By Emma Hayfield, Sass Queen & Rhinestone Wrangler at Leg Up Dance and Entertainment
It’s tough out there these days. Women have been long facing the ever increasing pressures to have it all! Do it all! Be it all! The interwebs inundate us with endless streams of the ideal woman’s life. We must now be super high achiever women types; with six pack abs (five minutes post pregnancy obvs), seven figure careers, humanitarian feats, Michelin star cookery skills, a household so clean, organised and well managed even a Swiss watch would be jealous…ALL AT THE SAME DAMNED TIME.
No wonder so many of us feel like c**p. Enter Le Pandemic, and the merde really hits the fan. Because now, those with children also had the added joy and rapture of becoming the home educators of bored, trapped, small people on top of everything else.
Well I’m here to say: f**k it. I’m good enough. I don’t need to bake artisan bread and bleach my a*****e to know that, although I’m no mega-achieving superstar, I’m still pretty awesome. Because I say so. And so are you my sisters! You too can feel mildly annoyed by ideals of perfection yet revel in the imperfectly-perfect you.
1. Nosce te ipsum – Know Thyself
A strong sense of self is vital. There are things I have come to know about myself, like; I hate ironing. It’s stupid and boring, I will go to some ridiculous lengths to avoid it. Yes, probably to the point where it would have been easier to just iron the thing. But that’s totally besides the point. I am also terrible at making meatballs. They always end up dry and a bit like balls of sawdust.
I love dancing, old movies, vintage clothes, rummaging in charity shops (damned Corona!*shakes fist*) and glitter. I desperately miss hanging out with friends and annoying them with my opinions and I love a good debate. I am deeply passionate about the status, safety and quality of life for women.
Who are you? What do you love/hate? What do you stand for? Get to know YOU. It will be harder for the external forces to bow you if you really know yourself. Your faults and attributes are all a part of what makes you who you are.
2. Revel in your accomplishments! Any and all!
If one time during lockdown you were able to fit 25 marshmallows in your mouth at the same time, then I salute you. If you’ve achieved a PHD, certified for a trade, fixed a leaky tap with a 90p washer, then I salute you.
You know what? I never finished university, so I don’t have a degree. There were times I felt inadequate and a little embarrassed about this. A couple of years ago, I started a distance learning course to obtain my Exercise to Music Level 2 certification. Three months after starting, I travelled to London over two weekends to do the written exams and then final practical assessment and I passed. The examiner said I did really well and I received an excellent score.
As small an accomplishment as this may seem to some, it was huge for me. I was 41 and hadn’t undertaken any formal training or education since I was in my twenties, so I was rather nervous. Worried I just didn’t have the capability to do it any more, I felt ‘out of the loop’. I’m proud of that achievement. It was the first step towards starting my own business. You should be proud of yours too. No matter how big or small, because it’s all a matter or perspective. I’m always rooting for you. I’m your eternal cheerleader. So grab that bag of marshmallows and get stuffing!
3. Who Cares…
If someone doesn’t like you. If someone doesn’t like how you look. If someone thinks you have an annoying laugh. Who cares?
These days, I just have nearly next to no f*cks left to give, as the cool kids say. I really don’t.
I started doing Life Art modelling in 2019 and it really helped me to further realise how much of a sh*t I don’t give about people’s judgements any more.
Yes, I posed naked in rooms of artists/art students for a couple of hours while they looked and sketched pictures of me. It’s a great experience to be naked in a neutral situation. I enjoyed thinking of different poses and the challenge of holding them for various lengths of time (I did regret a few of my choices occasionally as my muscles clenched and trembled). It was interesting to see how different artists interpret what they see and their different styles. I have even had someone use watercolour paints in a couple of sessions! Ultimately, after I dressed and went home, do you know what happened? Nothing. Nothing f*ck*ng happened.
If someone there thought, ‘ew her thighs are a bit wobbly’ or ‘whoa, saggy boobs’ it literally made no material difference to my life. My cup of tea still tasted the exact same as it did before. The sky hadn’t fallen. Someone else’s thoughts have nothing to do with me being me. Look, I know it isn’t for everyone and I’m not saying every body has to get stark naked in public to feel good. But, don’t stress about wearing that skirt if you like it. Enjoy your day at the beach, who gives a balls about how you look in that swimsuit? My six year old daughter loves to run in the room when I’m changing and ask me questions like “When will I have flappy boobs like yours?” There you go, she loves me and doesn’t see anything negative in that. And neither should we.
About Emma Hayfield
Emma comes from a background in dance and theatre, originally from Canada she was a part of the burlesque scene for nearly 10 years. This is where her passion for women's body image and self confidence was borne. Now teaching and choreographing , her aim is to bring the joy, camaraderie and self love that Burlesque gave her, to as many women as possible. Have fun ! Love yourself! And find YOUR inner showgirl!
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