FASHION BLOGGING WHEN YOU HAVE LOW SELF-ESTEEM

Sunday, 8 April 2018 Notting Hill, London, UK









Now would you believe that I struggle with low self esteem, and have done for as long as I can remember? If you didn't know me and were judging purely on my social media profiles then probably not, because they're just filled with images of me. See, for many people, fashion and beauty blogging is nothing more than a display of unapologetic narcissism. To those unaccustomed to our world, it's difficult to understand why we spend so many hours posing for photos, editing photos and uploading photos of ourselves, in an apparent bid for validation from other people online. I reckon there's quite a few of you reading this and vigorously shaking your head, because you know that couldn't be further from the truth. But that's often the perception the blogging world gives off, and for me at least, it could not be further from the truth (well, maybe the validation part is, but let's save that topic for another day).

See, it actually took me 2 years to pluck up the courage to start 'What Eva Wears', this little online space that has become a kind of home. This hesitation was purely due to low self esteem. I think it's something I'd like to write about completely separately at some point, because it is something that has plagued me consistently, and has undoubtedly affected my life significantly, from my relationships, to life choices and so on. It's a shame that I allowed my insecurities and lack of confidence to control me for so long, and hold me back from taking risks, or trying to achieve my goals. I would spend hours reading blogs, watching youtube videos, constantly imagining how I would create my own content 'if I were pretty enough' or 'funny enough' or 'cool enough', and so on.

At some point I just decided to throw myself into the deep end and create one, and it was terrifying. 
In some ways, wanting to become a part of the fashion and beauty online world was always, to an extent, a ludicrous decision. I can see how being interested in fashion and beauty, and then choosing to put myself out there in this way most definitely not only reinforced, but indeed intensified my feelings of low self-esteem, to the further detriment of my mental health. If you already have a propensity to be overly self-critical or self-deprecating, fashion blogging simply gives you another channel, or outlet for you to criticise yourself on, and it's one of the worst, because it's appearance, and there is so so much out there for you to compare yourself with. Add on top of that the fact that it's not just you who becomes a critique, it's the whole world too. When you're already vulnerable in this way, it's actually incredibly unwise, in a sense, to open up this door, and the prospect of having your own insecurities reinforced by people you don't know. 

Whilst I've been lucky enough to have only been met with kindness from the people of this community, the first year of blogging was pretty hard, as I found, more often than not, my blog made me feel a lot worse about myself, and how I looked, than it brought me any joy. It was bringing out the absolute worst of my mental health. I was constantly unhappy, particularly with my imagery. I would spend hours editing and editing, I don't know why, I guess, hoping that with enough editing, I would finally be happy with the end result. But it never happened. I began simply uploading content, however uncomfortable I was with having my face online, because when it came down to it, it was either upload and be slightly uncomfortable, but create the blog you've always wanted to; or, pack this whole thing in and give up.

I'm so incredibly glad that I chose the latter.

Over this past year of blogging, I finally feel like I've become more comfortable with putting my imagery out there. There are often times I'll still get myself down. I'll compare, I'll put my lack of engagement or growth down to the fact that I'm not pretty enough or 'relatable' enough or whatever. But ultimately, I'm worlds away from where I was when I first started blogging. Indeed, often when people I know see my imagery, they think I'm super confident, because I'm so posey and moody - I give off a 'wannabe model' vibe I guess, lol, which always makes me laugh, because in actual fact I feel dead silly posing up a storm to create those pictures.


So, what have I done to somewhat change my mindset, and make the photo taking and editing process easier on the self-esteem?

Here are 5 steps I've taken over my time blogging, that I have found have really helped with feeling comfortable uploading content. I hope that you guys find that these help you to tackle issues surrounding blogging and self-esteem too!


OBJECTIVITY

Now, you're probably sitting there thinking, 'no shit sherlock', but hear me out.
I try to be as pose-y and 'model like' as I can, because then I find it far easier to disconnect the photos from me. I know if I'm standing there cheesing away as I would for any other photo, then I'm far more likely to begin criticising the picture as a bad picture of me, because I then connect it with more usual types of photography where I am over critical, like when I flick through a family photo album, for instance. When I take photos, it's almost like I assume 'model mode'. I pretend that I am one, my blog is my Vogue, if you like. I always wanted to create very editorial style imagery, and to do that, I knew I'd have to push myself out of my comfort zone. For me then, I find that aiming to create more interesting shapes, more moody shots and a more editorial style allows me to process the pictures differently. Instead of thinking of the photos as photos of me, I find it easier to look at as a purely fashion or artistic shot. I'm able to critique my photos in terms of lighting, composition, angle and so on, as opposed to emphasising on any more personal imperfections. Take the photos in this blog post, for example. I'm happy with the imagery because I like the composition, and the colour. I love the blossom, and the way it compliments the outfit. I love the way the colour gives it a vintage-y feel. Because of these things, I don't need to take my analysing any further. There's no need for me to scrutinise my face or my body, because I simply like the way the picture is composed. The focus isn't on me, it's on the clothes that I'm modelling, the setting, and the way this is brought together through colour. Somehow, I can process that in my mind far more easily. 

It takes a lot more courage to be pose-y when shooting, but saves me a lot of negative energy and self-deprecation when it comes to editing, so I think it's worth it. When I get to editing, it's like the role play continues, and I edit as though I were the editor of Vogue. I think that's also why I really manipulate my image so much in terms of lighting, colour and so on, because the more 'artsy' or 'surreal' the pictures are, the further the are from my reality, and the further I can detach myself from them. I never set out to create imagery that was 'realistic' or 'relatable' or 'unedited', and I've never pretended that that was my goal. I'll be the first one to admit that my photos are edited to shit (though I always draw the line at actually changing what I look like, i.e. pinching in my waist with facetune and so on - to me that's pure deception.) My pictures are unapologetically edited (though some would say over-edited) and stylised, whilst I like to think my words are 'real', raw, uncensored and unedited - I try as hard as I can to give you the good, the bad and the ugly - but that's something that I've chosen to do only through words, and not imagery, because I simply don't have the confidence to bare my flaws and imperfections just yet. I'll always commend those who do so, but never approach other people's content with that expectation, because how do you bare you 'flaws' to the big bad world, giving everyone the chance to be a critic, when you're yet to accept them yourself?


COMFORT IS KEY

That brings me to my second point: Only produce content you are comfortable producing. As I say, there's so much in the blogging world right now on photo editing, and there's been quite a movement against it, but that'll never make me change my style of photo, because I simply wouldn't be comfortable doing so. Take photos in areas you feel comfortable, and most importantly, in outfits you feel comfortable in. I've made this mistake too many a time; of shooting an outfit that in my head, I was super excited to put together, because it would look so chic and 'fashun', but which I knew, in real life, I would feel very uncomfortable shooting, because it'd be slightly too 'out there'. The proof is in these two posts, here and here. Though I still love the imagery that we created, I still vividly remember the uneasiness I felt as we walked to location, the extra time it took to take the photos because I just couldn't relax, and I think you can sense it slightly in the photos.


MORAL SUPPORT 

I always always take photos with people I'm 100% comfortable with, who I know will be aiming to get my 'best angle', and who'll be kind during my inevitable moan about the way I look in the pictures we've just shot. If you're with people who make you feel good and comfortable, then you're far more likely to be at ease when taking the shots, resulting in far better results for you. Also, the more you shoot with that same few people, the greater the chance that, before long, they begin to get the hang of what angles work for you, what kind of shots you like, and so on. It'll not only save you time on shoots, but will probably also save you a lot of heartache when you're less likely to scroll through 400 photos you've taken in 45 minutes, to find that only 10 of them are even half decent.


A SECOND OPINION

This brings me onto another interrelated point, and that's asking a second opinion when you'editing photos that you know you're being overly picky with. I often do this, and ask my sister, and when I explain whatever it is that's bugging me about the image; common complaints include, 'my chin looks huge', 'my eyes look wonky', 'my face isn't symmetrical', she's extremely quick to tell me I'm chatting utter nonsense and that she would never have even thought of any of the supposed imperfections I'm pointing out. This often sets me at ease and reminds me that, because it is my own face after all, I'm being far too overly critical. I'll then often take her advice and choose the photos she's recommended if I'm having a particularly insecure day, and then I leave it and don't go back, because the more you go back and forth analysing the pictures, the more imperfections you'll pick out.


DON'T SHOOT OR EDIT ON A DOWN DAY

This is a pretty important one. There's been so many times I've decided to shoot a look, or edit a set of photos, on a particularly bad self-esteem or mental health day. And it never ends well. Usually with me crawling into bed, trawling instagram's prettiest 'baddie' accounts and wishing that I'd been blessed with a different face. When you create on a day like that, you're setting yourself up for a fail already. Nothing you produce will be up to your standard, and chances are, it'll just bring that ugly green monster in the back of your mind to the fore. Definitely not something I need.


So I hope these tips help, folks. I'm not going to pretend that there is a quick fix to this. For a lot of you who suffer from low self esteem, if you're like me, it may be connected to other mental health issues you suffer from. I know that my own self-esteem and self-worth issues are largely connected with my depression and anxiety, and as such, are battles I am constantly fighting, and continue to discuss and unpick with my counsellor. But I feel like, in terms of blogging at least, I've got it somewhat under control because of these tips. I hope the can help you too!

I also hope you enjoy these 'think piece'/'advice' kind of posts. I have another Friday Thoughts on its way this week, and so much more content that I'm excited to share with you! If you don't already, don't forget to follow my blog, either via bloglovin, or by email, so you never miss a post! I'm also constantly on insta and twitter if you'd like to keep up to date with me!

How do you guys deal with confidence and blogging? Leave me comments below!

Until next time,
Bisous <3

Eva
xxx


OUTFIT DETAILS:

T-shirt: Topshop (Sold Out, but I also love this one!)
Jeans: Na-kd (V. Similar Here)
Cardigan: Weekday
Shoes: Topshop (Old, very similar Here)
Bag: Zara (Old, Similar Here)
Twilly: Dior
Sunglasses: Ebay



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