Photography by Simon Brown
Disclaimer: no retouching, photoshopping or airbrushing on these images
This post is sponsored by Elomi
I'm not sure if its the environment in which I was raised, or its simply just who I've been from birth, but I am definitely the type of person who rises through adversity. For as long as I can remember I have used my pain for passion and whatever curve balls life has thrown at me, I have somehow used them to my advantage. I'm strong, so strong, but that's because I've had to be. As a child I didn't like other people seeing me cry, so I would internalise whatever I felt and I'd only let it out at night - when I was by myself. On the flipside though, I was happy for other people to cry in front of me, I'd even encourage it because I didn't like the thought of another person going through stuff alone. As I entered adult life, these characteristics stayed with me. In every friendship I seemed to form, I became the 'strong' friend. The one who had her shit together, the one that had great advice and the one who would listen to other people's problems, before she catered to her own.
I guess up until recently, I didn't think how I felt actually mattered. In past relationships my feelings were constantly proven as invalid and when you become so used to having your guard up to protect yourself from emotional or physical pain, you dismiss anything that deems to threaten that - even your own intuition.
I was never empowered to listen to my gut so I always chose to ignore it. When I felt scared, worried, sad, panicked, frustrated, fear or shame - I would dismiss those feelings as weakness 'I am anything but weak'. I lived my life simply getting on with things and I was surviving in emotional and environmental chaos. It was unhealthy yes, but it was my normal. The facade that 'everything's fine' was something I was able to upkeep literally until 2016. Putting on a pretence was all I had ever known but the walls I had built so strong and high were about to come crashing down & in doing so, the most unexpected things would began to happen.
When I truly started to love myself from the inside out, and work on all the emotional baggage i had been carrying with me, i realised the true meaning of strength. strength is admitting that you're not happy, or that you've been pretending for quite sometime. strength is crying and screaming and breaking down. strength is admitting someones hurt you, or that you've been hurting yourself. strength is letting open wounds heal. strength is being weak. strength is being vulnerable.
When I started to allow myself to really feel, I opened myself up to a world of strength I didn't know existed. I soon realised that yes I was strong, but I was also damaged and slightly broken and I needed to connect to my trauma and give myself permission to be vulnerable in order to grow. there is strength in vulnerability and that is honestly one of the most powerful and beautiful epiphany's I have ever had.
For the past year and a bit I have been tirelessly working on learning to be comfortable when feeling vulnerable. From allowing myself to cry during my therapy sessions to recognising that its okay to feel any of the things that I feel. I've also been pushing myself in terms of body positivity and rediscovering what my body looks like and also what it can do. Posting photos of myself on the internet in underwear is also vulnerability because my body is deemed unacceptable by some, so living life and not hiding away is pretty radical and empowering to not only myself, but other women too. I am still learning to enjoy lingerie because for so long, I didn't appreciate my body in its roundness or fullness - the very things that make me sexy. Dressing my body in anything other than big knickers and comfy bra's is completely out of my comfort zone but I know that I cannot grow inside of it.
My body is big, bold and beautiful, but it is also gentle and playful and silky. The world is so hard and yet in every way I remain soft, and that brings me a sense of peace. Celebrating myself has allowed me to expand on my self love and with that, brings the courage for vulnerability.
Shop Elomi Lingerie Here