I’m talking about creativity this month (you can read the Theme of the Month post HERE), which can mean different things to different people. Creativity can be artistic, it can be musical, it can be numerical, and it can also involve expressing yourself through dance and drama.
Creative expression embraces the mind, body, and senses and last year I took part in a fantastic project that covered all the above.
Wonder Women of Warwickshire
The Wonder Women of Warwickshire project was a photo series by Blanche Gal from It’s About You with stunning lingerie supplied by Helena Lapworth from Retro Rosie under the supervisory guidance of Angela Marie Saffrey, founder of The Image Angel. The team asked for female volunteers of all ages, shapes, and size to take part in a photo shoot for a calendar with all funds going to local girls/ladies’ charities.
The project aimed to raise awareness against body shaming and domestic violence. It was also a creative endeavour to give the participants a boost in confidence.
I was deeply honoured to be a part of this amazing undertaking, and as I’m Miss June, I thought it was the right time to re-share the story behind why I wanted to get involved.
Fifteen years ago I walked out of an emotionally and physically abusive marriage. I felt broken beyond repair and yet being the sole support for three small children I needed to find the strength to pick myself up and carry on. There were times when I didn’t know if I would survive so to be in a position where I could choose to thrive was new and scary.
Low self-esteem and self-doubt have plagued me for many years, but I challenge myself at every opportunity in the hope that stepping out of my comfort zone will show my children and others that anything is possible when you believe in yourself.
When I heard about the Wonder Women of Warwickshire campaign calendar, which raises awareness and funds for charities close to my heart, I jumped at the chance to get involved. The idea was to take part in a photo shoot wearing only our underwear to embrace positive self-image for women and girls of all shapes, sizes and age.
The Photo Shoot
On the day of the shoot, I felt sick as my nerves almost got the better of me. Standing in the changing room stripped down to my most vulnerable state was the hardest moment, but I knew that this opportunity was a way to silence that inner critic. My ex-husband’s voice still rattles around my head occasionally and to be able to tell him to ‘piss off’ was hugely cathartic.
Yes it was nerve-wracking, yes it was uncomfortable, and it tested me in ways I never realised I needed testing, but after seeing the finished results, I’ve never been so proud of myself.
Accepting who I am and embracing all my flaws, floppy bits, and negativity is part of the journey I’m on. I’m continuing to build my life in a way that is authentic to me, and I’m no longer ashamed to say I’m a work in progress and proud of it.
Flipping the page over on my calendar on June 1st was a reminder of this incredible achievement. It remains my mission to help other women to survive and thrive, and I do this with my books, my blog, and my workshops and mentoring. It’s how I tap into my creativity and use it for a worthwhile purpose.
I’m thrilled to say that Blanche, Helena, and Angela received incredible feedback from their project – even Gok Wan has a copy on his wall! – and were finalists for Product of the Year in the Family Network Awards.
At the heart of this calendar is the awareness and necessary funding for charities such as Coventry Haven Women’s Aid. Domestic violence, bullying, and body shaming cannot be tolerated, and by standing up and stepping out of our comfort zone, we are doing something creative that can have a huge impact, not only for the charity or cause but also to our confidence and self-esteem.
I’ll never forget taking part, and the day I spent with the supportive women who grace the glossy pages of this calendar.
Have you ever done anything creative that was scary or out of your comfort zone? Share your story in the comments.