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- Mary & Lily
- Naomi C.
- Naomi N.
By Naomi N.
Trigger warning: Includes references to sexual abuse, self-harm and suicide
I am not afraid of sharing my story, as vulnerable as it makes me. Giving light to our experiences, as difficult as they may be is a way of helping others get through their own struggles. I have nothing to lose. So I have decided that I would no longer hide it; I can’t change what happened, but I can certainly change how it affects me now. It’s given me a huge sense of ownership: this ‘secret’ no longer owns me, it’s no longer something I’m going to try to hide away- now, I own it.
2020 has been difficult for everyone, without a doubt. Definitely, a year to remember but also one I would eagerly forget. For me, it started with the abortion of an unplanned pregnancy. My long-term partner and I didn't feel like it was the right moment for us to start a family. Days after, he was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer, and the fight for his life began. Within weeks we heard of the global pandemic making its way to the UK. As if that wasn't enough to pull the rug from under my feet, I also had to deal with the sudden news of my partner's infidelities.
By Naomi C.
I had always feared sexy underwear. A bit of fabric. I felt embarrassed trying to wear something which hadn’t been made with a curvy insecure woman in mind. I thought I had to change myself. Methods throughout my early twenties included eating disorders, exercise abuse and self-hatred. Painful beliefs about myself were burned into my thought processes during broad daylight via ‘normal’ relationships and daily media bombardment.
I thought stability meant playing it safe and commitment meant forever - and that was unacceptable. I committed to deviate from life-long safety and found stability in books and the idea of adventure. It was settled, in my childhood brain, I had projects (Novelist/ Performer/ Arctic explorer) to see through.
My journey to self-love only started a few years ago. I can remember the exact moment, the phone call, like it was yesterday. I was at work- as a waitress- on a split shift prepping for the evening dinner rush. What should have been a usual catch up became 22 years old me listening to my 18-year-old sister cry and plead that she needed help because she had developed anorexia. And while I didn't know it then, that's the exact moment the journey started, because in having to teach Natalie to love herself, I had to teach myself how to love me.
By TashaAs a rebel-from-birth/atheist/mild anarchist, my life has always had me walking in the opposite direction from most people. I was different from my friends at school, oddly so. I specifically shunned the mainstream popular culture and general hobbies and interests they followed together. In retrospect, I wonder why I was in that group at all. This led me to believe that I was weird and different, and my schoolmates didn't shy away from bullying me to remind me.
I used to hate seeing the scars on my body. And I hated them even more because I inflicted them myself. For many years I poured all of my pain and my insecurities and my frustration into what are now faint white marks, cutting myself open when things felt too painful, or simply too much.
When the world ground to a halt mid-March 2020, I had mixed feelings. Sure, the world was going into an (to use the word in every single email sent since March) “unprecedented” time and no one knew what was going to happen - but the chance to just… stop. Process. Ground myself. It wasn’t something I’d had much of a chance to do before. Doing nothing is something I actively avoid, and had more and more since September, when my father passed away. Watching your dad die in your early twenties is not something I’d wish on my worst enemy.