By CARLY FINDLAY
This is what I see when I look in the mirror:
I see confidence, happiness, drive, an eye for style and strong armour.
Things many people don’t expect of me.
Sometimes I wonder whether people with visible differences and disabilities are not expected to be happy with our appearance. That we should feel ashamed. We should want to and try to change how we look. We should seek a cure, or at least something to cover up that unsightly…
Why should we want to go to a hairdresser and get a fabulous haircut or buy some great clothes when we’ve got this affliction?
How can we possibly be happy when we’re so far removed from any magazine cover, let alone the model on page 87 of that magazine?
Others tell us they could not handle looking like us.
So what would you say if I said I was happy with myself when I look in the mirror?
Even though I was born with a rare, severe skin condition called Ichthyosis that makes me look like I forgot to wear sunscreen?
Even when people question whether I should be or suggest I should find a cosmetic cure?
Because I am.
I can look myself in the eye the same way I look the world in the eye.
Being comfortable with and confident about my appearance surprises people. It shouldn’t.
I believe it’s okay to be proud of our appearance if we have a visible difference or disability, or if we don’t. We should celebrate our beauty by taking pride in ourselves. We should feel good about the way we look – as much as I hate this othering phrase – just like everyone else.
I’ve never had a problem with my weight or body image. I have never been on a diet and am body confident. I almost feel that I should feel guilty for writing that.
It’s no secret I love my food. There’s evidence about what I eat on my social media – it’s for the world to see. I eat what makes me feel happy and healthy. Sometimes I eat too much.
Lately I’ve been looking at my body and not loving it as much as I should. I could do with toning my tummy. My arms looked huge in a recent photo. I should probably lose a few kilos. I’ve been comparing too much. I watch those Bonds ads – where the trim and taut girls are dancing – and think back to when I looked like that. I’m almost 32 and I have noticed that my super lucky, super fast metabolism has started to slow down a lot compared to when I was 22.