say about yourself so why take on someone else's bullshit too? No one outside of you can tell you how to think about yourself.
Don't bite back! Especially if you're not feeling strong. People on the internet don’t hold back. Even if what they have said is stupid and ridiculous and you think you are going to change their opinion with your one, logical comment… you wont. They will literally go on the attack and hell hath no fury like an internet troll scorned. I am however guilty of liking comments from the people who defend my honour. And this also makes me laugh out loud, two people arguing over something I've done! Madness!
Find a way to laugh about it. I genuinely laugh out loud reading these comments! I read them as if I'm reading comedy. You can only do this if you disassociate from the comments, don’t take them on board and absorb them but let them bounce off you as if they were someone else's comments (because really they are). If someone says I look shit, I don’t care. If someone says I look great, I also don’t care. This is because I'm not taking on what they are saying… they're not good, they're not bad they just are. My friends keep checking in with me to see if I'm okay because I "should" care what others think and say. After all, that’s why we buy things right? To impress others. If we stop caring, we stop buying. Now there's some food for thought.
Below are two articles I have been in recently. The first about the upcoming episode and the second about the naked bike ride I did this summer. Which actually lead to me being on the E4 show. I did a video interview for Wales Online which you can see on the 2nd link. You can also see all the delightful comments :D