Finding my body beautiful.

By Hildy Harland

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I have struggled my whole life with how I look. I have always had issues with my weight, my face, size of my head, how much body hair I sprout, having an uneven upper lip, having skin tags, dark skin pigmentation and so much more. I have spent years letting these imperfections and insecurities keep me down, but recently I have become more aware that in not embracing what I am naturally, I am holding myself back. This is MY body and I am responsible for it and the way I feel about it, so I made the conscious decision to stop hating it and decided to try and love it instead. I’m not saying I always feel great about myself because I definitely don’t but allowing myself to accept my imperfections and embrace them as a part of who I am, has honestly changed my life.

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I feel like I have been on this quest for so long, I tried to change myself so many times to  fit in with what the world sees as general beauty. As a performer and in particular a dancer, society tells me I should be thin and traditionally good looking, often tanned skin and definitely make up clad and I shouldn’t have body hair (or much of it at least). With these standards set for us how are we ever supposed to just enjoy what we are and be who we are? It’s difficult to override the standards and expectations that have been imposed on us by society and start to enjoy and appreciate our bodies for what they are. There is always a bit of a backlash to people being “proud” of certain aspects of their body, so let me be clear that I am not talking of pride in appearance but more of an acceptance, love and above all care. I have found in being an overweight person almost my whole life that hating myself and what I look like has got me nowhere and in fact has made my situation worse. In dark times of self hatred I have began to not care about myself and that is where things deteriorated both mentally and physically.

What I propose is that as a collective (in particular women but men are not excluded) we begin acceptance and re-focus our efforts on how we make ourselves feel and how we treat our bodies, trying to align with ourselves and our natural strengths rather than focussing on how weak, bad and wrong we think we might be. Positivity if shared can be an amazing travelling gift which I am hoping to pass on to you today in writing this blog

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My journey to finding myself beautiful has meant changes but not the changes I always thought they would be such as weight loss, hair removal, permanent make-up or keeping the perfect beauty regime. It has been a change within me to accept what I am and decide to care for it and love it, stop telling it that it looks wrong, stop thinking it is bad and stop using it as an excuse not to enjoy my life to it’s absolute fullest.

 I wanted to write this particular blog to emphasis the strength of accepting your body and yourself as they are, because as I have witnessed first hand within myself, it is only after that acceptance that you can start to move on to truly be our best self. So if there is anything other than a spot of self indulgence you can take from this b post, please let it be this, don’t waste time hating your body and how you look, it’s not worth it, don’t let it stand in the way of anything you want to do, it might be hard and scary but you can honestly make a difference not only to yourself and your own life but those around you.

Let’s be brave together and please do feel free to use this post to start conversations with myself an others!

Fat girl vs Film-my adventure into public nudity for the sake of body positivity (part 2)

I did it!!!! ( I got completely naked for the camera! Sorry to keep you all in suspense but we were filming until 2am on Wednesday evening so I  had to catch up with sleep and what not yesterday. (If you don’t know what I’m babbling on about catch up by reading Fat girl vs Film-my adventure into public nudity for the sake of body positivity (part 1))

 Here is a little Vlog from on set.

 

But here I am, I took all of my clothes off and I stood in front of a group of people who filmed me naked. I do feel liberated but not to the point I thought I would, however I do feel more inspired and understanding of my body and mind and how they connect now. I think in me there is such a connection between body and mind that sometimes the length at which I over think things holds me back. Being instinctual and trying to quieten my mind in order to let my subconscious shine through is something I need to try and do more within my work and my general life.

As a performer I have learned that I need to listen to my instincts more and turn off my brain and let the subconscious do the work as when this happens I do work better and it often leads to some really great performances and creation.

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I have a lot to take from this experience, I can’t say I loved doing it and I can’t say I hated doing it, I certainly felt compelled to do it and am glad I did. I have always enjoyed pushing my limits and in the past few years I have done this a lot which has brought me to the current amazing situation I am in now in, making and being a part of living, moving art which is my passion. This passion has lead me all over in years gone by and now it leads me back to myself and a little phrase ‘do what you know’ comes to mind. What do I know better than my own body and mind right? nobody else knows them better than me. I want to couple that need for self exploration with the problems we have within our society regarding our outward form and the effect this can have on our minds, and I know that this experience has really helped me get an incite into how being told your body has to be a certain way to be displayed has a huge impact even when you think it hasn’t.

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My next step now is to have another good bloody natter! So I am going to try and organise another meet up via my Facebook page somewhere local to Newcastle upon tyne, so if your in the area and interested in chatting about your relationship with your body and many other things please do keep your eyes peeled for the event. However if you are from further afield please feel free to comment on the this post or on Facebook and share your stories and incites.

Hildy xx

A bit of a to do!

Hi All,

 this week I have had a bit of an experience which I am sure a lot of other vintage or people with a strong and obvious style will probably have come across or been subject to at some point in there lives. And to be honest I get this quite a lot, but this week it just really got to me!

I got on the metro in my 1950’s polka dot dress with a rather large flower in my rather large up doo! I sat down and was struck by a man and woman (may I say at this point weren’t the best lookers in the world either and must have been in their 40’s old enough to know better)  who on me sitting down immediately looked me up and down and began to chat amongst themselves which often happens so I gave them a small grimace and that was that. Then however they proceeded to giggle and quite clearly talk about me as I began to innocently fiddle in my bag with make-up, as I was on my way to model for the wonderful Bernadette Koranteng and her artists. After this the woman got her camera phone out of her bag and actually took a picture of me (her phone made the shutter sound which she obviously was not counting on as she didn’t know what to do when I caught her), which I felt to be a complete invasion of my privacy and really infuriated me! I shot her a look that immediately gave the impression that I may dress like a lady but I may not behave like one if she continued to be so rude. She then loudly started to try and defend herself like it was an accident etc.

Anyway the fact is no matter how much you think you don’t care what other people think, some ignorant and hurtful person doing something like that at the wrong time can really get to a girl!

So the moral of the story is if you see a lady or gentleman dressed in away that you may deem different, weird, strange, unusual etc think before you act! You do not know them and should never judge someone for being different. Fair enough you might need to have a little look and that is fine and a normal human instinct however instead of laughing or looking them up and down simply smile and look away. Think how you would feel if that was you being openly mocked in public?

Not everyone is the same thank goodness! Variety is the spice of life, embrace creativity and unique style and admire those brave enough to be themselves no matter how outrageous!

Ok so finally now I have that off my chest here is a picture from the day in questionhh20

After the not so pleasant experience however Bernadette and her group made me feel and look like a million dollars! So a HUGE thanks to them 🙂

I will be back soon, hopefully on a much more positive note.

Hildy x

Times they are a-changin’

Hi guys and dolls,

well not a huge amount has happened on the performance and teaching side this week just some quite boring behind the scenes stuff which I shan’t bother you with!

However in other parts of my life there has been HUGE changes!

My boyfriend and I are in the process of purchasing our first home together and I have had to change jobs to be nearer to where we will be living. So I have had to leave behind all of my lovely friends in the Jarrow shop where I worked for a year and seven months which was sad, I didn’t really want to go!

They bought me these lovely flowers as well as some stationary (which I am obsessed with), some bubbly which will not stay un-corked for much longer and a very generous amazon gift card!! Could a girl ask for anything more??

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Also in the coming week I will again be sitting for the lovely Bernadette Koranteng and her group of artists, here is a little picture she sent me of myself posing rather straigh faced :-p

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Well until next time! Hildy xx

A swinging time!

Hi guys and dolls,

I have had a wonderful time in the past couple of weeks doing a little bit of everything from teaching Vintage-fit every Monday, performing in Stockton’s Café Infinity for the lovely Heartisan events and sitting for the wonderful Bernadette Koranteng and her artists. The pictures that they created where beautiful I couldn’t believe their inspiration was little old me!

And at the fabulous Café Infinity I performed for the evening with a lovely view of the river Tees and The Endeavour Ship as my backdrop. I was made to feel so welcome by the staff and can’t wait to take them up on the offer to visit again!

So as usual here are a couple of photo’s from my week, enjoy  HH x

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