Admittedly, this is probably something I should have posted a little bit earlier in 2020, but I struggled to get out the content I’d already planned, so anything extra was definitely a bit unrealistic. Anyway, towards the end of 2019, there were loads of people doing the Ten Year Challenge. I had a go at it on my Instagram on NYE while I was pretty hammered, but afterwards I decided I wanted to post something a little more in depth. As you’ve probably read on my blog before, you’ll know I have a fair few confidence issues when it comes to how I look, and over the years that’s definitely changed too. I’ve spoken a lot about my mental health over the years, so today I wanted to address my appearance over the years and talk about how my own opinion of how I look has changed.
Jeez. This picture is literally just all the tits. This was taken on the night of my 18th birthday party. I bought myself a new dress and my mum roped in one of her friends to do my hair. At 18, my teeth were freshly straightened after having my brace off just a few months earlier, and where I was on a marvellous contraceptive pill that virtually eliminated my horrendous periods, I was also gifted with a cracking pair of tits. Is that a bit too crude? I don’t care. They were my best asset back in the day. I distinctly remember, this was one of the first occasions where I actually liked how I looked in a photo. At this time I’d been with Liam for just over a year, and he would regularly tell me I was pretty, which of course I would instantly fob off. However, I remember looking at this picture and thinking “maybe I’m not a total uggo.”
Oh dear. It was all going so well. This was taken on New Year’s Eve when I was fairly drunk (on vodka, those were the days) so it wasn’t exactly my best angle. I was wearing a horrific pair of glasses that did not fit me at all, thanks to my decision to buy them from Tesco Opticians (I was a student – Clubcard Points were EVERYTHING). I won’t lie, 2011 was not my best year for looks. It was one of the years where I regularly looked in the mirror and hated what stared back at me. I’ll be honest with you, in my 2011 folder, this was one of about 3 photos of just me on my own. Purely because a nice photo of me by myself felt non-existent. Believe it or not, this was the best photo of just me from my 2011 folder.
Don’t worry, there’s a story behind this penguin sculpture. It wasn’t just for shits and gigs. For my 20th birthday, Liam adopted me a penguin at Dudley Zoo, and this was taken on my first trip to their Penguin Bay exhibit. It was amazing – you could get so up close to the penguins and it was literally the most magical thing ever. Unfortunately, I was not one of those bloody spoilt kids that got to get in the pen and feed them. We asked, and even mentioned that I was an adopter – but no. Spoilt bratty kids only. As we were leaving, we clocked this little statue of a Humerboldt penguin and decided to get a snap, given I wasn’t going to get one with a real penguin. By this point, I’d started my first opticians job, so I was wearing a much more suitable pair of glasses, and to be honest, it was one of those days where it was just windy AF, so I basically gave up on bothering about what I looked like.
Ah uni. Strangely enough, my final year of uni was my most social one. And clearly, the most alcohol fuelled. I began to feel more confident in how I looked as I started going out more with my friend, even though a lot of the time I definitely felt like the ‘ugly one.’ Despite my major self confidence issues, I have so many good memories attached to these photos because they remind me of the amazing nights out I had with A, who was my partner in crime at university, and I miss the hell out of her. There were many nights of laughs in Revs drinking the stick shots and harassing the fit bartender in NB’s (our favourite Northampton jaunt). This was one of our last outings, when we should have been spending time writing our dissertations, but instead decided to go out and get hammered instead. Also, fun trivia, this was back in the day where you’d take out a digital camera as well as your phone.
At this point I had discovered the joys of contact lenses and with a fuck ton of concealer under my eye bags, I was ready to hit the town as a whole different person. I was now living back home after leaving Northampton, however A and I met up for a weekend of reliving our uni days in Northampton, with a stay in a Travelodge and a trip to Bella Italia. I had only recently got used to liking how I looked in glasses, so finding a picture of myself without them that I liked had turned out to be rather difficult, however, this was one of the pictures of myself I actually quite liked. Plus, this particular dress was one of my favourites.
I have mixed feelings about my wedding photos, as I’m sure you’ll remember if you’ve read my post-wedding blues blog. On the day, I had no problem with my appearance whatsoever. For the first time EVER, I felt pretty. Not “alright” or “fairly attractive,” I felt pretty. I think ultimately, a combination of anxiety and OCD is what decided to destroy how much I loved my wedding photos, and even now, I still feel that huge pang of sadness when I look at them. I look at wedding photos of my friends, and there’s loads of them looking like beautiful brides – whereas for me, I find something wrong with myself in every single one of them, and I hate that I have to find something wrong with how I look in every single photo. Sometimes it can depend on my mood, like this one for example. On a good day, this is my favourite photo of me on our wedding day because you can see the fit of my dress (in some photos I feel as though it looks like it doesn’t fit properly) and you can see the detail in my hair, and you can really see the pop of my earrings, which were my ‘something blue.’
I struggled a lot in 2016, as you probably will know, again from reading my post-wedding blues post. However, when our year’s anniversary came around, it was the perfect excuse to relive it all, and we had basically a week full of celebratory dinners, finishing off with a trip to our wedding hotel for the weekend. This is probably one of my favourite pictures from the last few years, and not just because Tilly is really showing off her modelling skills. We took this photo on the night of our first anniversary dinner, and I made Liam take a photo of me and my BBG. I remember feeling so happy at the time, because it was our year’s anniversary, and everyone was celebrating, and I think that went towards me feeling confident and happy with how I looked.
This was taken on our holiday to Gran Canaria. This was definitely one of my favourite holidays and I remember feeling happy and as though my OCD didn’t exist for that week. Looking back through the photos I felt happy with how I looked, without wearing a shit ton of makeup and a peng outfit. It’s amazing what a good holiday can do for your confidence!
I went on a number of girls nights out in 2018, and they all ended up being pretty messy. Put it this way, I did not look like this the morning after. Again, I usually would feel as though as I was the ‘ugly one’ on a night out with my friends, as they’re all beautiful, so I began to go a bit extra with my hair and makeup. With this particular look I didn’t feel as though I was the ugly one in my group, and I actually felt confident with how I looked for a change. I feel I’m at the point now where I’m much better at doing makeup than I used to be – mainly in that I pick a foundation shade that actually matches my skin tone – and that really helps me feel more confident in how I look.
This was taken at the very end of 2019, and not gonna lie, I was feeling my look. We were only going to a house party, but as it was new year’s eve, I wanted to go all out, so I curled my hair and layered on the makeup and wore my new dress. While the dress wasn’t something I normally go for, I loved the colour and it was in the sale so I thought I’d at least try it, and when I tried it on I felt so good in it. I loved how it made my figure look, and I’ll be honest, I thought my tits looked PENG (they’ve shrunk since that 2010 photo after they changed my pill some way down the line). It was definitely one of my favourite pictures of myself from the last year or so.
So where am I now with how I look in the present day? Well, this picture was taken in February to show off my new haircut, and surprisingly, I don’t hate it. And that’s probably where I’m at overall with my appearance. I still don’t think I’m pretty, and I don’t think I ever will 100%, however, I’m at the point where I don’t hate what I see in the mirror. At least not all the time anyway – I still have those days where I just want to punch the shit out of it, but who doesn’t? For now, I’m reasonably okay with how I look. Like I said, I’m much better at doing makeup these days, and I now have a rule where if a piece of clothing makes me feel like a bag of shit, I won’t wear it, and I think that helps. I know there’s a big thing about embracing your natural beauty and stuff, and that’s great, but I’m not there. Wearing makeup helps me feel confident and I feel so much happier with how I look when I wear it. If that’s the difference between me feeling happy and not feeling happy with how I look, then I’ma wear all the makeup I want. This may not particularly make any sense, but ultimately, it’s this – do whatever the hell you need to to feel good about yourself. x