Campaign For Confidence is so much more than a mostly naked photo with strategically placed produce. It’s more than a Kale Yeah! Sticker stuck to a bathroom mirror. It’s more than a blog post… it’s a movement. It’s a celebration of our bodies + the journey to love them. The simple truth is that our insecurities run deep and it takes years of exploration, work and forgiveness to love + accept ourselves just the way we are. The path is flooded with tears, self-loathing and the ever present “I’ll start tomorrow” followed by one last pint of ice cream… sound familiar?
This blog series is devoted to telling the real life stories of the people behind the Campaign For Confidence photos.
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Contact us to share your story in a future Conversation on Confidence! You must join the Campaign via a photo submission to get in on the conversation.
See all posts in this series here.
THEN + NOW + TOMORROW
Q: Who were you before you joined the Campaign For Confidence? What early memories + experiences come to mind surrounding confidence + your body image?
A: If someone asked me 10 years ago what confidence in yourself meant I would have said "Not comparing yourself to others. Feeling great about your decisions - proud of the good ones and learning from the bad ones. Feeling great about your body and making choices that align with how you want your body to feel. Feeling good about your job" and a few other simple statements. However, what I have learned about confidence since joining Campaign For Confidence is that confidence isn't just about what the OUTSIDE world sees of you, it's about what your SPIRIT sees of you and that is HARD to put into simple statements. So, all that follows is not necessarily what confidence means to me, but my journey to define it for myself.
circa 2005. "Then" Molly. At a birthday party in a bar. Certainly happy looking but not real. Well on my way to being wasted and simply posing. Probably don't remember the night the next morning. Most likely got up and went to yoga hungover and stopped at McD's for a fountain diet coke after class!
In thinking about past events that have been part of my journey of defining confidence for myself, I thought back to one of the most significant emotional events in my early adult life. Break up with the first love. REAL love. In the months following that, I lost weight - too much. I couldn't eat and anything I did eat just seemed to vanish. I got down to a size 4 which at 5'9" is pretty waif-like. I felt HORRIBLE in my heart but I found comfort in watching my pant size drop. WHAT?!? After a year or so the pounds started to come back but the pain was still there. At that point I was suffering two kinds of pain - one heart pain, and one body image pain. I've never had an eating disorder but I certainly became disordered in my thinking about how I needed to treat my body in order to keep it "healthy."
At a much, much younger age on the beach during summer vacations, I used to hear my sisters and Mom say to each other "does my butt look like hers?" and other self comparative comments on the beach. I laugh about it now, but as an adult I see how those short moments started some subtle yet negative body image issues.
Q: Who are you now? What are you appreciating about your body lately?
A: I have been shy to talk about confidence as far as body image because I have heard more than once "What have you got to worry about? You have a near perfect body." I am grateful for the genes that gave me what I have, but the bottom line is EVERYONE suffers from body image issues. Society, psychology, chemistry of the brain - they all contribute to us wishing some things about ourselves our different. I wish I had bigger boobs, why have I had cellulite since I was 16 no matter how many pounds I lose?? I don't like my nose, my big hands, my pudgy toes or the way my eyes squint so much when I smile they look closed in 90% of the pictures I'm in. These are all thoughts that ran through my head constantly as a teenager, 20 something, 30 something. At 42, I appreciate my big hands (got those from my Dad who I LOVE beyond words), nothing I can do about cellulite and I can't see it unless I stare at my ass in a mirror so who cares, my toes are darn cute and it's another family trait to be proud of.
Q: What are you still working on? What are your goals in terms of self-confidence?
A: As I continue on this journey, one of my goals is to have one day where I look in the mirror and don't have ANY thoughts of what I wish was different about my body or guilt around the things I do to my body that don't honor it, but ONLY check in with how I FEEL. Do I feel sad? Mad about something that happened the day before or 3 months ago? Did I eat too much sugar last night? Too many glasses of wine? And if any of those answers are yes, make my goal of that day to turn it around. Revisit what I need to do to make choices that honor my body and spirit - not make them suffer. Another goal is to gain enough self-compassion that my "bad" habits are no longer needed. Enough that my body and mind will no longer welcome them.
Q: Was there a moment of truth in your life when everything changed?
A: August, 2000. I tried yoga for the first time because I hurt my knee from running but HAD to find some replacement exercise. I fell in love with it after the first class. I cannot possibly sum into a few paragraphs what a yoga practice has done for me in the last 13 years but one of the most important things is how it has taught me to take care of my mind, body and spirit. Those three are so intimately connected that they all need attention in order to feel WHOLE. To feel confident. To feel at peace with what was, what is and what will be. To trust that the path you are on is the right one, highs and lows and all. To trust YOURSELF.
Q: Will you tell us about the experience of taking your photo... of going for it?
A: I got naked, put some fruit in front of my boobs and let Lacy take my picture because I love her and truly believe the work she is doing and putting into this world is so needed and EFFECTIVE. BUT, I also had a revelation when she asked me if I would. I didn't hesitate. I had no "oh my gosh, for the interweb?" thoughts or "what will my family, friends and boyfriend think?".NONE OF THAT. So that was an "ah ha!" moment for me. CONFIDENCE. I didn't care what anybody else thought. It had nothing to do with what I would would like in that picture or who would see it but that everything to do with my spirit saying YES to participating in a movement that sends love and encouragement to everyone who needs it. Was having that picture taken and SEEING it online another building block of my self confidence in the positive? Absolutely. But it started with the question from Lacy and a nurtured spirit that loves my body unconditionally.
I am most alive, most myself near the ocean. Photo credit: Fifth Room Photography
Q: Is there one piece of advice you’d give someone who’s in need of encouragement regarding their body, body-image, self-confidence, food, or life in general?
A: My biggest piece of advice is to practice self-compassion and forgiveness (towards yourself and others). If you're not really sure what they mean, learn about them. These are utterly critical, I believe, in allowing yourself to do the work and stay on the path of reaching your goals. If you beat yourself down or blame someone or something else for every time you slip up or stray for a while, you will be spending more energy warding off those feelings than actually making any progress. It's a vicious cycle.
Thank you, Molly! I am so honored to share some of your story and to have you in my life! Love you big time!
You can connect with Molly via: Facebook
post format inspired entirely by Kelly Rae's Possibiltarian Project Interviews.