Hashtag Ten Year Challenge

So how about this #10yearchallenge craze sweeping the social media’s, eh?

For the most part I don’t like social media gimmicks, and I dismissed this one outright initially for my usual reasons and then some.

Self promoting, herd mentality, anti aging, anti body positivity, mysoginistic (seriously how many men do you see doing this?)….blah blah blah blah blah”

Went my internal mini me stood upon her soap box

Before I realised, actually it doesn’t have to be….

Fact is, I have spent ALOT of time the past 6 years thinking about the me during the 2008-2012 time period and now. And #10yearchallenge falls neatly in the middle of that realm. More accurately, I’ve spent a lot of time mourning the loss of and striving to regain the 2008-2012 me. I’m still learning to accept the current me

(#10yearchallenge 2009 Kirsty was playful and smiley, even if she had gripes about her appearance)

Sure, my thoughts started with looks. In 2009  I was much slimmer, didn’t wear glasses and my goofy little overbite was less prominent. I had a small “kangaroo pouch” where I’d had my first born, as opposed to my entire tummy being a “kangaroo pouch” that folds in on itself now since my second. My pores were smaller (yes I’ve bemoaned the size of my pores lately) I had way less stretch marks and still wore short skirts. But the biggest physical change – the one it took me longer to realise and the thing I mourn the most? The loss of my smile.

My smile didn’t go because my body changed, it went because my mental health changed

2009 Kirsty was going through an extended traumatic time period. She was still insecure about her looks and body(of course). She still wasn’t particularly confident . But never the less she could fake it till she made it and she could fucking sparkle. She pissed about playfully and posed in photos. She glowed. And she fucking smiled

(#10yearchallenge 2009 Kirsty faces the camera head on and grins)

( #10yearchallenge 2009 Kirsty disliked her facial expression here but non the less is posing and confident and smiling)

2019 Kirsty has spent 6 years or so hiding her face in public behind a pair of Jackie O’s. She panics if she loses them and she won’t leave the house if she hasn’t done her make up or has her trusty shades to hand. She is only just beginning to learn to go out without them. 2019 Kirsty is significantly more self conscious about her body and the extra pounds she carries about her since having her youngest.

It took 2019 Kirsty quite awhile to become accustomed to her glasses, but now she’s swung a bit too much the other way and feels quite exposed and self conscious without them. 2019 Kirsty noted some time ago that there is something in her face that she can’t put her finger on that has fundamentally altered and dulled. It saddens her but she has no idea what to do about it.

(#10yearchallenge 2009 Kirsty is vibrant and shiny. She smiles widely and doesn’t shy away from the camera)

2019 Kirsty LOVES photographs just as much as she did back in 2009, except now she’s too insecure about her looks and will actively avoid the camera or simply hide her face if its unavoidable (much to the irritation of her friends as family). On the odd occasion she tries to get over her neurosis, the lack of self confidence in 2019 Kirsty shows  through in the images. She appears uncomfortable and unconfident and uncertain which inevitably leads her then to dispair even more about her self image and the camera. She’s sad and frustrated as Hell that there’s barely any pictures of her with her children and zero on display in their home.

2019 Kirsty only trusts carefully controlled selfies that she’s taken, well, herself.

(#10yearchallenge 2019 Kirsty’s carefully controlled selfies, complete with signature Jackie O’s)

When I began writing this blog, I didn’t want to put pictures of myself up yes because of privacy but also due to a lack of self confidence in my looks.  It’s taken a fuck ton of resolve to choose to share these images on MLK today, for the ENTIRE public to see.

This awful deterioration in my self confidence has transferred itself into a number of areas in my life but most notably in dance, my greatest hobby after reading.

3 years ago this month I began dancing again after a 5 year hiatus. A hiatus that whilst brought on by my second pregnancy, would have and could have been much shorter if it were not for -you guessed it- my insecurities about the changes in my appearance

At first, I was delighted I remembered anything at all and that some semblance of my former skill and style had remained. But very swiftly a mere semblance wasn’t nearly enough. I met people in class who’d started 3 months prior and were better than me. There was a whole new generation of dancers, younger and trendier and who had been taught far differently to how I had been. New styles had emerged. I found I had a real block on dips and drops that I’d been able to do as easy as breathing back in 2009. I felt like I wasn’t matching up to my former level with those who knew me from before. Forget the younger crowd, I wasn’t matching up to MY standards

I felt fat and frumpy and inadequate and in 3 years I am yet to get over all that.

2009 Kirsty burnt the dance floor and shone like a star as she did so. Not because of her technical ability so much as her confidence and self belief. Sure she fucked up but she was good and sought after but most vitally she KNEW she was good. And because she knew she was good she could convince herself and others that she was fucking awesome

Oh how I miss that 2009 Kirsty! For her confidence, for her dance, for her spark and  for her smile

So this is the Much Love Kirsty contribution to #10yearchallenge.

Its not a glow-up

Its not to show that I haven’t changed a bit

Its not a particularly body-positive post

It is a reflective post

A great deal of changes have taken place in the last ten years. Some externally and some internally

2019 Kirsty has spent years struggling and battling the depression that had already begun to take hold in 2009. She has come out the other side of that and survived with her sanity in tact, somehow. 2019 Kirsty is finally healing and in recovery for the traumas she experienced back in 2009 (and then some). 2019 Kirsty has dealt with quite a lot all things considered and continues to.

2019 Kirsty has developed and continues to develop a lot of personal growth

2019 Kirsty does look a bit different to her 2009 counterpart

2019 Kirsty does not have the confidence she had back in 2009

2019 Kirsty has yet to fully let go of her 2009 counterpart and accept that she will never be that girl again

2019 Kirsty continues to struggle to not only accept but love her current self

2019 Kirsty has learnt that she is capable of glowing again, sometimes

2019 Kirsty continues to search for her 2009 smile

And who knows? Perhaps 2019 is the year she will find it again….

 

Much Love

Kirsty