• Alexa Dione Francis

The Self Confidence Journey

Updated: Sep 13, 2019

Welcome back to my take on the topic of self-confidence via me oversharing.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have seen I chatted a while ago about how one aspect of self-confidence I was struggling with was going makeup free - anywhere. I work in an auction house and mostly my job isn't very glamorous in the sense that I leave work everyday covered in a variety of the following; cobwebs, dust, dirt, rust and so on. Blog post on what I actually do at my job coming soon by the way (wow so organised xx) but my point is, there is absolutely no point of wearing a full face of makeup everyday.

But I just couldn't stop - could I?

I'd really gotten myself into a mindset that I wasn't that pretty with makeup anyway so why on earth would I dare allow my naked face to be seen in public! I realised I really hated thinking that. I resented how negative I was towards myself. It was only when my mum said to me that I was wasting money buying makeup when I didn't need to be wearing it everyday, and that it was long overdue to give my skin a break, that I decided to get a grip.

My journey of discovering and recognising small fragments of self confidence to add to the mosaic of self, began when I was very young, that's for sure. I have been insecure about the way I look for as long as I can remember and that's actually really sad when I think about it.

We all compare ourselves to others; I think that is human nature but it becomes an issue when it's a constant thought that plagues your mind. Thoughts about how everyone else has what you deem to be more or better than what you have, and then measuring yourself against that.

My mum and I joke that I was born anxious. The first picture of me when I am pretty much fresh out of the womb I have tightly clenched fists held close to my face and my eyes look so guarded which I find very amusing. This mini story does correlate to the topic of discussion because anxiety can be loads of feelings going on inside you and affecting your self-confidence from the inside. But it can also prompt more physical ways that affect you on the outside which can impact on your self-confidence. I can't remember a time where I didn't bite my nails. I hate that. Stress, worry and the constant on edge feeling led me to biting my nails and picking the skin around them to where they'd bleed and I felt so ugly afterwards. I don't really do it anymore as of recent. I had acrylic nails on for a good three months and I think that has been enough to drive the subconscious nail biting habit out of the window (for now).

Tiny and sore nails coupled with the fact I had frizzy hair that I had no idea what to do with along with a pale face full of freckles. I didn't wear makeup until Year 13 and even then it didn't look great. The last few years of high school and sixth form are times where you are constantly surrounded by people to compare yourself too, add social media into the mix and those thoughts are then with you 24/7.

I have always been a 'girl with shape' (albeit chubby - which would be my description) as I was going through school and I had giant boobs which under a baggy school jumper made me look 10 stone heavier than I actually was. I was the biggest out of my friends. I thought about it constantly. I wouldn't ever say that I struggled solely with body image; it was everything about me that I focused on.

I've made lists of things I liked about how I looked and the things I didn't. Unsurprisingly, the list of dislikes was considerably longer than the aspects of features I did like. Through this exercise I tried to genuinely encourage myself to be positive about myself and it had the complete opposite effect because all it led me to was getting upset about all the things I couldn't change. Like many people, I would make jokes at my own expense and was very self-deprecating in order to point out my insecurities before anyone else could; my defence mechanism if you will.

So, where am I at now?

Well. Like I've stated before, this is very much an ongoing journey. I have recently really begun to throw myself into loving myself. It's bloody hard because I am trying to reverse years self hate but I'm in the car, I'm on the road and I have begun the journey.

I care a lot less about what size of clothes I wear. If it looks flattering, what does it matter what number is on the tag? I unfollowed a bunch of people on Instagram and hardly use my personal Instagram account because meant I had a constant source to compare myself to and I feel better for it.

After having a waffle on my Instagram stories about not coping very well with feeling like I would rather be DEAD than caught wearing no makeup, I made up my mind and just stopped wearing it. Cold-turkey. And after a week or so, I don't notice. If anything, I am grateful for the extra sleep time I get in the mornings and how much time I save in my morning routine! I am eating better rather than gorging on cakes and crisps after work or late at night (still love a mini roll every now and again but who doesn't?) and my job keeps me fit although I'm going to be taking up yoga soon too. Good for the body, mind and soul.

I am embracing the fact that I am 5"5, a size 10-12 (a 12 at times to accommodate boobs and bum) and could never look like my 5"2, size 6, cute and tiny best friend. But just because I can't look like her doesn't make me ugly.

These photos are all at different points of my life at different body weights, stages of mental health and so on. Interestingly the ones I am a lot bigger in I was very unhappy and trying to cope with my anxiety and depression; but also so is the one where I am at my thinnest such as the one of me in my black sixth form prom dresses.

My Mosaic of Self is slowly coming together. I don't think I ever ever seen a mosaic I haven't liked, whether I've understood it or not I have always appreciated the work that has gone into it and how unique and pretty it is. I'm starting to feel this was towards my own mosaic. It's looking better and more whole each and every day. We all have times where we will look back at photos think "god I looked so much better/thinner/prettier (fill in the adjective) there" but as long as you're doing what you want to do that makes you happy, you'll always find a few more pieces to add to your mosaic.

I hope you liked this one, I enjoyed writing something so honest and bare.

All my love,