I hated my body.
Just stop and think about those words for a second. Take them in. Really take them in. Are they words you've ever used to describe your relationship with your body? They were the opening words Tatia spoke in a chat we had about her body confidence journey.
For much of her life, Tatia had always felt at war with her body. That constant pressure, that exhaustive stress put enormous strain on her relationships with others through out her life; her mother, her husband, friends.
At 42, that began to change.
The Epiphany - Her Turning Point.
Looking back at photos of her 40th birthday, there was not of her in them. She was the one taking them. They were away at a beautiful resort, there to celebrate and mark her 40th birthday in a special way, and she missed it. Missed the opportunity to make amazing memories and capture them.
It was on her 42nd birthday when she said to her husband, I've had enough. If I'm lucky I'll have another 45 years or so, I'm about half way and I'm not going to live the rest of my life like I have the past - at war with my body. She had to change herself first so that she could help others. So Tatia went on a 4 day yoga retreat.
As cliche as it may sound, that's where 'the epiphany' took place. A moment of clarity, so real, she could not ignore it. A vision of what her life might have looked like had she not been at war with her body.
From hating her body to accepting it.
An avid reader (and brilliant writer), Tatia began to research and read about how to turn her hatred into something more positive. Becoming more aware of how she spoke about her body and how she felt about it. Turning negative thoughts and talk into more positive expressions. Focusing on what her body could do rather than what she saw.
Tatia reallised that she was blaming her body for how she felt inside. Her low self-esteem, poor self-worth.
What was I telling my daughter?
It was about this time that Taryn Brumfitt's Embrace documentary was released and Tatia went to see it. Much of what the documentary talked about, she related to. But it was a conversation Taryn was having with her daughter that hit Tatia hard. What messages, what example was she setting for her 13 year old daughter? The last thing she wanted for her daughter was to be at war with her body.
A way for the documentary to reach many was for people to host screenings and invite others to watch. It was at Tatia's private screening that a young girl came up to her and gave her a big hug and said "thank you for showing this to me."
That sealed the deal. Tatia knew then that she had to do more to help the body image cause.
A Cossie Confidence Crew Member - That Confronting Photo
It was through her involvement with The Body Image Movement that lead to Tatia becoming a proud Cossie Confidence Crew Member. We have Jane Gardner, fellow BIM ambassador at the time, to thank for that (see the photo below of Tatia and Jane in their blue cossies).
But shoot one in 2018, whilst fun, triggered self-doubt and her self-esteem took a backwards step. In her mind she was fine, but seeing herself in this photo, set her back. The irony is that when others saw photos from the day, the one that they most appreciated and loved was that very photo that set Tatia thinking negatively about her body.
It's often the way. The negatives we see in ourselves, others don't. Our minds play a very powerful role in how we feel about our bodies. She pushed through, leaning into the fun we were having and the support of other women around her. And she's never looked back.
4 Shoots Later...
Now she's the queen of the shoot! Taking newbies under her wing, showing the way. I honestly couldn't imagine doing a Cossie Confidence Shoot with out Tatia. She helps make it all happen on the day. And as for the photos...see for yourself.
Tatia's Tips to help your Body Confidence, your Cossie Confidence.
1. Reframe your thinking.
Repeatedly and consciously turn negative thoughts about how your body looks, to positive things your body does for you. Know this can take time. For example:
- My belly is huge and I don't like it...... to.....My belly has housed my beautiful babies.
- My thighs are fat and rub together.....to....My legs are strong and help me walk the dog.
- My arms are flabby.....to.....My arms give great hugs.
2. Stop striving for perfection
Appreciate the beauty in imperfection. Like the Japanese concept, Wabi-Sabi.
3. Address what is going on underneath
Our bodies often take the blame, are the vehicle we choose to use to bring out how we feel and think about ourselves. Address what's going on underneath and how you feel about your body will change too.
Please Seek help.
If you are really struggling to feel good about your body and it's having a negative impact on your life, then please reach out to a qualified mental health professional. Start with your trusted GP who can help refer you. Organisations like Butterfly (1800 33 4673) and Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636) are a great place to start too.
What will my life look like, now I'm not at war with my body?
What a wonderful reframe. Make those memories. Do those things. Do all the things. In midlife, you're half way there (if you're lucky). It's time to make it count. This is not a dress rehearsal. Thanks Tatia.
If you'd like to feel supported in your summer confidence journey, then I invite you to join our community of like-minded women seeking to do the same. We hang out on social media in our private Facebook group Women 40+, Self Love, Body Love, Summer Confidence.
We also have a paid membership community, The Summer Confidence Society where the transformation from unsure to confident in a swimsuit is possible. Covering Mindset, Style and Wellness it is a wonderful place to learn, connect and grow.
Shop for your Swimsuits and Resortwear over on www.SequinsandSand.com.au where you'll find the popular Shape & Size Calculator to get you on your way.
We can't wait to welcome you where ever you'd like to connect.
To your summer confidence.
Founder, Sequins and Sand.