I’ve just come back from an amazing holiday in Cornwall with my family.  One activity made me realise how far I have come in my own self-development.  We booked a  kayaking trip on the Helford River and had to wear full wetsuits.  I was in two minds as to whether to do it or sit it out.    You see, even a Personal Stylist can lack body confidence. 

Green water and scenery Helford River

“Miss, do we have to have her on our team?”

I’ve never been the most sporty of girls.  Yes, I was the one at school who was always last to be picked for a team, who dreaded sports lessons more than any other.

It’s strange isn’t it how you go to school to learn, yet in my day, if you were not naturally gifted at sports, you would be left behind as “the one who has no interest”.  It was never considered that you might learn to love sport given the right encouragement.

I’ve always loved the water and loved swimming (not a sport we did at my school), and actually went on to do Synchronised Swimming which I absolutely loved and at the time I was slim so the thought of being seen in a swimming costume didn’t bother me.

Fluctuating Weight

My weight has fluctuated beyond belief over the years, but I’d always had a flat tummy and thin waist.  Until I had C section.  I was an “older” first-time Mum and so getting rid of baby pouch was harder than it may be for some younger women – though it is notoriously hard for all.

Move forward 12 years and I have now gone through menopause and my lovely slim waist and flat tummy are most definitely a distant memory.

I know the reasons, and I know that on the whole for my age I don’t look too bad.  I know how to dress to make me appear slimmer if I want to, and also know what colours to wear to make me  feel fabulous, but the mindset of the past can still be triggered for me to lack body confidence.

This knowledge is fantastic and had indeed been life-changing, however, faced with the sentence “you will have to wear a full wetsuit”, I started dreading the day.

Just Like Gok Wan

It wasn’t even just being seen in the wetsuit.  It was the idea of struggling to put it on in public.  What if the one they gave me didn’t fit me and I had to ask for a bigger size.  What if there were young slim women there who at worst sniggered, or at best tried to gee me on and say it didn’t matter?

I have worked really hard over the years to overcome these thoughts as I know how destructive they can be, but the night before we went kayaking I got myself in a right pickle, and returned to young girl so full of doubt and lacking in confidence.

It brought to mind the time I went to see Gok Wan where he was talking about his life and his body image struggles, and our similarities of how and why we got into the Personal Styling industry.

Gok Wan Black Jacket, Pride

Positive Mindset or Body Confidence?

The morning of the kayaking, I was rather quiet to say the least, and if I had been going on my own I would have undoubtedly have cancelled.  However, the positive voice in my head was saying “you really want to share these experiences with your son, go and do it and enjoy it”

So I did. 

And you know what – I got into the wetsuit they gave me without having to change the size.  Was it the most flattering outfit I have ever worn – absolutely not!   Did it allow me to have one of the best days with my family ever?  YES.  Did it allow me to swim in the famous Frenchman’s Creek with my gorgeous boy?  YES.  Will I do it again?  In a heartbeat!!!

I did it.  Me in a wetsuit

People say to me “but you should be so confident because of what you do for a living”.  Yes, I do know what clothes suit me, but hopefully the above will help other women know that even a Personal Stylist can lack body confidence.  I like to think that working with someone who has been “there” herself, will encourage others that they can get there too.