We're continuing our Love Letters project with a contribution from Director of Second Home Studio + Cafe, Kirsty Cameron. This is her love letter to herself.
Thats right. I’m writing a love letter, to me. The work I’ve put in to feeling good about myself deserves a space to be celebrated and so here we are. No body automatically feels confident and right in themselves - no body is born that way. Everyone you meet with even an iota of confidence has had to work for it.
I certainly wasn’t born that way. Looking at pictures of me as a child, the frizzy hair, and the slightly too big teeth are most apparent. I was always a little gangly, and real goofy and this somehow translates through in every photo. At 12, a boy makes fun of the hair on my legs. Out of shame, I start shaving religiously. I’m shy, introverted, and easy to pick on.
I was always the ugly duckling. Or rather, I was told I was.
(Mum + I on holiday, circa 1999)
When I look back at these pictures now, I see a young girl who doesn’t quite know how to tame her hair but I also someone who doesn’t consider this to be an important aspect to her being. I see a young girl who is fun, and silly, and who’s imagination could take her everywhere.
I’ve come to not only accept but love the parts of me I once wished away.
My introverted nature creates space for me to explore and process the world and express the way I see it. It might occasionally come across as rude but the need to protect my own energy comes above how I might seem to others. I’m grateful for the ability to enjoy spending time alone so I can give my all when I interact with people.
There’s nothing wrong with my body hair. I routinely grow it to remind myself that I have autonomy over my body, and only I decide what to change or not change.
I rarely use fake tan. I grew up, and live in Scotland. This is not a tropical climate and my skin reflects that. I’m convinced it reflects light also.
My anxious brain only exists to keep me safe. I’m lucky enough to have gained the skills to effectively manage it 90% of the time.
The very purple under eye bags which still prompt people to ask if I’d been punched in the face (yes, seriously), they're a family trait. A strong link to the sturdy Davidson/Tough women that have come before me, and the ones that I’m lucky enough to have around me now.
My height comes from my Dad and although I stand head and shoulders above all of my friends, and I’m always ever so slightly taller that every romantic partner I’ve ever had, I wouldn’t change my height. I wasn’t born to fit in so it makes sense that I should stand out, literally.
(Mum + I in Paris, circa 2005. I am standing on a ledge, I'm not THAT tall. I'm also going through my emo phase. We all had one.)
It wouldn’t be right of my to write this letter, acting as though I have ALL the confidence and absolutely no issues whatsoever. There are things I have always and still struggle with to this day. Unlike the above, the issues I struggle with now are much deeper than surface level stuff. Like the aforementioned genetic traits, the issues that I continue to work through came unwittingly from my mother.
(Before we touch on this, I absolutely adore my mum. I completely understand that she only wanted the best for me and did the best she could. Love you mum!)
My mum had to work extra hard in school but still came out with not very many grades. From a very young age she told me that we were the same - that I would have to work extra hard if I wanted to pass. She assumed that I would get worse grades than everyone else even if I studied twice as hard. To both of our credits, I never failed an exam. I didn’t get excellent grades because I’m not specifically academically smart but it certainly doesn’t mean that I’m stupid - but that’s exactly what I took away from that.
I’ve never considered myself to be smart. Despite the fact I have a HNC, a HND, a BA in Fashion Communication, various qualifications for work including first aid, team leadership, a personal alcohol license, a certificate in REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene, and digital marketing. Not to mention that I also ran my own design business from 2015 - 2018 and then taught myself all the necessary skills to become the director of my own fricking social enterprise. Despite all this, I would never actively describe myself as smart. Tenacious, yes. Smart, no. I am absolutely riddled with self doubt, and imposter syndrome sets in every time I even think about the work I do for Second Home.
In an effort to actively combat my self doubt, my word of the year for 2021 is audacity. This year, I really want to portray myself in a way that makes people go “who the fuck does she think she is?” I am acting as though I am already all that because you know what, I fucking am.
If you’re leaving this piece thinking, “wow who the fuck does she think she is”, well GOOD. However, I’d like to leave you with a few final thoughts. The relationship you’re in with yourself is the most important one there is. It is the only relationship in your life that will last forever. Instead of hating, judging and berating yourself, wouldn’t you rather like yourself? We’re constantly bombarded with messages telling us to change things about ourselves (hello diet + beauty industries, kindly go fuck yourselves), while scrolling social media can lead us to unrealistically compare ourselves with others. It is so hard to quieten down that noise. I implore you to start changing your narrative of how you think about yourself. I’m by no means an expert but here’s a good start:
- Unfollow anyone on social media that doesn’t make you feel good (including but not limited to: influencers promoting laxative tea (gross and irresponsible), anyone who makes fun of other people on social media (ew, no thanks), friends that don’t support you (you don’t need that).
- Catch your self critical thoughts where possible. Just because we think it, doesn’t make it so. We have thousands of thoughts every day and that’s all they are. Just thoughts. Not facts. If you can, next time you hear “you’re not good enough”, make a little enquiry with your brain. Where is the evidence to suggest that thought is correct? There isn’t any. You can politely detach y