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Emma Elwin

Notes from a Swedish stylist


One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Posted in Life
by Emma Elwin on 11 October, 2017

A few weeks ago Igna—the one and only—styled my hair after a shoot, just for the fun of it. Such a Carrie moment. My little brother has curls just like these, and I’ve always been so jealous of him. I couldn’t help but wonder (yes, another SATC ref!): Why do you always want what you don’t have?

Before my pregnancy, I felt like I had finally come to terms with my appearance. And I felt like people where really seeing me, not just my outsides. Thinking that no one else could decide my worth was such an amazing and empowering feeling. Then something happened, something that bent my self-reflection…

It was in the middle of pregnancy, and all of a sudden a lot of people started having opinions on my big belly. It felt like my body became common property, something that everybody was invited and allowed to form an opinion about. Being under the loupe as one’s body is changing was not good for my self-image at that time. And after giving birth, when I realized I wouldn’t look like it did before, I stared resenting the changes.

As I’m writing this I feel really frustrated with myself for thinking these shallow thoughts. There are so many more important things to feel and do! Why should thoughts like these occupy my mind at all?

After giving birth I felt like I was starting over. I’m not the insecure person I was in my teen years, but I still hear that same criticizing voice in the back of my head when I look in the mirror. I thought moving forward mentally was a permanent state, you know? That once you reach a certain level of self-knowledge you’d stay there.

I don’t know why, but sharing one’s insecurities makes me feel like I’m more in charge—like it doesn’t control me as much. So now I’m trying to find my way back to where I was, and hope to get there soon!


4 Comments

Hanna: Dear Emma, your post really touched me. I read your blog since a couple of years and it's the only one I kept following daily over the past time. The things you're writing about are the topics of a woman who has an open mind and and her eyes on her environment. A person who questions herself and really cares about the effect of her actions. On top of that I think you're one of the most beautiful and coolest women I've read of, too. With 24 years I don't really have started yet struggling with my looks in a serious way. Maybe it's something, that comes to us from the outside and at some point in our lives, we let the feeling in, that we don't are beautiful enough. It's so frustrating and in those moments I ask myself, why do women have to feel like this? Aren't we strong enough now? Being a woman goes along with a lot of expectations not only on what we do, but also on how we look. I just wanted to let you know, that you are kind of a role model to someone—in terms of the thoughts on life and the environment you share and of course, your unique style. Telling you this doesn't fix things, I know, but I hope it makes you feel maybe just a little bit better, when the shady thoughts come to you. I really look up to woman like you. Hälsningar, Hanna
October 15, 2017

Judith A Ross: As a fit woman in her early sixties, I still struggle with my aging looks. I hate being photographed. Even if I have come to terms with what I see in the mirror, I usually hate the way I look in photographs and this was not always the case. But I know that this face, with all of its sages and spots, and lines, is one that has lived well and that it is deeply loved by my husband and sons. So when I'm not pleased with the way I look, in a photograph, I go back to the mirror, shrug my shoulders and say to myself, "Sh*t happens."
October 11, 2017

JEN: Jag har alltid varit stor, överviktig, men aldrig någonsin haft body issues. Jag har märkt att folk stört sig på det. Att jag "borde" bry mig mer om vad folk hade för åsikt om mig. Sedan blev jag gravid. Totalt gick jag upp 6 kg under hela graviditeten och jag fick kommentarer om att jag var SÅÅ duktig. Efter graviditeten kom hjärnspökena. Inte bara om min kropp men framför allt känslor av ångest, om hur jag "borde" ha betett mig eller något jag sagt till personen bakom kassan på ICA. Jag som aldrig brytt mig om folks åsikter var plötsligt nojjig. Det gick så långt att jag behövde någon att tala med. Tyvärr tyckte denna person att jag skulle försöka vänja mig vid det nya normala. Att det var helt naturligt att vara orolig för nya saker när man har fött barn. Det tog nästan två år för mig att komma i balans. Jag minns på dagen då jag helt plötsligt kände mig som mig själv igen, med möjligheten att logiskt skaka bort mina hjärnspöken. Det var då jag förstod att hormonerna var en stor del av problemet. Att jag kanske till och med varit deprimerad men inte fått rätt hjälp. Oavsett, känslan har hållit sig kvar och jag känner att jag är tillbaka där jag började. Starkare än tidigare. Så håll ut, att du är medveten om att du inte ska ha vissa tankar om dig själv betyder att du redan är på väg.
October 11, 2017

Karin: Fint att du delar med dig! Jag tog också det beslutet i 20-årsåldern att jag skulle äta vad jag ville och inte lägga energi på att tänka på det. Känns skönt, och man frigör mycket energi till att tänka på att fokusera på andra roligare saker. Nu för tiden kan jag inte ens ha smink eller linser, pga att jag fått så torra ögon.Jobbigt i början men nu har jag vant mig (och tycker faktiskt rent estetiskt att det kan vara finare) att vara utan smink.
October 11, 2017

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