On Tuesday my husband and I went off for a rare night away and before stopping at Stratford-upon-Avon we took a detour to Bourton-on-the-Water.
Bourton-on-the-Water is a special place to me as it’s a place I used to visit with my grandparents as a child. Many a sunny day would be spent paddling in the water, drinking tea and begging for another go on the tombola stall (I’ll never forget the blue Filofax I won one year, how I chewed my Nanny’s ear off telling her all the lists and plans I would make in it).
A lot has changed for me since those early years, as it does for everyone, and going back was a chance to reminisce and feel close to those no longer with me.
I wanted a couple of photos to remember the day so I got my husband to take a couple of shots (photos not tequilas) and as soon as I looked at them I felt my mood dip a little. My stomach is in a flare up, my body isn’t what it used to be (in every sense) and I felt like I looked bloated and chunky. I came off my phone and brushed it to one side, never dreaming that the photos would see the light of day.
But today I looked again and I thought, screw it! I look happy, we’d just shared a joke and we’d had a really lovely morning together, today I viewed the photo differently.
I’ve had issues with food, over exercising and body confidence for as long as I can remember and the body changes that surgical menopause slapped me with have been hard to adapt to, but I am trying.
I am so thankful that I didn't grow up in a world with filters, it was hard enough as it was.
I'm thankful that my childhood isn't on the internet, yet I have shared pictures of my own children's childhoods.
The pictures we share, the image we portray, are we all subconsiously branding ourselves?
In the work I do I talk to young people (and their parents and teachers) ALL the time about talking kindly to yourself, about treating yourself like your best friend, about how true self-worth comes from within. We get there by having good relationships around us, by understanding our emotions, by recognising and then interrupting negative thought patterns. We don’t get there overnight.
My story from 8 to 40 years old is a long one, those who attend my talks or training sometimes hear snippets but it’s an ever evolving journey of acceptance and i’m learning to share my story with those who make me feel safe and loved.
If I’m to be a role model to my children and the young people I work with then I believe I should walk the talk.
Why do we post things on social media? I’m not sure, I don’t think a lot of us know and I think we should all ask ourselves that question from time to time.
What I do know is that whilst it’s out there I want to be a dose of reality, trusted and safe. I want to show life, not poses.
I want to show unfiltered images, real colours, real highs, real lows. So from today there will be no more filters. I can’t share it all, I have to look after myself first and foremost, but I promise to be authentic with what I do share.
So I share me. Happy me, reminiscing on a beautiful sunny Tuesday with the man I love, there is no filter needed for that.