Body Positivity at Pride

I've previously written about why Pride is one of my favourite events of the year, and last weekend I attended Pride in London for the third time. Something was new this year - I wasn't only feeling proud of my identity as a bisexual, but I was attempting to be proud of my body as well, showing more flesh than I'm used to in this ridiculous British heat.

Photographed by: Eli Johnathan Photography
I'm usually one to cover up most of my body, and this was an interesting time for me to choose to go out in a bralette for the first time because since I started university I've been more insecure about my body than ever before. My weight has fluctuated and my body has been changing, and when I woke up for Pride on 7th July I certainly felt like I was having a bad body day. However, I'd already decided on an outfit, and I knew that I could always button up if I felt too strange having my skin on show. I was aware that if there were any day for me to dress like this, it was Pride. In a mass celebration of identity and colour and love, it was the perfect opportunity to celebrate my appearance too; even if I was only in the process of learning to love it, the important thing was that I was trying.

I know that just wearing a bralette with a jacket over it isn't a big deal to a lot of people, but to me it was. It wasn't just the exposure of flesh that made me feel a bit anxious - my outfit was COLOURFUL. It stood out, and maybe that wouldn't necessarily be the case once I was in the centre of all the Pride action and surrounded by people far more extra than me, but I still had a journey to make with strangers who may have had no idea that Pride was even happening, and some of that journey was to be done on my own. Wearing an outfit like this felt like making a statement, and although I was definitely staying committed to my outfit choice, I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel self-conscious at times.

Photographed by: Eli Johnathan Photography

At the end of the day though, I was genuinely thrilled that I'd worn what I had and I felt like a true (b)icon most of the day. Sometimes I'd catch my reflection and think, wow, that's really me! Me, who who used to dress as plain and casually as possible and got embarrassed and self-conscious when anyone even mentioned my appearance. Here I was today, twenty years old and inviting people to acknowledge what I looked like. I felt really proud, and I felt good. Pride truly was the best place for this because I was surrounded by queer people who were more than ready to compliment me and boost my confidence (and in one case invite me to have a threesome with them in the most polite manner ever heard). I felt happy, and like I was ready to challenge myself to expose more skin more often, and to keep wearing bright colours when they bring me joy and not stress about the attention that can bring.

I found that because I was dressing like a confident person, people automatically assumed that I was one. Kind strangers made conversation with me more than they usually do; whilst I love talking to people, I often feel like I'm being awkward when I do, but I felt that less so when people were treating me as if I was someone with Big Dick Energy. What amazed me the most about all this was that I felt so authentically me despite the insecurities I'd experienced. I was a more confident version of myself because I knew that's how people were perceiving me, which gave me an ego boost, and that's something I want to try and hold onto. I know not all of my insecurities are going to disappear overnight, but if I can have such a positive experience at Pride with my belly on show, then I know I can have more uplifting experiences like that. I just have to be patient with myself, be kind to myself and remember that I'm beautiful just the way I am.

Of course, there's no reason for anyone to feel like they should dress like this - I certainly didn't feel like I had to. However, I wanted to because despite my insecurities surrounding it, I had a desire to own this look and make a big step towards accepting my body, and that to me meant not hiding it away all the time anymore. My mission of self-love is an ongoing one but I'm enjoying it. I enjoy having these photos and knowing that the person in them is me. I'm doing my best and at Pride I was proud, and I'm trying as hard as I can to keep that up.

Until the next post,

Photographed by: Eli Johnathan Photography

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