Reality

Since August 2015 I have attended therapy once a year, not your conventional therapy and its not for everyone. Most of you who know me will know what I am referring to, but for those of you that don’t its a few hours out my schedule with Dimples & Daisies on a Liberty shoot. I wont go into what they are all about, for those of you that have been reading this blog for a long time will have read all about it before & if you scroll up you will see a page dedicated to my posts about my experiences with the team.

As with every shoot, this one was booked spontaneously, I had itchy feet and felt I needed my cup refilling but I wanted this one to be something different, nearing 30 I wanted something to look back on when I am 60 and see just how beautiful I am, naturally.

For those of you that have been reading recently you will know that I am not regularly waxing the beard & that it just gets a trim when I feel its getting ridiculous. So I made the decision that this time I wasn’t going to wax it, booking the shoot just 2 weeks before I knew I didn’t have the money to go to a salon AND I have decided I will never self wax again. Did I have my doubts? Yes, of course even the day before I was thinking is it too late – should I just wax it myself? But in reality, I didn’t want the pain and I thought would I rather have a rash or the hair – weirdly that is a battle the hair won. Getting ready on the day was no different to getting ready for afternoon tea the weekend before, I did my hair and base make up & headed off to the shop.

The shoot was everything it always is, did I get naked? Of course – it wouldn’t be a shoot without it. But do you know what did happen, it wasn’t until I was stood completely starkers in a field full of corn with my arms in the air that I remembered I hadn’t waxed and that I was there feeling as free as a bird & so comfortable in my own skin with excess hair on my face, chest & stomach – partially waxed legs and well I wont talk about anything else. I remember the realization and taking a deep breath, I had shocked myself about how at ease I felt and how easy it was for me to forget that it was there.

The week wait to get my photos went by in a blur, work has been really busy so I didn’t really have time to reflect and think about the shots. However, I did say to at least one of my closest  friends that I probably wouldn’t come away with any photo’s and I would just have the free one this time as I can’t imagine I would like any of them.

I didn’t realise how wrong I could be.

On the way to the shop, I wasn’t bothered about the photo’s it was almost like I was just going through the motions, sat on the sofa with Holly surrounded by women getting ready for their Tribal shoot that evening, I started the mammoth scroll through 40 odd photos. I was maybe 10 photo’s in before I realised & remembered that I hadn’t waxed.

I hadn’t noticed & if I did my brain either didn’t register it or didn’t care.

I could have scrutinized every single photo after that, but I didn’t, I just fell deeper in love with every single one as they all represented the real me. The one that my friends and family see every day & love even with what I feel is something so unsightly. Did I have a little cry? Yes I did & Holly joined in, she then shared my story and why I do Liberty with the girls and they all wanted to see the pictures and of course said how amazing they were.

For the longest time I have felt ugly and I have let the symptoms of my PCOS define who I believe I am, but as I turn 30 in a matter of days, I am feeling more & more comfortable with myself and how I look. I am seeing for the first time what everyone else see’s, yes there will still be people that will judge based on appearance and not like what they see, but do you know what for the first time in around 15 years I am finally able to look at myself with an honest eye and say that no matter what I am proud of who I am.

So, in honor of my impending 30th Birthday, here is the real me…..just not in my birthday suite!

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Corn II

I did something a little naughty the other week that if you follow my Instagram story you will have figured out, I spontaneously booked myself for another Liberty shoot with less than 2 weeks to go!

I have been feeling like I need a little pick me up for a while and I knew that some time with the Dimples & Daisies team would do the trick. I wasn’t really sure what to book myself on to or if I even wanted to do another shoot, but trawling through Instagram one caught my eye and I thought sod it, I have enough in the bank and I need this for me. Earlier that day walking round the town centre I decided I was spending too much money on food and that I dont treat myself to something nice very often, so with that in my mind I just booked myself on there and then.

So, the other Sunday afternoon I headed to the Dimples & Daisies studio in Southsea to be glammed up and head over to the Sunflower field with the rest of the girls on the shoot. We were all made up and deciding what clothes to wear when Holly got a call from another photographer to say that the sunflower field was ruined & they were all dead, the pictures were so upsetting! But fear not, they managed to source another option and we headed to Lordington Farm to have some fun in the corn!

Its not my first shoot in the corn, but that was back August 2015 and the photography style has changed so much since then and I am a completely different person now to what I was then.

FLASHBACK

Now before every shoot I would normally wax the beard and get rid of any excess hair that my body seems to love to grow, but I wanted this one to be a little different, I wanted it to be authentic. I wanted to look back on these photo’s in years to come and see the real me, the one that everyone else see’s. Believe me, there is no way to feel more real, authentic and true to yourself than being stood naked in a field of corn!

But do you know what is even stranger? Stood there having my photo’s taken, I was embracing everything the surroundings & the sun beating down on me & blissful peace on the farm. It wasn’t until about 5 minutes in that I realised that I hadn’t waxed & I didn’t feel insecure about my body or appearance at all I felt totally at ease with who I was. Sat writing this, I am in 2 minds about my photos, part of me cant wait to see the pictures, firstly how different they are but also to just see my appearance. However the other part of me is so incredibly anxious, what if I hate the way I look in them, what if it gives me any more issues with my body image and confidence? What if I go back 10 steps?

WHAT IF! 

I mean I don’t have long to wait, I pick up my photos in just over a week’s time, so stay tuned to see how things go!

Emma x

Self Love

Recently I have been wondering if I have stopped caring about myself, my nails aren’t done as often as they could be, I don’t wax my “beard” as often as I used to and I honestly can’t remember the last time I brought myself some new clothes.

It has left me wondering, when did I fall out of love with myself?

I am going to slimming world, but even that after all the times I have been going over the past 10+ years, I have never struggled so much to lose weight and I am wondering if I have just resigned myself to thinking that I can’t?!

If I don’t love or care for myself, how can I expect others to?

This really hit me when we were getting ready to go to Budapest, normally I would have waxed my beard, put a new coat of nail varnish on my fingers and toes and perhaps brought something new to wear whilst we were away.

I didn’t and it was almost like I couldn’t be bothered to put the effort in, don’t get me wrong owning and running a house is hard work and that combined with a busy and sometimes stressful job means that I don’t want to come home and put myself through the pain of waxing, I would rather come home and write or watch a movie.

Then I considered if actually I am just getting a bit more comfortable in my skin and that what they say is true, the older you get the less you worry about what others think. However, I know that is not true, if it was I wouldn’t be pushing my GP and the entire NHS into doing something about my hirsutism and helping me to reduce my PCOS symptoms. So I have come to a conclusion.

I have stopped loving myself.

It’s true, the signs are there as they are with any relationship or friendship. The effort has stopped, I don’t put myself first (although that has never been the case), and I feel unworthy of nice things. I need to turn it around; I definitely feel that is why I have got myself in such tizz lately.

The Girl Power You are Enough Manifesto. | I promise to not be an asshole to myself. Hell, I promise to love myself. I will remember that my self-worth is not based on what I look like, how much I weigh, how many followers I have, or any other stupid crap that has nothing to do with who I am. I will empower other girls and women. I will be kind. Fiercely kind. I will have a sense of humor. I will do my best not to gossip, create drama, or judge others (or myself). I will remember that just...

Now painting my nails used to be my thing I would experiment with different styles and colours, for me it was a great way to be creative and just have some down time – Christ I even did a mini blog called Mani Monday a couple of years back – perhaps I need to get back into that routine? But whenever I did my nails, I felt good about myself, I felt that even if my excess hair was bad or I wasn’t happy with my appearance I knew my nails were always “on point”.

Why did that ever stop?

Self-waxing is horrible, painful and just takes a lot of courage, however I did this because I couldn’t afford the money to go and get waxed whilst saving and I also became unhappy with my beautician and if I am honest I actually felt embarrassed about having to going there. Now however, I still don’t have a lot of spare cash & I live in a different area so could find a new beautician, but the embarrassment of having to go for that reason is still deep inside.

I need to get over that.

It is their profession and they will have waxed worst areas! So I am going to check out beauticians in my local area and the prices and start taking care of myself a bit more, I know the hair has a massive impact on my self-confidence and my feeling of self-worth so if I can get that back under control it will be a step in the right direction.

We often are too harsh on ourselves and expect us to be capable of living a perfect life and have everything rosy with no problems. However, it is unrealistic, we will all fall out of love with ourselves at times and it is ok to recognise that, let’s just not set up camp and live there. I have been & if I am honest I have been living in that self-loathing camp for a while now but it’s not a great place to be.

So with a swift kick up my own backside, I am packing up my tent and moving on to somewhere better. Where I can be happier, stronger and more confident, a place where if I perhaps show myself and my body a little bit of love, it might show me how great it is in return.

I won’t lie, it won’t be an easy journey and I am sure I will make some backward steps along the way, but as I said in a previous post about my goals for 2018;

This is my year and I am NOT going to turn 30 as unhappy with my body as I have been in my 20’s.

Metformin

I have been thinking about this post for a few days now and what I want to say so I am glad to finally get it down and out my brain.

Firstly, SORRY. I have been vacant for a while. Not on purpose, life has just been busy and I have been suffering on and off with bad head aches, tiredness all as a result of being back on good old metformin. I dont know if its playing with my sugar levels or what, but every few weeks I get raging headaches where my head just feels tight. Its so weird. And no, I haven’t been back to the GP.

Second to that, my anxiety has started to reappear, not continuously but just every so often. I noticed it when we were cleaning the guttering, of all things, my heart was just racing and even made Matt check my heartbeat to make sure I wasn’t imagining it.

Now I am laid in bed writing the first edit as I cant sleep, but I cant sleep because I think my body is displaying anxiety in a different way to what I am used to. It feels like there are a million tiny people running all over my chest and down my arms, like they are making my blood run faster and my lungs work harder. Its a really strange sensation, almost like its making me too alert to sleep.

Wow…..that’s dramatic!

So for anyone that has anxiety people will say to you what are you worried about, whats stressing you out. I know because I am guilty of doing that to others. But 99.9% of the time that person cant tell you because they wont know themselves. Right now, I dont what is going on and yet I still try to rationalize it to something. In reality its just my bodies way of dealing with things that I close off and try to forget about.

So, I have gone a little bit off topic. When I planned this post it was meant to be about PCOS not anxiety. However. My gynecologist did say that anxiety comes hand in hand with PCOS and its not surprising given all the visible signs we have to combat. So I know this is part of my condition and I know this is mild and no where near as bad as what it could be. 

Lets spend some time talking about metformin. I have taken this drung twice now within the past year and both times had different but similar side effects & both times I haven’t believed it to be working. Which when your feeling rubbish is a really hard pill to swallow (pardon the pun!). So what is happening this time round? Lack of appetite – that is a big one (and a horrible one!), headaches – bad ones – to the point where I feel my skull is putting pressure on my braid. That then leads to tiredness, when I have headaches like that I just want to lay and not do anything.

The worst thing about all of this is that I know  that I still need to persevere. YES, the hair is still there, the hormones and just everything is the same. My body is changing, whether its the gym or the little weight loss I have made, I’m not sure but I feel a bit happier in my body – although I dont think I will ever be “normal”, whatever that is!

Sorry this isn’t a fantastic post….but wanted all my fellow PCOS fighters to know that I am still here on this journey….

Keep Smiling!

Emma x

My Biggest Enemy

I have one enemy in this world and its something I have hated for 10 years now, its called

Hirsutism

I have touched upon this on blogs that I have written before about my PCOS, but as it is my biggest enemy and my biggest personal issue I felt it deserved its own special time on my blog! I am unsure if my excess hair is as a result of my PCOS or if it is hereditary as there are females in my family that also suffer from this.

For those of you that dont know what Hirsutism is, it basically means excess hair in an area that women may not necessarily grow hair, which isnt exactly the most attractive thing you can have, especially as a young woman!

I have been doing some research recently to see what the causes of Hirsutism are and its actually really quite interesting and has really opened my eyes to my current diet. Basically recent studies have proven that high levels of insulin increase the development of Hirsutism, looking on good old wikipedia it does state that the above theory about insulin goes hand in hand with observations that obese women are at high risk of becoming hirsute (so basically lose some weight!!).

Now I know that Insulin has something to do with diabetes, but I am not 100% sure how the body creates insulin or how I can lower my levels of insulin to help reduce my Hirsutism. So I am going to have quick google and share what I find!

Guess what – Insulin is another bloody hormone, because I dont have too many already floating around my body! Its produced by the Pancreas to help turn sugar into engery. Another effect of insulin is to act on the ovaries to cause them to produce the male hormone testosterone.

Interestingly enough some websites claim that Insulin is the cause of PCOS, stating that women with PCOS have Insulin Resistance, meaning our bodies are resistant to the normal effect of Insulin and as a result more Insulin is produced to keep blood sugar levels normal. As a result of our bodies producing more Insulin, causes our bodies to produce more testosterone causing fewer eggs to release from our ovaries, excess hair growth and can even be the cause of weight gain!

At this point in writing this, I have changed my mind. Insulin is my enemy……Hirsutism has taken a back step, I have realised I can get rid of him when I get rid of her (Insulin)!

Its Just A Big Merry Go Round!

Its Just A Big Merry Go Round!

So to knock Insulin and Hirsutism on the head I need to figure out how to lower my Insulin levels, all websites are pointing me to 2 things, exercise and dieting. I have to admit since breaking my foot last year, the gym hasnt exactly been my top priority, but I want to reduce my Hirsutism so I need to go back, in fact I might even go tomorrow before work! Dieting…..no one likes to do it, I have been doing Slimming World on and off for a long time now, so I know what I should and shouldnt be eating, I just need to put it into practice.

Here we go again……

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Confusing Diets & PCOS!

OK, as you know for as long as I can remember I have been on a diet of some decription – mainly Slimming World! However, I have a new issue – I have been doing SW for so long that I CHEAT and only to myself! I dont count syns, I eat more A or B options than I should and get annoyed when I dont see any results on the scales!

Recently I have been researching what diets are best for people who suffer with PCOS, as for anyone who has followed this blog from the beginning will know after reading will know that I was diagnosed with this condition when I was 16/17, so almost 10 years ago!

I have read up of the typical symptoms of PCOS and can see myself in them so much & I want to do something to reduce these for me today, tomorrow and 10 years time! Here are the common symptoms of PCOS as per the NHS Website:

irregular periods or no periods at all
difficulty getting pregnant (because of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate)
excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
weight gain
thinning hair and hair loss from the head
oily skin or acne

What i didnt realise is the risks that having PCOS can impact, women who suffer from PCOS are more at risk of the below as well:

type 2 diabetes – a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high
depression and mood swings, as the symptoms of PCOS can affect your confidence and self-esteem
high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease and stroke
women who are overweight may also develop sleep apnoea – a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep

PCOS-Symptoms-Pinterest-Banner

Out of that list of 10 things, hand on heart I can say that at least 4 of those effect me and I want to do something about it, I want to be healthy for me. The big one that scares me on there is the difficulty of getting pregnant, I would love to one day (not in the near future) have a child and become a family with my significant other, but just like learning to save properly, I need to take this into my own hands and get something into action NOW!! Sitting around for the next 2 years carrying on as I am wont get me to a healthy weight range, it wont stop the excess hair growth, it wont stop my hair being thin, it wont stop my moodiness (especially about my weight) and it wont take the risk of diabetes or high blood pressure away either!

I have been looking at diets online and its really confusing, what is the best one out there and what should I be doing for me. Some of you will be reading this and saying ‘it depends on the person, different things work for different people’ and yes you are right, but unfortunately I am not the sort of person that can read a diet and go ‘Ok I know what I can/cant eat now’ I am not a good cook, so I need something written down so I know what I can and can’t do – which is why a slimming club worked for me, but I just dont think Slimming World is the right place for me at the moment.

As I write this, I have made the decision that I am going to book an appointment with my GP and get this all under control, request to see a dietician/nutrionist to help me things moving and get this show on the road! In the mean time, whilst I await an appointment (because it takes FOREVER!) I am going to cut carbs, diary & junk food out of my diet and keep exercising and just try to stay focused on the end goal. I know I can do this, I have lost the weight before I just need something or someone to help me this time…..maybe going back to Slimming World will help?!

pcos

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Tonight I would like to share with you something that unless you know me personally you won’t have any idea about. I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 17, this diagnosis came after my mum & I watching a medical programme and being able to connect with 1 big symptom of PCOS……

Hirsutism or in simpler terms, excess hair

I first started noticing excess hair on my neck and chin when I was about 16 after my periods had really settled in after a few years, at first it didn’t overly bother me and it is something other women in my family have and I just thought it was the norm. However, seeing other girls my age not having this excess began to bother me. I wouldn’t really talk about it to people and I didn’t know what to do to get rid of it.

During the time where I had just left senior school and had joined college I created a Piczo website, like most teens, it had lots of photos on there (which was the main aim of your site) I even had a few comment boxes….I remember logging in one night and seeing some really abusive comments on there regarding my friends and the most upsetting was about me and my excess facial hair. To this day, I have never really told anyone how upset I was about this and just how much it still upsets me to remember seeing that and trying to work out who had written it, as I didn’t have a big circle of friends at the time so it had to be someone who was close to me a) because you have to personally know me to see it’s there and b) to know what spot to hit to upset me!

I think when those comments were written, I had just been diagnosed from my GP, he basically told me I had to go on the pill to regulate my hormones, have blood tests every 3 months to check my hormone levels and the worse part….to lose 4 stone. I remember working in a local café at the time and being quite open with my colleagues about it and joking that there was no way on this earth was I going to lose 4 stone!

I think around this point, I started self-waxing which is awful! I would never recommend anyone self-wax, especially not a delicate area such as your neck! It is painful (to begin with) and building the courage up to rip that wax strip off is a struggle and because you can never get them all it ends up looking uneven and you have to pluck more than you probably wax!

After being diagnosed and given some suggestions on how to move forward, I went on to celebrate my 18th Birthday in 2006 & in February/March 2007 I went on my first family holiday to Indianapolis. I remember really eating well and just enjoying myself! Around the same time I lost a lot of friends, due to growing up and drifting apart. I was lucky that I had made 2 really good friends at college, 1 of whom I still speak to and see A LOT of and the other unfortunately we just grew in different directions! They were very much my 2 stable people in my life, I was working full time at a low level admin job and I wanted a bit more, I wanted to progress. I managed to get a new job in July 2007 and I can remember saying to my mum “this is a fresh start, I want to do something about my weight and I want to join a slimming club”. My mum’s friend was going to Slimming World at the time and said I could along with her that week and that was it, I lost 3.5stone in 6 months, in December 2007 I was a size 14 and weighed about 11.5stone, I had a new circle of friends from my new job and yes, people did stare at my excess hair but I noticed the more weight I lost the slower it grew back and the lighter it grew back. FANTASTIC! I had managed to find a cure!

2008 – April/May – I got made redundant and embarked on what I can only describe as a mad first serious relationship! Luckily I managed to find a job within a couple of months (where I still am to this day!) however I can’t say the relationship lasted that long…thing 2 maybe 3 months?! The plus for me was that I was maintaining what I believed to be a healthy weight between 11.5stone -12stone, the hair was still growing slowly and lightish. I had also been on 2 holidays that year with Steph (the 1 friend from college I still speak to) and I was confident in the sun in a bikini, something I thought would never happen. I remember the weight kind of sneaked back on and I stayed around 12stone for about a year. In 2009 I embarked on the next car crash relationship – looking back now I was a complete idiot, in love with someone that didn’t love me back. Whilst wasting 6 months of my life, I started having electrolysis, god knows why, it was painful and the effects weren’t long lasting. Basically, the beautician puts a hot needle into the hair follicle to kill the hair at the root. It’s great if you are working on a small area, but my excess hair is pretty much the whole of my neck and chin, so she would only be able to do a small block at a time. When you are going twice a week and paying like £20 a time you really need to weigh up is it really worth it! I think I stopped having this done around May of 2009 and went back to self-waxing!

2009 was a mixed year for me the first 6 months were a waste (apart from a 2 week holiday to America) but the last 5 months were fantastic, I met Matt fell and love and haven’t looked back since. When I was put on the pill at the age of 17 I was never good a remembering to take it. How I haven’t fallen pregnant is beyond me! In late 2011 I went to see my GP and asked about other methods of contraception, mainly the Merina Coil. I remember her taking my weight and doing some blood tests, she told me that I had a little bit more weight to lose before she would consider me for the coil – so I went back when I was in between 10.5stone and 11stone and my GP was happy that my hormones were level and that I had pretty much cured my PCOS – I have to say the excess hair had pretty much stopped and when it did grow it was really light. So I had the coil fitted and I haven’t looked back since.

One bad thing is that since I have had the coil fitted, my weight (not due to the coil) has increased. Right now I weigh 12stone 11lb and my excess hair is back! So we are back to people staring if I leave it too long between waxes (I have a beautician now), I feel uncomfortable when I know that it’s there, I don’t feel sexy of confident when it’s there and I struggle with my self confidence in general the heavier I am. The hair isn’t light anymore – it is to begin with but if I leave it too long then it’s darker. I am back at slimming world and I am exercising regularly to help reduce my weight and the growth of my excess hair.

You may be wondering why I am sharing this with you tonight, but I want you to know that I have struggled and continue to struggle with this aspect of my life. Unfortunately, my excess hair will always be a part of me. It doesn’t change the person I am, if anything it has made me a bit more thick skinned. I would rather people don’t stare and that they ask what it’s all about, but I can’t force people to make that decision! I would be pleased to tell them that this is the only major side effect I have of PCOS – I am lucky I don’t have acne as I think I would rather cope with excess hair than acne.

Maybe you are reading this and can relate to some of my story – here is some information I have found online about possible symptoms of PCOS:

• irregular periods or no periods at all
• difficulty getting pregnant (because of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate)
• excessive hair growth (hirsutism) – usually on the face, chest, back or buttocks
• weight gain
• thinning hair and hair loss from the head
• oily skin or acne

So as you can see, it’s not a walk in the park for people who suffer with PCOS! Yes, as well as excess hair there is acne, weight gain, irregular periods and I may also suffer with difficulties getting pregnant. This is something my GP has discussed with me before, I have been advised that if I can maintain a healthy weight and don’t leave it too late in life that I should have no issues in becoming pregnant. To be honest with you after knowing at the age of 17 that the later in life I leave it I may never become a mum, I have got used to it – it’s not something that bothers me anymore and if I can’t conceive naturally then I know there are other options available.

If you think you may have PCOS then go and visit your GP, talk to them about your symptoms and ask to have a blood test AND an ultrasound – the ultrasound is the most important as this will show up cysts in your ovaries! PCOS is most likely to develop in your late teens/early 20’s, so if you don’t think something is right – get it checked out!

When I was first diagnosed, I found a charity called Verity http://www.verity-pcos.org.uk/ I signed onto their forum and for about a year, it really helped me and got me to a good place in my life. I don’t use the website anymore and to be honest because I don’t feel that PCOS is a bad part of my life, it is just part of my life, I try not to dwell on it and I think if I did log on and talk about things, I would be only talking negatively and I would bring myself down.

The one thing I would like for you all to take from this is not to judge people on their appearance. Just because they may have a difference in their appearance to you or what you feel is the “norm” there is no need to stare or treat them differently.

Everyone has a story; why not take 5 minutes to hear theirs!

Emma xxx