Learning To Accept Yourself

Late last year, I did something that completely put me out of my comfort zone.

Not many people would know this, but I have always been incredibly insecure with the way I look and it has taken me years to get to the stage I am at now. I have only recently learnt to let go, and learnt to accept myself for who I am, and as silly as it may sound to some, I have only recently started leaving the house without any make-up or fake tan. Crazy right? 

Growing up I have always compared myself to others (like most people) and hated the skin I was in. I am naturally fair skinned with lotsa freckles, and for years I have absolutely hated my skin, so much so that I would hide at home and beat myself up over it. But I have finally got to the stage where I am slowly accepting myself, and embracing the way I look. And for this, I am proud, because there is no better feeling than being able to let go and to not worry about what other people think.

To finally be at peace with how you look is no easy feat, especially if you have suffered from low self-esteem in the past. But I know that over time it does get easier to let go, you just need to learn to not compare and not let other people define beauty for you. You are beautiful even if someone tells you that you’re not, and I don't think that I would be on this path to becoming comfortable in the skin I am in now, if it wasn't for Haylee. I've been working with Haylee for almost 5 years now, and although she may not know it, she has taught me a lot about acceptance. And last month, I did something that really challenged me with letting go, and accepting myself for who I am.

Haylee was looking at expanding her portfolio, so she asked me if I would be interested in doing a spontaneous photoshoot together, which would focus on embracing the female form. Admittedly when she first asked me, I was a bit hesitant, but I thought you know what? What have I got to lose, and she assured me that there was nothing to worry about and that I was in safe hands. I have admired Haylee's work for ages and her creative eye, so I knew that she was right, but a part of me still doubted myself and I wasn't sure how I would look in the photos, but at the same time I knew that I needed to get over my silly fears and just let go.

Haylee's goal was to accentuate the raw beauty of the human form and emotion through fine art black and white photography, and I think what she has captured from our shoot together is simply beautiful, which is something I would never of said about myself a couple of years ago. Allowing someone to photograph me in the raw, was a huge step for me as I am usually in complete control of a photoshoot (I.E. photos are usually captured on my camera, and only I am allowed to edit them). So this was hard at first for me to just let go, and to have no idea how the photos would turn out until weeks later. But I am so glad that I did it, and I can't thank Haylee enough for making me feel so comfortable in the skin I am in, and for helping me to learn to accept myself for who I am.  

I hope you enjoy the series of visuals below that were captured by Haylee. Each photograph attempts to surface the fear of fragility. Bare skin emerging from a body of water – canvasing a reflection of Mother Nature, and sculpting a refuge for surrender: a place where vulnerability enfolds. And I hope that you too can learn to accept yourself for who you are, because after all, we are all unique and beautiful in our own ways.

© Haylee May - www.hayleemay.com.au