Victoria, 33, from Bristol is a LGBT+ mother of three young children and on a journey to body confidence. Realising from an early age that she was different and didn’t fit into society’s standards of normal, especially with her body image and sexuality, it has taken her a long time to feel confident in herself and stop caring about social stigma.
She’s joined the Be Real Ambassador team to help spread the message of body confidence and help others begin or continue on their own journey of self-discovery and acceptance.
“The seeds for my body image struggles were planted in primary school, and it wasn’t until secondary school that they started to develop into conscious issues. But it is as an adult that I have had the most issues with body confidence.
“I hit puberty very early at the age of nine years old and started developing a few years before my peers did. Being the first girl in your entire school to wear a bra, not just a crop top or vest, it becomes very obvious very quickly that you are different.
“Your friends unhook your bra and ping your straps because it’s funny, you look different and they treat you differently.
“For me, the biggest challenge when it comes to being confident in my own skin is the unrealistic body images seen in the media. The constant pressure to have the perfect teeth, breasts, stomach, thighs, eyebrows, weight, dress size and more can drive you crazy.
The way I felt about my body changed dramatically when I stopped playing society’s number game. All my life I have had it drummed into me that numbers matter, everything from your age, weight, height, clothes size and more. The biggest changes in my body confidence journey came when I stopped caring about clothing sizes, stopped weighting myself and accepted my so called ‘flaws’.
“I realised that when it comes to clothes, different styles, brands and fabrics are all cut differently, some smaller, some larger. Some have stretch, some don’t. Some flowed with my curves, others fought against them. I focused instead on how they made me feel. If they looked the way I wanted them to look and made me feel the way I wanted to feel then I didn’t care about the number on the label.
“I am naturally curvy, my whole family is. I have hips, boobs and a bum but I don’t have the height that other people do to balance it out. I stopped obsessing over my BMI and the ‘ideal weight range’ and having that defined flat and toned stomach and abandoned the thigh gap I knew I’ll never have.
“When I finally accepted my flaws for what they are, the beautiful story of my journey through life everything changed for me.
“My stretch marks for example, on my hips, thighs and breasts tell my journey into womanhood. The ones on my stomach tell the story of my journey into motherhood. My scars tell a story of a life lived fully, of sacrifices made and chances taken.
“I know that I’m am still work in progress when it comes to body confidence, I think I always will be. But to me, body confidence isn’t something that once you find it, never goes away. It’s something that requires constant effort. Whether that’s overcoming negative comments, looking past the images you see in the media or the comparisons we make daily between ourselves and everyone around us.
“I wish I could tell every person just how amazing and beautiful they are. And although times may get tough, you are not alone, you are loved and you are enough.”
Do you feel inspired by Victoria? Find out how you can become a Be Real Ambassador.